I’m back from vacation, and I’m running critically low on internet.

It’s hard to believe the last time we saw Hex, she was leaping off the roof on page 209. I guess she’s been just hovering there all this time. Of course, comic combat exists in an extreme version of comic time, so it hasn’t been weeks or even minutes. She’s been chilling out for maybe a minute.

There’s a big difference between how battles are handled in manga and how they’re handled in American comics. For one, there are very few team on team battles in manga because there are very few teams. Nearly everything that contains significant fighting falls into the category of Shōnen, as in Shōnen Jump. Basically a single male protagonist getting into lots of fight. The cast is of course much larger, and the main character can have some combination of team mates and frenemies like in Bleach, Naruto, or DBZ, but nearly every fight still comes down to one on one battles. It’s probably unfair to call American comics more varied in that regard, but personally it’s easier for me to think of examples of both single title protagonists getting in to fights, (Spider Man, Batman, Wolverine, etc.) as well as team on team battles. There’s a huge difference between one on one fights in comics and team battles. One on ones can span a significant chunk of the issue in American titles, and in Manga with their much higher page counts, they can span multiple chapters, going on for 50 pages or more. Team battles, which like I’ve said are mostly the domain of American comics, though I’m sure there are exceptions, are different because of the much smaller page counts. In most team battles, everyone goes down in one hit. It’s something I never noticed until the very first time I tried drawing a team battle, something I did probably 20 years ago on copy paper. I realized if I had everyone have these big battles that showed off their abilities or how resilient they were, the battle would be 80 pages long. I grabbed the nearest X-Men comic and realized the one hit rule was how they kept team on team battles down to 4 pages, and the cool battle moments were always saved for much lower population fight.

This battle is kind of a combination of both of those rules. It’s the first fight the characters are having (on screen anyway) so I want to show off some of their cool tricks, but that makes the page count go up. It’s also why I have a lot of disposable villains, so they can go down in one hit. In D&D 4th Edition rules, they’re 1 hit point minions. It’s also the reason I’m trying really hard to edit a bunch of the fight out (and not always succeeding mind you). Achilles for instance is just buried under some rubble. It would take almost no effort for Mr. Amorphous, Maxima or Sydney to dig him out, but then I’d feel obligated to make him be useful in the fight, and while I have some other funny things for him to do, I think I’m going to have to leave him KOed for now. Rationally it makes little sense for Maxima not to super speed down to the rubble and just kick him out of it since she doesn’t have to worry about hurting him, and it would take her all of 2 seconds to do it, but having her do that might add 5 pages to the fight, and I’ve already got a ton left to get through before I take my next editing pass. It’s hard to lose entertaining content or cool action sequences, but I can save those moments for later in the story.

Some of these pages during the fight are just fighting, but where I can I try to include other elements, whether it’s insights into Archon’s battle strategy or just setting up something for a future page. This one is mostly trying to fold Sydney back into the fight. And setting up Hex for a little action.

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