What makes a good panel or page? That’s what we’re out to discover in Perfect Panels, a new recurring feature here in Ink Spots in which we’ll take a look at noteworthy panels or sequences from recent YA comic titles and discuss what makes them stand out. This time, we’re checking out some particularly perfect panels from Mera: Tidebreaker, Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale and Teen Titans: Raven.
From page 29
One of the best parts of Mera: Tidebreaker is the way artist Stephen Byrne brings life under the sea...well, to life. Mera’s hair, while spectacular regardless of whether she’s above or below the waterline, is almost a character in its own right when she’s under the sea. It’s got such a sense of movement. (And now I understand how Atlanteans and Xebelians drink things other than water!)
Mera’s a total badass, and this page is the first time Arthur sees her for the warrior that she is. Thankfully, he’s not appalled by her show of force—rather, he’s totally okay with letting her take the lead and be his hero. (Good sign for things to come!) Also, Joshua Reed, the book’s letterer, uses comic sound effects to great effect here. You can almost feel the punches as they land.
Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale
From page 35
People frequently underestimate Selina Kyle, and it’s to their own detriment, as shown in these panels. She’s almost never not paying attention, even when you think her mind’s somewhere else. Throughout Under the Moon, artist Isaac Goodhart makes great use of color, or lack thereof, and here the muted tones really help the eye focus on Selina—and on her focus, Bruce.
From page 92
Goodhart also highlights Selina’s natural gifts and her exemplary parkour skills, but never does the action seem ungrounded from reality. You can feel Selina’s weight here, and the grace with which she lands. It’s a superhero kind of move, but it doesn’t seem impossible for a regular person to pull off. (Not that I’m going to try, mind you.)
From page 172
And, of course, no Catwoman tale—origin or not—would be complete without cats. Or Selina’s snark.
Teen Titans: Raven
From page 5
The fast-paced tone of Teen Titans: Raven is set almost immediately, and this small panel stood out to me as a sign that I was really going to like Raven. Not only did artist Gabriel Picolo give Raven a killer sense of style—I want those boots!—but her immediate rush to action shows what kind of person she is (i.e., willing to put others first, even in the most confusing or dangerous of times).
From page 27
There’s a weight to this panel, and the giant shadow raven in the mirror seems to be an indication of the hugeness of what Raven’s yet to discover about her past. Although the raven eventually becomes a good thing rather than a bad omen, at this point in the book, the uncertainty around what’s to come provides a delightful amount of tension.
I’m a sucker for a meet cute, and this panel is something straight out of a romantic comedy. As much as I wanted to throttle Tommy for his poor decision making (and questionable “friends”) later in the book, Picolo absolutely nailed the swoon of initial attraction here. The shock in both of their eyes, the slightly open mouths, and the way it seems like neither of them are in much of a hurry to let go? Pure heart-eye emojis.
Do you have a favorite panel or spread from these books? Let us know!
When Mandy Curtis isn’t reading books by Leigh Bardugo or Sarah J. Maas, she’s dreaming of busting bad guys with Wonder Woman—if Steve Trevor’s there, too, she won’t complain—and writing about YA fiction and pop culture at Forever Young Adult. Follow her on Twitter at @mandyannecurtis.