Monday, 25 August 2014

Exposing The Secret Avengers #7

Or a spiffy layout that I like in Secret Avengers #7
by Ales Kot, Michael Walsh, Matt Wilson, and Cayton Cowles; Marvel Comics

Secret Avengers continues to be a comic that for all of it's jokesy good fun is also full of interesting comics decisions. One aspect of the comic that is consistently well done is the use of innovative layouts that convey extra story details or evoke additional emotional reactions in the reader. Secret Avengers has a pretty interesting and fun layout that I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at.

There will be *SPOILERS* for Secret Avengers #7

I love this page. The way the layout tells the story clearly and adds a swirling, perspective challenging element to the panels is pretty cool. It is inherently interesting because it is different and unconventional. But it is even more interesting when you consider the additional thematic and emotional information the layout provides. The story of this page is that Maria Hill is bringing Spider-Woman into the confidence of her secret border-line-paranoid-delusion conspiracy investigation and into the secret room where she keeps her notes. The long, spiralling layout helps emphasize the convoluted, labyrinthine passages the women travel to the lair as well as the winding, twisted psychological space in which they are travelling. The readers get that things are going to a secretive and warped place. The choice of a spiralling layout also, I think, helps emphasize the madness of the moment: an Archimedean Spiral is a symbol of hypnosis and psychosis in our culture and it's use here subtly alerts us that things are going to a potentially crazy place. The swirling effect of the shifting perspective also might play a role in suggesting a clear demarcation between what comes before and after. In certain old-school television shows, most notably Batman '66 (since that's one we are all familiar with) a spiralling perspective shot is used to signify hard, time-jumping edit points, and this layout, at least for me, evokes that same sensibility. So yeah, I think this is a pretty interesting page of comics.

Secret Avengers #4: Colour as character symbols.
Secret Avengers #2-3: Smart layouts.


  1. I took it as a "Game of the Goose" board, and then it shows they're all players in this spy game, and the center panel is the goal they are aiming at.
    And maybe Maria Hill is playing against Spider-Woman ?

    1. Good call! I hadn't noticed that, but now that you mention it, I can definitely see that. I love how subjective this kind of criticism is, and how many different layers can be discovered.

      Given how twisty a plot SA has, I could certainly see Hill and Spier-Woman playing against each other.