Perfect Panels is the place here in Ink Spots where we take a look at noteworthy panels or sequences from DC’s recent YA comics and discuss what makes them stand out. This time, we’re checking out some particularly fabulous art from The Oracle Code, Gotham High and The Lost Carnival.
The Oracle Code
This page comes before the story even really kicks off, but is a pretty epic intro to Babs' tale. The shattered glass reflecting the important people and things in her life—and the gunshot that changed everything—is such a smart and emotional way to show the "shattering" of life as Babs knows it.
These pages are our first real glimpse into how creepy the Arkham Center for Independence is, and although the spooky vibe is a little undermined by the boy rolling through on his way to lunch, the pages foreshadow what's to come and set the tone for the rest of the book.
In addition to showcasing the impressive amount of inclusion The Oracle Code has throughout, this page is the culmination of a turning point in Babs's feelings about her situation. The emotion on her face in the upper left corner compared with the look on her face in the lower right is an amazing display of character growth. There's a lightness in her smile that shows things are only going to get better from here on out. (You know, after the "mystery" of the book is solved, of course.)
To learn more about The Oracle Code, read Amelia Emberwing's Book Breakdown.
There's a lot of foreshadowing in Gotham High—foreshadowing for who the main characters will become (or could become, given that this is an AU). This page is one of the greatest, somewhat understated examples. Jack's hair, which is golden in most other scenes, is tinged green. It's a simple nod, sure, but super effective if you know who Jack Napier is "also known as" in other stories.
One of the things that I loved most about Gotham High is how much it reads like a CW teen drama. This set of angsty panels is one of the reasons I felt this way about the book, and a great example of how well Pitilli translated the character's angst to the page. (Had it been a real CW show, Bruce would have been shirtless, of course, but we'll have to take what we can get.)
To learn more about Gotham High, read my Book Breakdown.
The Lost Carnival: A Dick Grayson Graphic Novel
A running theme in The Lost Carnival is acrobatic prowess, and this is just the first of many pages in which Dick (and his parents) show off their talents. The movement leaps off the page and I found myself holding my breath in anticipation.
I felt much like Dick looks on this page when I turned to it during my first read of The Lost Carnival. There's so much to look at, and the magic of the Lost Carnival is almost palpable. It's such an amazing-looking spectacle, it's no wonder he's completely entranced from the very start. (It's also a great example of the use of color in this book to depict the differences between the Lost Carnival and Haly's Circus.)
Spoilers, maybe, but this page hurts my heart given what we know about Dick's future. I just want the Graysons to be happy forever and ever!
To learn more about The Lost Carnival, read Amanda Levine's Book Breakdown.
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.