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Perfect Panels: Discovering the Hero Within

Perfect Panels: Discovering the Hero Within

By Mandy Curtis Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

Welcome to Ink Spots, a quirky little corner of devoted entirely to all of our favorite Young Adult comics and fiction. In this new edition of Perfect Panels, Mandy Curtis looks at a few of her favorite panels and pages from DC’s recent YA graphic novels.

Perfect Panels is a section of Ink Spots in which we take a look at noteworthy panels or sequences from recent YA comic titles and discuss what makes them stand out. This time, we’re checking out some particularly perfect panels from Batman: Nightwalker, Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Shadow of the Batgirl.

Batman: Nightwalker

Page 28

The Bruce Wayne in Batman: Nightwalker is not yet the cocky, assured adult version of the character, and yet, the signs are all pointing in that direction. During this car chase, which takes place very early on in the story. Bruce thinks he knows what to do, but isn't 100% positive. He's going to do it anyway, however, because it's the necessary thing to do. (Is it the right thing? Eh…but that's often the question with Bruce, isn't it?)

Page 189

Bruce deals with a lot of loss in his life, and much like the young Bruce in this book hasn't yet realized his particular brand of heroism(/vigilantism), he also hasn't figured out how to protect his heart. His relationship with Madeleine is somewhat doomed from the start, but he still has hope that the two of them can work things out. It's also a great example of the struggle between right and wrong Bruce feels throughout his life and what that difference looks like to different people on opposite sides of situations.

To learn more about Batman: Nightwalker, read Tim Beedle's Book Breakdown.


Wonder Woman: Warbringer

From page 19

Diana's a hero down to the marrow of her bones, and it's evident in these panels, in which she literally dives into the deep end to rescue people she's never met—even though the rescue is going to cause trouble for her in the long run.

From page 78

It's just so accurate!

Page 188

The friendship between Diana, Alia and Nim was one of my favorite parts of Wonder Woman: Warbringer, and this page shows how far they've come in such a short period of time. It drives home the importance of female friendships specifically, and how each person can be different and yet fit together so well. It's a heartwarming moment that's also an important scene for young women to see in comics!

To learn more about Wonder Woman: Warbringer, read Amanda Levine's Book Breakdown.

Shadow of the Batgirl

Page 17

I adore Jackie so much, and I knew she was going to be the perfect person for Cass to rely on from the second she showed up in her fabulous checkered pants, socks with sandals and killer hairstyle.

Page 112

This panel comes hot on the heels of a set of pages that kind of blew my mind, but I'm not going to cheat and include them here when I've already talked about how much I love them in my Shadow of the Batgirl Book Breakdown. Regardless, this panel is pretty perfect in its own right—it's messy and busy and Cass looks kind of ridiculous in her cobbled-together outfit. But the look of determination on her face is so moving, and her thoughts on how she's ready to be a hero—although they're a little jumbled, too—are so powerful and they resonate throughout the rest of the book. This is a moment of change, a moment of massive shift for Cass, and you can almost feel her resolve coming off the page.

To learn more about Shadow of the Batgirl, read my Book Breakdown.

Do you have a favorite panel or spread from these books? Let us know!

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu, Stuart Moore and Chris Wildgoose is now available in bookstores, comic shops, libraries and as a digital graphic novel.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo, Louise Simonson and Kit Seaton is now available in bookstores, comic shops, libraries and as a digital graphic novel.

Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn and Nicole Goux is now available in bookstores, comic shops and as a digital graphic novel.

When Mandy Curtis isn’t reading books by Leigh Bardugo or Sarah J. Maas, she’s dreaming of busting bad guys with Wonder Woman—if Steve Trevor’s there, too, she won’t complain—and writing about YA fiction and pop culture at Forever Young Adult. Follow her on Twitter at @mandyannecurtis.