Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Judge Parker - Sophie's Crash, Part 1

Comic strip writer Francesco Marciuliano is responsible for the innovative changes to Sally Forth (as I've noted many times). When he took over the writing assignment for Judge Parker. things changed for those characters, too. Storylines became less predictable and so more interesting.

When teenaged Sophie wanted to travel with her band to an out-of-town gig, the stage was set for a major plot development.

Young drivers on a mountain road at night in the pouring rain. I, like most readers, had an idea of what would happen next.

Especially when alcohol was added to the mix.

This storyline started in July 2016, just two months after comics page readers saw a horrific -- and fatal -- car accident in Gil Thorp (Gil Thorp - Death in Comics). But just as the wreck that took high school athlete Boo Radley's life in that strip happened in an unexpected fashion, the events in Judge Parker also played out in an unusual way.

Note the masterly pacing of Mike Manley's art.

The moment of impact is represented by a solid yellow panel. From there, we slowly pan back as a disoriented Sophie gradually sorts out where she is and what just happened.

The dreaded call comes to Spenser Farms. Sam Driver and Abby Spenser, Sophie's adoptive parents, race to the scene. And this is where things take another unexpected turn:

Notice that we don't see the girl's face. We assume that it's Sophie -- but it's not. 

I usually wait until a sequence has run before commenting, but in this case, I couldn't. This storyline is still continuing in February 2017. Marciuliano changed things up -- the major event in the story arc wasn't the wreck, it was the aftermath. The girl the police recovered was Honey, not Sophie. Sophie and the other passengers had disappeared. 

Who took them and why is only now being revealed. But that's not where this part of the story ends  -- as we'll see in part two. 

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