Friday, 24 April 2015

Deep Sequencing: The Firefight at the heart of it all

Or the fantastic gun play in Zero Vol. 2
by Ales Kot, Jorge Coelho, Jordie Bellaire, Clayton Cowles; Image Comics

Zero is the transgressive, Sci-fi espionage comic that bleeds sincerity. It is also a showcase comic where a rotating cast of artists work with writer Ales Kot and legendary colourist Jordie Bellaire to make comics magic happen.  Every chapter of Zero is its own, interesting world with a distinct style and some aspect of comics storytelling done impeccably. Zero: Vol. 2 is no exception and the chapter drawn by Jorge Coelho has what might be the best gunfight I've read in comics. Specifically, there is a certain pair of pages that I think really showcase wha makes this chapter of Zero so special.

There will, as always, be *SPOILERS* below.

The thing about a firefight with multiple gunmen is that they are not linear, clear events. There are numerous participants, all moving through cover, trying to out position one another and gain an unexpected angle of attack. Every armed person can kill at range. Bullets can pass through unexpected barriers, or ricochet and careen,  wounding and killing in unpredictable ways. Basically, firefights are fluid, chaos situations that are composed of staccato moments of terror. 

I think this layout here absolutely captures the chaos, fluidity, and terror of a firefight perfectly. The chopped, quick panels that focus on consequences, the multiple interspersed narratives, and the sheer speed of the page make for a truly visceral and exciting experience.  It is, purely on the surface, awesome comics.

The thing that elevates this sequence for me even more is that I am still not entirely sure what the correct reading order is for these pages. I think you can read the pages either left and then right, or altogether as a double page spread, and be able to draw out a reasonably equivalent narrative experience. Or at the very least a logical chain of events. Whether this is intentional, or a side effect of me being a dummy, what this does for me is make the pages so much more chaotic and fluid, this firefight is so slippery that it defies an obvious reading order. And I think that is amazing comics, and such a great thing that I hope it was on purpose.

I love this sequence so much.

It's also a emblematic of the kind of comics discoveries that can be found in Zero. It's a great comic to be floored by something unexpected in.

So I Read Zero: Vol. 1
So I Read Zero: Vol. 2

Deep Sequencing: Brutal Action

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