Visuals can be summoning. A lake at sunset, a view of woods being deforested because of a bug infestation, a darkness that mostly blankets the ocean while standing on a jetty…they could each be the opening to a story of their own. They aren’t just scenery; they’re scenes.
And when a medium automatically has scenes baked into the story they’re already advancing it. Readers don’t have to do as much work to engage the concept of it being more than words on a page and in some respects can more quickly get to the good stuff. Bullseye, drawn by Guillermo Sanna and colored by Miroslav Mrva, gets to the heart of the story in a flash.
The pair shows how Bullseye kills quickly, but without mercy, by emphasizing just how much pain a moment can handle.
So this guy is dead. Very dead. And we know it was quick. But look at that right hand! It’s like the pain was so intense it overloaded his body, shut it down, and froze the sucker. Imagine feeling so much pain that your last memory is how it enveloped you. Eugh. Chills.
More than that, though, the shade of the night lets us separate a decent amount of emotion. While tragic, this unnamed guard’s death seems like straight business; the means to an end.
An image conveying physical pain is relatable because we’ve all felt it and have all seen something cringe-worthy. But it’s another thing entirely when it conveys urgent madness and pure alarm. I want to emphasize the color here: the yellow background can automatically trigger a reader’s brain to feel overwhelmed with conflict. Bullseye being projected as a shadow feeds off of that by exuding a formal but menacing death, which is emphasized by his cutlery hands.
The calmer colors here draw subtle attention to the slimy look on the face of the man on the left. He’s also pointing his finger in a way that’s too smooth. If you’ve ever read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, it’s kind of like the kouros statue at the beginning of the book – so natural-looking it provokes you into believing it’s a fraud. And rightfully so. This is the rat Bullseye has been sent to kill.
Bullseye is the kind of nefarious villains are made of. He wants something and wreaks havoc to get it and dismisses it once in his grasp. He’s got a grin that makes you believe he might just be that damn crazy and a costume that makes it look like he’s almost begging to be a target himself. In many ways, his personality can tell the story as much as any words could. That’s what Sanna and Mrva do in the first issue.