Alex: Every Wednesday on Twitter, I pick a comics issue that caught my eye and do an illustrated thread of little observations and stuff I enjoyed about it. It’s called #oneweekonecomic, and I’m collating each thread into its own blog post.
This week, we’re covering Robbie Thompson/Niko Henrichon’s MEET THE SKRULLS #1 from Marvel Comics. Spoilers on this one are very light, so all but the most averse readers should be safe to stray beneath the cut.
Let’s start with Marcos Martín’s cover, which tells you everything you need to know about the premise in a single image: suburban family of Skrulls, undercover on Earth.
And looking closer, it even hints at each character’s relationship with their two lives: the dad is almost fully Skrull, while for Alice, only her human face is visible.
Look at how Travis Lanham manages to communicate the theme of transformation through the lettering of this caption box – a more standard ‘human’ font gradually gives way to something alien.
The repeated use of the family portrait links back to the cover imagery, but it also quietly establishes a back story – there are five family members here, but only four at the table.
We also see an empty room, clearly decorated for a small child – note the interplay between caption and image here. The book never explicitly mentions it, but there’s a clear question being set up, and it’s more compelling because you have to ask it yourself.
I’m a big fan of the increasingly common text-and-image intro pages and interstitials. Immortal Hulk makes great use of it, and The Wicked + The Divine. (Gillen has said he stole the technique from Hickman, after learning they’re ‘free’ pages – i.e. they don’t take from the art budget.)
It’s always cool to see what everyday life is like for people in superhero universes. This one panel captures exactly what it would be like to work at Stark Industries – the boss constantly crashing through the ceiling.
It’s not a new gag, but using apparently alien text as a substitute for the usual swearword-covering grawlix is so perfect for this book.
I opened with a single image that encapsulates the book’s entire premise – let’s end on a short sequence that does the same thing. I love how the set up implies Alice is being chided for using her phone at the dinner table, but punchline: it’s actually about using her human face.
And it’s nicely mirrored in a later scene, where we see her older sister – apparently the favourite child – transform into her human form when the parents leave the dining room.
The face we choose to wear looks to be a major theme of Meet the Skrulls, and as a lot of my TWATD essays will show, I am extremely into that.
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