Fight Scenes

TwilightEL

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I'm not sure if this deserves its own thread, but I've been noticing an annoying trend in comic book fight scenes.

Ultimate Power #2 is just one big fight scene, which is not a problem... in the hands of a good author and a good artist, that is. It was just a big jumble of people running around, other than a few neat bits like Blur punching Thing.

In a better book, that issue would've told us the powers of all of the Squadron members and a bit of their relationship to each other as well as a recap of all the Ultimate characters who appeared.

The same thing happened in CW #3, though to be fair there were dozens of characters in that fight and it was elaborated on in the tie-ins.

Honestly, with a lot of these scenes, the only thing in common between panels is the characters and the setting. Any time from two seconds to two minutes could take place between drawings (and it didn't help that Land drew UP #3). There's no consistency in where the characters are fighting. It's hard to come up with well-choreographed scenes with lots of characters, but I've read comics where not only do battles take place between huge teams, each character is given a distinctive fighting style and used their powers in interesting ways.

It also seems like rather than having villains with creative powers, the writers just make them ridiculously powerful. Instead of coming up with a villain whose power challenges the hero and makes them use their brain and skills to defeat them, the writers simply declare "My new character is as strong as the Hulk!"

I just wish that instead of continuing the trend of people with the standard super strong, super durable, super agile set of powers duking it out in boring, disjointed scenes, authors would write clever villains with unique gimmicks fighting heroes who use their own powers in a creative, consistent style.
 

ProjectX2

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The two best fight scenes I've seen in comics were both written by Millar. The first is the entire Hulk/Ultimates battle in "Hulk Does Manhattan", which was incredible. The second was in in The Authority, where the Authority fight the Doctor.
 

SSJmole

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I like the fights where like you said power challenges the hero. But I also enjoy fights were villain has the same power but is slightly stronger (spider-man venom) but I also enjoy it when villain is just really strong.


As long as they are done right. Why? because they challenge the hero in different ways :

fights with tricky powers - mental as they need to figure it out

same power but is slightly stronger - physical and mental

really strong - lets us see heroes as humans as they normally bleed and get their *** kicked.


but I think too many of any is a bad thing they need to mix and match.
 

ourchair

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It's strange I think for me to feel this way, but I thought Bendis' run on Daredevil had some pretty decent fight scenes in hindsight.

Maleev's artwork tended to render body movement as stiff and lacking in energy, but I think the actual panel-to-panel storytelling was good because it really gave you this impression that Daredevil was thinking on his feet and trying to contain dangerous situations like Pyrokinetic Psycho *****es With Samurai Swords On The Open Street and Insecure Assassin Who Compensates For His Small Penis Through Excessively Showy Marksmanship.

I think a contributing factor to this is that Bendis put Matt Murdock in a combat situation fairly infrequently, and this kind of gave a lot more intelligence to these things. However, the fact remains that they were still well communicated fight scenes, even if Maleev's work lacks in energy and dynamism.
 

E

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Maleev's artwork tended to render body movement as stiff and lacking in energy, but I think the actual panel-to-panel storytelling was good because it really gave you this impression that Daredevil was thinking on his feet and trying to contain dangerous situations

Well said.

like Pyrokinetic Psycho *****es With Samurai Swords On The Open Street and Insecure Assassin Who Compensates For His Small Penis Through Excessively Showy Marksmanship.

Even better.
 

Foolsfolly

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I don't know for sure what makes a good fight scene. I just know that there have been a lot recently that just bored me.

And in Ultimate Power's case, if you're going to do two or more issues of people JUST hitting each other. You need an artist that can do that, and Land draws porno.

You also need some character in the fight. Fights where everyone just use their fists and not their brains or using their powers in cool ways...really get to the point that you just don't care.

Case in point is Captain America. Written poorly how many times can you watch panel after panel of him throwing a shield and punch and kicking?

On thing that needs to change is the padding that fighting has become. You have a writer that's stretching a 4 issue arc into 6 issues...there are going to be a lot of panels of people grunting while fighting.

Splash pages are nice, too many drain fight scenes (especially the ones where it just has a few characters hitting each other with no dialogue).

I guess it all boils down to, never have mindless meaningless fight scenes, and keep hiring the best artists and writers you can.
 

ourchair

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You also need some character in the fight. Fights where everyone just use their fists and not their brains or using their powers in cool ways...really get to the point that you just don't care.

Case in point is Captain America. Written poorly how many times can you watch panel after panel of him throwing a shield and punch and kicking?

On thing that needs to change is the padding that fighting has become. You have a writer that's stretching a 4 issue arc into 6 issues...there are going to be a lot of panels of people grunting while fighting.

Splash pages are nice, too many drain fight scenes (especially the ones where it just has a few characters hitting each other with no dialogue).

I guess it all boils down to, never have mindless meaningless fight scenes, and keep hiring the best artists and writers you can.
I think one of the reasons why comic books with fight scenes seem more like padding than they used to is because fight scenes had a hell of a lot more words a decade or so ago, during the eras of DeFalco, Shooter, et al.

In theory, it's not such a bad idea for there to be dialogue and thought bubbles in a fight scene, but in practice it was kind of annoying for the heroes to keep spouting the gravity of the fight in question --- listing the stakes of a fight, talking about all the events that led up to this point.

But today, the expectations we have for our reading experience now has come to the point where all this fight talk is just needlessly superfluous reading material.

I think things were okay in most books during the early Ultimate titles, where fight scenes took place in the span of 2-3 pages, but the problem NOW is that so many books are so event-oriented that the fight scenes are now all there is to a major event book, and I doubt reverting to the old style just to give us actual words to read would make things any better.

What'd be best I guess is to frame these fight scenes better to bookend them with something that really makes the fight scenes matter in the way that Bendis would make them matter in Daredevil, and that doesn't necessarily mean we'd have to increase the page count for non-fight material, but if it does, that's okay too.
 

Foolsfolly

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I agree, ourchair.

And I'll like to restate, I have no idea what makes a good fight scene.

Some fights work, and some fights just don't work.

I think it would help if at the end of the day, you really want to see the hero kick this guy's ***.

There is a specitical to it too. Fights have to look cool.

The images have to convey weight, meaning, urgency, and still manage to flow panel to panel.

They need to plot the fights nice and tight.

Someone in this thread said they loved the Hulk vs Ultimates fight, which was GREAT.

Can you compare that to the 3 issues long fight going on in Ultimates 2 right now?

Does that matter as well? Are good fights wrapped up in an issue?

Does the number of combatants matter? Is there such a thing as TOO MANY? (I think Millar's Enemy of the State arc proved there can be TOO MANY)

But again I state, I think it all matters (more than anything else) on who the creators are and how talented they are.
 

ourchair

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Someone in this thread said they loved the Hulk vs Ultimates fight, which was GREAT.

Can you compare that to the 3 issues long fight going on in Ultimates 2 right now?
I'm not too fond of the 3-issue long fight going on in Ultimates 2, but regardless of my appraisal, i think the story turned out that way because we have characters who have become separated from each other in a greater deal than they have been before.

This isn't just a matter of trying to get everyone out of an alien booby trap and back to the continental US, but a matter of each Ultimate being logistically separated from each other (Tony disappears then reappears, Cap breaks out of jail, Hulk makes a sudden return, etc.)

Foolsfolly said:
Does that matter as well? Are good fights wrapped up in an issue?
My problem with the fights in books like The Ultimates 2 and the more event-oriented titles in 616, is that after you've stated the problem, the fight scene can drag out far longer than it deserves.

It's one thing for the villains to leave the question of why they've attacked America for the heroes to figure out, and it's another thing to make that statement early in the game and let the fight scene drag out. Granted, both are certainly valid realistic ways of how a superhuman fight would occur in the real world, but from a storytelling perspective it can be a problem.

Since Millar has already stated the problem (which is basically superhumans are abused in the implementation of US foreign policy) long before the fight started, the 3-issue fight scene becomes a long march to resolving matters. If The Problem were a mystery then it becomes the motivation for the fights to continue, because they need to Find Out Why, Figure Things Out, and Fix the Problem WHILE fighting.

I'm not sure if i'm communicating this well enough, but I hope you get the idea.
 

moonmaster

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I think a big factor is realism.

We're all used to scenes of testosterone-pumped superpeople throttling each other indiscriminately, with no regard to anything going on around them (Usually in the middle of a crowded city, no less.).

You can bring something original to a fight scene by looking at the real consequences of a fight between gods. Take a look at The Ultimates VS The Hulk, or Miracleman VS Kid Miracleman. Just think things out logically.
 

E

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I think a big factor is realism.

We're all used to scenes of testosterone-pumped superpeople throttling each other indiscriminately, with no regard to anything going on around them (Usually in the middle of a crowded city, no less.).

You can bring something original to a fight scene by looking at the real consequences of a fight between gods. Take a look at The Ultimates VS The Hulk, or Miracleman VS Kid Miracleman. Just think things out logically.

I think that sums it up about as well as can be done. Totally agreed.
 

Bass

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I think that the most common fight scenes suck is not due to a lack of attention to detail, or gritty realism or anything like that.

It's the same reason dialogue is crap so often.

See, with dialogue, people just talk incessently about the plot and the situation or about their feelings or, if they want to sound 'real', they talk about their opinions on movies. What they forget is that the dialogue, like anything else, should be actions. Verbal actions progressing the story towards its climax.

Fight scenes are action movie dialogue. They just hit each other a lot. Or shoot each other. But it's not physical action that progresses the story towards its climax.

It's that lack of progression that sucks, because without the progression, there's no meaning behind the actions. The progression can go wider, encompassing larger sections of the physical world. A fight can start in an office and spill out to threaten an entire city. It can go deep, it can start with just bruises and cuts, getting worse and worse to dismemberment and mutilation. It can do both. There are many ways to progress a fight. A fight, like anything, should be a story, with a beginning, middle, and end (though not neccessarily in that order) that builds and turns with interesting, exciting, emotional insight into the story's world and its characters.

To give you an example - Revenge of the Sith. The lightsaber fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin - it's cool. It looks cool, lots of lightsabery fun. But the truth is... it's long and dull, and very little happens except at the end.

This, for example, I think, is a far better lightsaber fight (granted, it has no budget, but the choreography is better than anything in the Star Wars films I think): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVqpYtLQFpI

If any of you get the chance to spend time with Adam Hughes in a bar at a convention, try to get him to talk about the Revenge of the Sith lightsaber fight. He has some BRILLIANT ideas of how to make that fight scene work incredibly well, and they're all based within the fact that this is OBI-WAN fighting ANAKIN on a LAVA PLANET. That these are the best Jedi's using lightsabers.

Most fights are just "he punches this guy" or what-have-you. The best fight scenes are fights that are proper story events, meaningful change through conflict, that truly utilises that the fight has THESE character (whoever they are) fighting each other HERE (whereever that is).

I would suggest if you look at your favourite fight scenes, it's not because of how gritty or realistic or how well-choreographed it is, but because of what it does in terms of story and the fact that this fight scene could not be done anywhere else.
 

marvelman

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Yeah, I agree with Bass (didn't think I'd ever say that again).

Like for instance, the reason Casino Royale was so good was because all the action furthered the story. I can't think of any random fight scenes in that movie. Honestly.
 

marvelman

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also, as far as star wars goes, i prefer the less flashy, more honorable-samurai stylings of the original trilogy. The new ones are just ridiculous and make jedis into superheroes rather than peace-keeping warriors.

just my 2 cents.
 

SSJmole

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also, as far as star wars goes, i prefer the less flashy, more honorable-samurai stylings of the original trilogy. The new ones are just ridiculous and make jedis into superheroes rather than peace-keeping warriors.

just my 2 cents.


Ahhh yes but they balance it out perfectly. Lets face it Original we are dealing with Old men , A cyborg and a guy who is new to the force.

Original they are people in their prime So ... logically they would be faster , better moves that could mix lightsaber with force use and It makes it great.
 

TwilightEL

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I just got the first Nextwave hardcover. I think the fight scenes in it are perfect. Like Bass said, every action moves the plot forward. The characters all fight in different ways which are logical for their characters. Immonen's art is so dynamic, and the way he draws motion, smoke, fire and collisions, you can practically hear the explosions. The short story arcs prevent padding and the scenes flow quickly from event to event.
 

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