Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 258: <i>Existence 3.0</i> #2

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today's page is from Existence 3.0 #2, which was published by Image and is cover dated February 2010. This scan is from the Existence 2.0/3.0 trade paperback, which was published in August 2010. Enjoy!

Existence 3.0 is the sequel to Nick Spencer's first comics work, Existence 2.0, in which a man's consciousness is transferred into the body of the hit man who just killed him. Both series are just okay, but they had that "cool-ass twist" that marks a writer as someone to watch out for, so Spencer got more work. Good for him!

Spencer doesn't do much on this first page, as he probably instructed artist Ron Salas to draw something dreamlike that's taking place in that woman's head. She's ... well, I'm not going to explain the intricacies of the plot, but Jenny's having some issues inside her head. Salas begins the issue with Jenny's eyes, as they're the windows to the soul and all that. It's not a bad place to begin, because we get the nice double meaning - the metaphorical one, and the literal one; Jenny is actually looking at things, so starting with her eyes isn't bad. The second panel shows us what she's looking at - a bunch of television screens showing images from issue #1, where she sliced up a bunch of bad guys with a sword. Salas draws those lines emanating from her head and back, but they're not showing her motion, they're showing her ethereal form - she's not quite solid. It's a good pose, though, because it hints at Jenny's uncertainty and fear. In Panel 3, she sees herself up close in the screen, and Salas draws a nice, worried expression on her face. He closes in on her ear in Panel 4, and thanks to the linking of the eye with her visual revelation in Panels 1 and 2, we know she's hearing something. Perhaps we would have known that anyway, but Salas makes it explicit. Panel 5 shows Jenny following the sound, leading us off the page to what she's looking for. It's a pretty well designed page.

Salas does a good job with the panel borders, as they look more like smoke or clouds, expressing the dreamy atmosphere in which Jenny finds herself. Colorist Frank Bravo does a nice job, too, giving Jenny beautiful purple eyes and a purple shirt to go with her blonde hair. Purple is a royal color, of course, but it's also soothing, and given that Jenny is in an unfamiliar place and situation, the purple helps calm the reader down a bit. It's not meant as a harsh place, even though Jenny looks worried. Interestingly enough, on the next page Bravo colors what Jenny finds in red, implying a harsher tone. It works well against the purple on this page.

This is a pretty good way to begin the book, because Spencer can present Jenny's problem in an interesting way. It's unusual enough to catch our attention, and Salas and Bravo help draw the reader in and move us along to the next page. Not bad at all!

You still have some time to e-mail me at gregorymburgas@gmail.com if you want to tell me which first page to show in October. I know you want to, good readers! Don't be afraid!

Next: More wackiness than you usually got in a Marvel book! I can't imagine them publishing something even remotely like this today! You can find similar wacky comics in the archives!

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