April 5, 2012

The Compost Pile

This Thing’s Amazing: Infinite Comics

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Avengers vs. X-Men #1: Infinite

Avengers vs. X-Men #1: Infinite

Marvel came out with their first “Infinite” comic, a Nova story that ties in to A vs. X.

It is really, really cool.

The story itself isn’t the mind blowing; Nova is racing away from the Phoenix force on his way to warn Earth, and then crashes into Manhattan. The Avengers find him.

Not a very ground breaking story.

But the way the story’s told, wow.

If you’ve already read this thing, you probably know what I mean. If you haven’t read this thing, go read it on comixology. It costs 99 cents.

I’ve got some screen shots, and the thing is, they don’t even do this thing justice. The amazing thing about this is the presentation, and the way that the panels transition and change while viewing the comic.

A vs X Nova Flying

Nova is flying away from...

This thing doesn’t just move from panel to panel like a traditional comic. The panels themselves change as the story moves on, and the transition is part of the storytelling.

The panels at right, they’re just a small snippet of the panel in the comics. The panel itself is really cool, and I don’t want to spoil it. This panel made me say wow when I saw it, and I had to flip back and forth a few times to experience it.

When you first see the panel, Nova is in the foreground, and something is in the background, out of focus. When you push the screen to proceed, it doesn’t move to another panel, it just changes focus. Nova goes out of focus, and the thing in the background comes into focus. The transition happens on screen while you watch.

The effect is stronger than just seeing the two panels in a row. It pulled me into the comic in a way that reading panel by panel doesn’t, and had a much greater impact. It actually captured the feeling of a looming danger, and then the thrill of seeing that danger revealed.

The entire comic takes advantage of the way that digital can transition, change, and add to the comic panel as you read it.

A vs X: Infinite Nova

Nova comes closer, closer, closer to a tragic collision

In another panel layout, the first panel of the page is displayed, with Nova in a widescreen panel above it. As you read it, panels are added to the layout, and the top panel, showing Nova, gets more and more close up as Nova comes closer to crashing into the helicopter shown in the bottom panels.

Usually, this kind of thing would drive me nuts. Three panels in a row showing the same thing, taking up three times the space necessary. The way this is presented, however, ratchets up the tension as Nova comes closer. I felt the tension increase as the panel progressed, and Nova came closer and closer to a tragic collision.

This was the most surprising thing about this Infinite comic, the way that a story that usually would seem way too decompressed and way too short was really engrossing.

The way this story was told amplified the drama and excitement in the story, far more than I would have got from the comic if it didn’t have these type of transitions.

This was engrossing in a way that movies are, but without being a motion comic. One of the limitations of comics is that by nature, it does not show the transitions. A comic can only show particular moments in a transition, we, as the viewer, have to imagine the full transition as we read.

This Infinite Comic allows the creators to show the transitions, to show a more engrossing view of how the story unfolds.

Digital comics like this opens up the door of storytelling in ways that traditional print media can’t.

The future is now.

And it’s fricken cool.


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