Comic Panel Slow Read #27

From Wonder Woman Rebirth Vol. 1 Art by Liam Sharp and Laura Martin, letters by Jodi Wynne, written by Greg Rucka

As a (mostly) daily exercise for 2017, I’m trying to slow down my reading and look deeply at one particular panel of a comic for about 15 minutes in order to really study its construction.

This panel is part pin-up, part splash page even though, refreshingly, Diana is not drawn in an overtly sexy pinup girl style. Still, she separates from the scene as is she is standing in front of a backdrop. Not only does she stand outside the edge of the panel itself but the strong lighting and shading pushes her forward against the almost monotone green palette of the jungle scene as if she is 3-D. Liam Sharp is careful to let some of the background elements fade out around her body to create a halo-effect and Laura Martin uses bright secondary lighting on her right arm and left hip to really make her pop off the page. All the jungle elements fade out towards the bottom to really give this a movie screen effect with even the palm fronds casting a shadow onto the absence of scenery below it.

The colors in Wonder Woman’s costume are very muted, yet this is not a muddy or dreary looking panel. The greens and her skin tones are very bright and meet together somewhere in a yellowish range. Sharp has a very detail and ink heavy style that can get weighed down when paired with equally heavy colors, but he and Martin leave a lot of room to breathe in this panel: the sun peeking through the trees, the smooth areas of her skin and the fade out at the bottom.

The jungle itself is loaded with detail, but my eyes are drawn to the areas of the panel where it breaks down to open space: the opening in the tree in the bottom right becomes wonderfully loose and sketchy; the hanging vine and broken tree behind Diana’s head break apart in the sun; Martin colors the palm fronds towards the top in a way that they get overcome by the sunlight.

Diana is drawn to be beautiful and strong. She’s not a skinny swimsuit model and has beefy muscles, yet they are not overdrawn with lots of lines or over shaded in the coloring. Her expression is much more no-nonsense and intimidating than you might expect from how this character has generally been presented over the years.

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