Monday, October 30, 2006

Nothing says evil like a goatee

Artist Keith Giffen’s breakdowns for 52 #24—the issue that featured the debut of the new, short-lived Jusstice League line-up and the check-ins with Martian Manhunter and Green Arrow—are currently available for perusal at

As the amount of attention I lavish on it each week here at EDILW indicates, I’ve really been digging the series, but I haven’t paid too much attention to Giffen’s breakdowns, a habit I may soon have to change, based on how much fun this breakdown-only re-read of #24 was, and how many possible clues about where this whole thing is going are buried in Giffen’s sketches.

The highlight is definitely the image above, Giffen’s version of the appearance of Evil Skeets, sporting a goatee (perhaps this is the Skeets of a different dimension then?). It sure explains the shocked expression on Firestorm II’s face in his sketch of the panel.

Note the margin, where Giffen inserts a “just kidding about the goatee note.” I guess with a schedule as tight as the one facing the 52 artists, there’s the possibility that someone would accidentally draw, ink and color that goatee, huh?

Also of particular interest is page seven, which shows the Martian Manhunter-made sculpture. It’s drastically different than the one penciller Phil Jimenez ultimately drew (and thank God for that—that panel of Jimenez’s was perfection). In Giffen’s sketch, the only one’s pictured are Booster, Beetle, Ice, Vibe, Red Tornado and Sue, which makes one wonder what order he sculpted them in, and why he skipped so many of his other allies. Also included is a sculpture of Blue Jay, who not only never died, but is more alive and well than he’s been in quite some time (see Action Comics #841-#843 for proof of this).

On page thirteen, the reveal of all those crazy Everyman characters like Dynamole and Poledancer, Giffen draws some weird-ass looking characters, including what looks like a grasshopper man of some sort, and an egg-shaped hero in the upper righthand corner. In the slaughter to follow, Ambush Bug dons weenie roast clothes and props, a joke Jimenez and company apparently decided to pass on, thinking it was a little dark to have a Leaguer running around with an apron and hotdog on a stick amidst burning corpses.

Finally, Giffen’s been drawing Osiris in a costume that resembles Black Adam’s exactly, or the costumes favored by the “White” Marvel Family, while in the finished products, Osiris’ costume is unique among the Marvels, and sans cape.

Now, if you’re looking for clues as to what happens next, it might be important to note that on the last page, where Atom-Smasher is looking at headshots of villains to recruit into his Suicide Squad, the only one Giffen draws out and names is Count Vertigo, who therefore seems like a shoo-in to make the team.

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