Monday, September 17, 2007

Greatest Panels...Never.

I wouldn't say this is happening to me a lot, but it has happened more often lately. Sometimes, I'll be thinking of a comic, as I sometimes do, while in line somewhere or at work or while driving or whatever; and remember a key panel as clear as day. And almost completely wrong.

Case in point: these two panels from Captain America #321:
'Let's see, pick up shield polish, dry cleaning, surrender...
To set this one up: anti-nationalist Flag-Smasher and his terrorist group ULTIMATUM hijack a jumbo jet in mid-air, then hide it and the passengers at their secret base. Flag-Smasher, pushing his agenda and smarting over the previous beating Cap handed him, demands Cap hand himself over for public execution.

Working with S.H.I.E.L.D. Cap works out the likely locations for their base, based on range of the jet, the relative newness of ULTIMATUM, etc. Cap checks one location out himself, and I love the workaday attitude of Cap. Even though he either has to singlehandedly and covertly attack a base of technologically advanced and psychotic terrorists, or surrender himself to those same terrorists; to Captain America, it's just another day of the office. He checks points off the way you'd might your grocery list; and when Cap thinks, "surrender," it's understood he means, "give up just long enough to kick their collective asses."

Still, when I was thinking about the dialog there, I pictured Cap on the sky-cycle quite clearly (does anyone get to use those at Marvel today, or have they been phased out as not 'street' enough?) but forgot the actual panel was Cap traipsing through the snow. It happens now and again, so there'll be more of these: Memory doesn't always hold true. I'll be thinking of a specific panel, and find the art isn't as good as I remembered, the panel wasn't as big or as central an image as I had thought, or I completely hallucinated the whole thing. OK, that last hasn't happened. Yet.

From "Ultimatum!" Written by Mark Gruenwald, Layouts by Paul Neary, finishes by John Beatty, and a great cover from Mike Zeck.

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