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The Balance of Action

Can there be too much action in comic books?

Can there be too much action in comic books?

 Where are my legs?
Recently, I had been hit with a writing bug and my article had the honor of being posted on such fine sites as ComicVine and AnimeVice. I had even heard that it was posted across many other manga/anime blogs. The gratitude I have toward the ComicVine staff, that encouraged me to write the first featured article, is quite incalculable. The same goes to the staff on AnimeVice who also carried the story.

One thing about the largest selling point to US comics is the action. It’s what we all love, and pretty much been the hallmark of some of our greatest comics and events. Who wasn’t effected by the fight of Superman and Doomsday? We have the promise of amazing action that is to fill the pages and get are blood flowing. Though it’s not always delivered as promised. As I was watching G-Man’s review of the Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus book something struck me. The Utopia story had so much potential that fell short.  For months we had a slow and steady build up to what was climaxed in the Exodus book. Though this book felt like a promise unrealized. In the beginning it had a long climb up, similar to the start of a roller coaster. You sit, strapped in, waiting for that first great fall that will give you the momentum needed to hit all the twists and turns to come. Utopia felt more like a long, five minute climb to ten foot drop, and it was all over. Exciting for a whole three seconds, but left me vastly unfulfilled. Not to say that the fights were bad. It all just felt as if so much was missed. I don’t even hold the writers or the artists accountable for this. Their job was done and done well in each book. For I blame what none of us can escape, even as it constantly moves: Time. Well, Time and the Marvel editorial staff that dictates that these events have to settle within a certain time frame.

It seriously feels that in many comics we have to choose between either story or action. If we desire more of one. We then must sacrifice a part of the other. This was also shown in Babs’ review of Dark Reign-The List: X-Men. It’s not as if our writers or artists in the US series aren’t capable of doing both. Wolverine's story during Civil War was a great read with great action. Why does this even have to be a choice? 

Thinking of how this story moved it reminded me of an arc that was used in the manga series, One Piece. It’s a story that was published several years back about the CP-9/Enis Lobby arc. In many ways it shares a couple of similarities with the Utopia/Exodus story. Both had a long build up,friends turning on each other, twists in loyalties, possible betrayal from an enigmatic member of the heroes, clashing with a dark, corrupt government organization filled with killers; and ended in battles that changed the status quo forever. To date, it’s one of my favorite arcs, because of the emotions it evoked, with Nico Robin’s past; and the scale of the battles at the end.

The story for this stage in One Piece pretty much began with chapter 343(Oct. 24, 2004) and the appearance of the Cipher Pol-9 (CP-9). Following the tradition of weekly chapter releases, the build up lasted past the following year, and the opening salvo was in chapter 398(Jan. 29, 2006). The Utopia story first began in Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1 (Jun. 24, 2009), but the roots of the story date further back. As with all tales in the current Marvel continuum. All roads lead back to Civil War, which to me played out like a political allegory; similar to Animal Farm, but without the talking pigs. (Well, unless you wish to count Stark, but that’s getting off the topic.) Civil War ultimately is what lead to the Dark Reign. Norman Osborn stole Wolverine’s kill shot in Secret Invasion; and the murderer of Gwen Stacy quickly became America’s hero. He had created the Cabal in Secret Invasion: Dark Reign #1 (Dec. 3, 2008) and the X-Men had been mostly uninvolved. Despite Emma Frost’s agreement to join at the end of Uncanny X-Men #505 (Dec. 17, 2008). It all came to a head when the mutant riots broke out and Dark Reign finally fell on the mutant population in DA/UXM: Utopia.

In the Enis Lobby story the Strawhat Crew pretty much separated and paired off with an opponent at chapter 400 (Feb. 12, 2009), though these matches would mix up as the story moved on. Much in the same way Cyclops had his X-Men paired off with certain enemies, but had certain twists as the action progressed. Just to give you a feeling for just how these battles lasted in the One Piece series. This was the make up and the duration of each fight seen, from first meeting to final blow.

ChaptersTime duration
Zoro vs. KakuCH.400-41820 weeks
Nami vs. KalifaCH.403-41211 weeks
Sanji vs. JabraCH.413-4153 weeks
Chopper vs. KumadoriCH.403-4087 weeks
Franky vs. FukurouCH.402-4066 weeks
Luffy vs. Rob LucciCH.408/418-42722 weeks
You may notice that some of these chapters over lap. That’s because even while fights were going on around. The story was still being told, and more then one battle was happening at a time. This wasn’t like the Dragonball Z fights, that were just blind fighting. In the Enis Lobby arc the battles just felt as epic as the story that had been built up. There was a balance. So much detail was given to each fight. It could be used as a story board for the animated version, and most likely was. The climax was with the leaders’ fight of Luffy and Rob Lucci is the kind of thing you cheer at.
Luffy had been beaten down over and over. Only to rise again and pull off an amazing last-ditch attack. So traumatized did this leave the hero, that he couldn’t move afterward and was unconscious for three days after the fight had been over.

Balance that to the Utopia/Exodus story. While it started in late June. It came to a conclusion in early September of the same year. I have been quite the critic of Fraction’s handling of the X-Men’s story, but I can’t hold it against him with the balance of action to story. I felt the build up was looking promising. Here, he’s working with the time he had. The entire battle was told within a single book while the story that began this was through Dark X-Men: Beginning #1-3, DA/UXM: Utopia, Dark Avengers #7-8, Uncanny X-Men #513-514, and X-Men Legacy #226-227. This was a ten to one ratio of story to action. There was some action in between, but none on the level that was expected of having two powerful forces come to a head. Normally, when there are crossovers of major teams. It’s between heroes that get caught up in some sort of misunderstanding. No side wants to be painted poorly. This was a team of villains. A massive battle was deserved. This was the line up we had for Exodus:

X-MenDark Avengers/X-Men
WolverineWeapon Omega
X-23/Pixie/Armor Daken
New MutantsAres
X-Club Dark Beast
Iceman/New X-MenMimic
Various mutantsMoonstone

For the length of the battle. The art was often times breath taking. From pencil to color. I can’t remember when I’ve seen Archangel look so cool.
You could almost feel the level of doom coming Bullseye’s way. Past introductions we didn’t really see much of ‘anything‘ in the majority of these fights. The battle that got the most attention was between Cyclops and Osborn, in his Iron Patriot armor. That consisted mostly of Scott being beaten around while mocking Norman. Though I did enjoy watching Norman break down like a tantruming two year old screaming, “No No, No, No!!”. It appeared that the battles of Namor/ Sentry and Wolverine/ Weapon Omega were both of epic detail. What happened between Namor throwing that truck to being pounded into the pavement by Sentry? How was Weapon Omega standing after being stabbed in the back? It’s just sad so little was ever even seen. It could also of been quite entertaining to see Daken have his regenerating rear handed to him by three teenage girls, considering how poorly he tends to treat women. I don’t know if that was intentional, but my hat’s off to Matt Fraction on that touch. Moonstone's involvement was so short it was almost laughable. Dani Moonstar’s power revival and fight with the war god Ares, while incredibly well drawn, felt slighted by the time it was given. A battle that by all rights should of lasted hours, felt closer to thirty minutes. It was more like watching a highlight reel of a soccer match or baseball game. Rather then the sensation of actually being there watching.  If there was ever a fight that I would of loved to of seen get some manga-like attention. It would have been these.

Out of everything, it was the aftermath that felt silly. All this massive fighting and no one was shown even bed ridden once the dust settled. 
Scott, who had done little else but get pounded upon, by a psychopath in a suit of armor, only seemed to suffer some cuts, torn clothes, and had a little bandage on his head. All over the X-Men seemed relatively unharmed. Osborn’s Dark X-Men and Avengers were even more bizarre for a team that lost. Moonstone had her arm in a sling for some reason. Somehow despite multiple goring by Wolverine, Weapon Omega only seemed to have his hood damaged. Wolverine has never struck me as the kind of man who lets someone get away without losing a toe at the least. Especially, when there is a personal aspect to a fight. Dark Beast, though well outnumbered, didn’t even seem to suffer so much as a scuffed shirt. Though what was the
oddest touch I noticed, of all the people to still show fresh injuries. Daken clearly was showing cuts. If anyone should have been healed completely by the time of a press conference, it’s him. There is some irony that the only member of the X-Men or Dark Avengers that seems to suffer any long term effect from this battle is Emma Frost, the one who wasn’t even involved in the physical fighting.

This being said. One Piece is pretty infamous for people surviving ridiculous amounts of bodily damage. Don’t think I’m just picking on US comics alone for breaking the laws of continuity. The One Piece character Pell, from the Alabasta arc, flies a bomb, intended to level an entire city, into the sky. He is point blank when it finally goes off and easily presumed dead. It was a moving moment where he seemingly sacrifices himself to save thousands and the princess, Vivi, he has watched grow up from childhood. (I highly recommend you at least look up the scene on you tube if you ever get the chance.) At the end of the arc he is shown to of somehow survived. Also at times, Zoro (who I often see as the Wolverine of One Piece) suffers such damage in a fight it effects his performance considerably for many arcs past. So far, any character deaths that have happened in One Piece have been in flash backs. The creator, Eiichiro Oda, has said that he feels it is more important for the villains’ wicked dreams to die, rather then having the heroes actually take a life. Which is fitting when you consider the over riding theme of One Piece is about dreams.
Each character has their own dream. Luffy to be King of the Pirates, and Nami to draw a map of the world.

When it comes right down to it. There is a question I want to ask you. Mind you ahead of time. No one has ever even seriously considered this. It's not a rumor I heard. It’s just an idea I had running through my head. If it meant that you could have your comics in full color, not to mention having equal parts action and story; do you think you could have the patience to see US comics be published like weekly Japanese manga? Mangas have a distinct advantage being published weekly. If a reader doesn’t like a particular section. They normally only have to wait for the following week to see what happened next, rather then the monthly time line we have. I think that US comic creators have the skill to do it. They just lack the time needed.

A single issue of the manga magazine, Shonen Jump, has several different manga series between the covers; from Bleach, One Piece, Naruto, and many more. Imagine all the X-Men titles being published in a single weekly magazine, with sixteen to eighteen pages of story dedicated to each series; New Mutants, Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine, etc. When you consider how many pages that are in a month’s issue of your average comic. You could easily have about two normal sized comics (25-30 pages) within a single month. It may feel slow going at times, but the action we all enjoy out of these comics would increase ten fold in both length and detail. You would get to see the high and lows of a fight. Watch our heroes struggle against a powerful villain and turn the tide with one last attack. It could also seem faster if we had new issues each week, missing only during national holidays. There would be little concern about missing an issue during crossovers. Say you don’t want to read the other books. You would only have to wait two to three months and get the volume collection that would contain twelve weeks of the chapters per volume.

Overall, I feel the format given to US artists can be too constraining. Major story events are created one after the next and each writer is pretty well forced to fit their story within a small handful of months. Rather then writing an organic story that progresses naturally and has a satisfying climax (no puns, please). We more often get what I talked about earlier. More action with less story development, or long drawn out story with a flat or rushed conclusion.

These are my thoughts on the issue. Do you think you have the patience to read a story arc that could last two years if all it meant was having slightly shortened chapters, but you also get more dramatic action and fighting with your story? Do you think the larger audience could handle this as well?

Thank you for reading. 
Posted by Grendel

I agree. A big problem is that if it isn't handled right, the action feels forced and contrived. Cyclops and Wolverine punching eachother over every disagreement they have is idioctic and more implausible than superpowers.

Posted by Aronmorales

I agree with Grendel, no unnecessary or forced action, things should flow ya know? like a team situation for example (not that I can think of anything good to exemplify.)  where you can tell when two people hate each other; don't let them fight first issue, let the tension grow.
I guess what I'm really trying to say is take a break, ease up.

Posted by movieartman

 the battle between moonstar and ares really should have lasted at least one more page then it 
did and shouldnt have been so onesided i mean moonstar would definetly win but not so easily
Posted by Portrait

Way too much battling, and not enough story. There was a good balance until after the One Year Later arcs I think.

Posted by defaultdefaultdefault

i was majorly let down by the action in the entire Utopia (well sans Legacy anyways) arc, for same reasons that the battles were set,
and never panned out, especially two in particular that graced the covers, being X-23 Vs Daken and Namor Vs Sentry. that Bullseye Vs Archangel match (i mean non-match) and Colossus Vs Venom final bout were particular dissapointments as well. hell, in the final one-shot there were so many mistakes it hurt my eyes. take when Bullseye starts the issue by attacking the X-Men with a three arrow shot. Cyclops shotts the arrows and misses Bullseye. next we see the arrows Cyclops just shot (?) going in the wrong direction, 
two of them hit a female mutant who loos like Emma sans costume who has turned into steel (?) (Mercury, Husk, who shouldnt be there BTW), one hitting her hard form and bouncing off (not breaking, even though the same arrow was just broken by Cyclops)
and the other going through her arm at the same time (?), while the third makes its home in Anoles gut (who right afterwords is fine as if this never happened (?). then Archangel swoops in and grabs Bullseye by surprise (who we just saw anticipating Cyclops's multiple optic beams and dodging everyone?) and the match between them sets in the woods (?) and ends up not happeneing.
later we see them back with their crews (Archangel must have felt bad for being mad at his friend Bullseye and gave him a lift back?)
need i go on?

Posted by Omega King

A great review, i agree. The action and story should be evenly divided.

Posted by FoxxFireArt
That was part of my argument. That fight was over far too easily. It could of bee an epic fight before it was over. In manga a fight like that would probably of gotten two to three chapter.
I appreciate your thoughtful input. It's pretty much like I said. The battles felt more like watching highlight reels then being there and watching it flow.
Also notice the HUGE continuity error with the Namor fight? Namor and Sentry fly away from the Utopia island where it's dusk, but when they crash through the buildings it looks like it's noon. You could reason that they went FAR away, but when Sentry is seen flying away you can see him from Cyclops and Norman's point of view. Not to mention, what was up with the idiotic line for Namor, "gibbering schizoid"? I'm far from a Namor fan, but why was he given a line that sound like it came from a bratty thriteen year old?

You could just image how amazing these fights could of been if we got to see then in manga-like forms.
@Omega King:
Thanks, but if you notice the One Piece arc I cited. The story to action wasn't balance. The arc began in late 2004, but the final battle didn't start until early 2006. There were some fights during 2005, but noting on the scale that the story ended with. The fighting that started in 2006 ended in late 2006. That's hardly what I would call a balance. My point here was about not giving fights enough attention. Exodus could of been a much stronger end if the fights had been stretched out to a two or even three part story.
Posted by HaloKing343

Action can be great and I agree that it can either make or break a story. I think that action has to be written well. We've all seen explosions before and we've all seen people punching each other. Regular scenes like that just don't cut it. Just like most other elements of the story, the writer needs to bring an interesting element to the table. Warren Ellis for example has written some of the coolest action scenes ever, made up of nothing but fights. 

Posted by dancingphlower

I agree with the OP. This could end up being a great idea.

Posted by uncanny89

thats a nice article, i have t agree with you about the time frame of utopia and i think that was down to the editors rather than writer i think it could of gone for maybe one more issue or have exodus being around 50 pages and gone ito detail with the fights and shown more of what actuallty happened with emma/sentry and the void.  id would of paid for it (within reason). i would comment on the anime side of you argument but ive never read an anime book in my life so i dont think it wiuld be fair (i prefer the western style)
Posted by defaultdefaultdefault

thinking on it, i feel justified being a little peeved. they advertised these fights, some right on the covers. so they owe me one, thats what i paid for. if they couldnt pull it off for some reason, then why pussyfoot around in the first place. like that Emma Vs Moonstone cover back when, im sure you remember that FoxFireArt. what a jip.

Posted by FoxxFireArt
 I think Exodus could of been dramatically better if they had made it two or three parts. Make the fights last and stretch so we can see what's going on.
The anime fights were long and very epic. They are drawn with enough detail that that feel like screenplays for the animated versions. I should send you a youtube clip of one of the scenes. It's thrilling.
I am quite well aware of that cover the the let down it was. There is something about misleading covers. Sort of like covers drawn by super talented artists, but the inside art being lackluster.
It does feel like we were cheated out of some great fight scenes.
Posted by Omega King
@FoxxFireArt said:
@Omega King: Thanks, but if you notice the One Piece arc I cited. The story to action wasn't balance. The arc began in late 2004, but the final battle didn't start until early 2006. There were some fights during 2005, but noting on the scale that the story ended with. The fighting that started in 2006 ended in late 2006. That's hardly what I would call a balance. My point here was about not giving fights enough attention. Exodus could of been a much stronger end if the fights had been stretched out to a two or even three part story. "
You mean the dramatic build-up wasn't good enough, leaving the reader displeased
Posted by FoxxFireArt
@Omega King: 
No, no. When you had talked about the story and action was balanced there. I thought you meant the amount of 'time' they got. When the story build up was longer then the fighting. The dramatic build up was superb. Some of my favorite moments from the One Piece series comes from this story arc.
This are was a very satisfying read.
Posted by Omega King
@FoxxFireArt said:
" @Omega King: 
No, no. When you had talked about the story and action was balanced there. I thought you meant the amount of 'time' they got. When the story build up was longer then the fighting. The dramatic build up was superb. Some of my favorite moments from the One Piece series comes from this story arc. This are was a very satisfying read. "
I was talking about the Exodus issue, not One Piece. I agree with you, the One Piece arc was superb to read.
Posted by FoxxFireArt
@Omega King: 
Oh, talking about Exodus. The story to action was greatly unbalanced in the Utopia/Exodus book. The fights could of been far more epic. I think if they had at least extended Exodus into a 2 or even 3 part story, It would of been much better.
Posted by Omega King
@FoxxFireArt said:
" @Omega King:  Oh, talking about Exodus. The story to action was greatly unbalanced in the Utopia/Exodus book. The fights could of been far more epic. I think if they had at least extended Exodus into a 2 or even 3 part story, It would of been much better. "
That's what I meant, and that's what i've been trying to say all this time. XD
Posted by rouju

Seriously guys. The reason why I collect TPB is cuz the "shortness" of the issue. Manga is great, but the amount of volume to be collected is, pain the arse (wallet to be exact).

It's great to have comic with epic battle like manga, but how many volume/issue it would take? 

Kinda like have to break the egg to have a scramble egg this time

Posted by Mbecks14

the thing i do like better about manga than american comics (though i dont actually read manga) is that it seems like mangas always have direction.  Until recently, and still only in specific cases (unless i'm mistaken), comics were really just story arc after story arc going in a direction only to take a sharp left with a new creative team.
what i'm trying to say is that comics arent really building towards something. stories are told just to tell stories, and most of the time they're so disconnected with "continuity" that everything gets muddled and nerds cry.  But with manga, the stories are self contained, the only continuity is within the one book/manga novel, and the plot is going somewhere.
i'm having a hard time putting what i'm thinking into words so bear with me. For example, with One Piece (like in the article), Luffy and his gang are pirates, constantly being pursued, each with their own personal goals.  They're trying to get somewhere (i cant remember the name).  So on the other side, take for example Superman's New Krypton, Green Lantern's Blackest Night, and/or Batman's Batman Reborn. They're overreaching story arcs that affect the respective universes of these characters.  but when these stories are done, and new creative teams take over, what's going to happen? they're going to change again. 
I finally figured out what i meant to say: Mangas are consistant and self contained.  Where Comics are more loosely interpretted by various creators over an entire universe where problems can occur.

Posted by FoxxFireArt
 Trade paperbacks can range from the $15-30(USD). Your average manga volume is between $8-12(USD). You seemed to glance over the part where I talked about the idea of the comics being published in weekly magazines then in trade paperbacks. Not to mention most modern libraries will have some mangas in their collections. The same with comics.
Manga volumes come out every few months. $12 every two to three months is hardly compared to trade paperbacks price tag. Not to mention your average individual comic can range in price of $2.99-3.99(USD).
Add to that, my local bookstore emails me coupons once a week  for 10-25% Off or Buy One get One Free. That makes buying mangas even less expensive.

Well, it's only natural. I covered this in my Previous Article. US comics are going to lack a certain sense of direction when you go from one writer to the next every year to few months. Mangas have one writer or team there of.
Luffy's crew are trying to get to the end of the Grand Line to find "One Piece".
Posted by rouju

Hmm, sense of direction...Well I guess it,s nice 2 see some direction but sometimes it feels like the story arc in manga lingering way than it have to (in manga probably kinda like Dragon Ball where I think the story should end in Cell saga cuz Cell still have Freeza part in it and the "dragon ball still have some role, unlike Majin Bhu saga or felt never ending like Hajime No Ippo).
It's true that what I hate in American comic is sometimes the team is changed during some story arc (especially the penciller, it kinda change the whole mood).
Oh yeah, I agree that Zoro kinda like wolvie (but not overated like wolvie)

Posted by FoxxFireArt
I really wouldn't include Dragon Ball Z. While fun to watch. It's not something you watch for the story. That hardly had any story at all.
The mix up of team doesn't bother me so much. It's that they don't balance the action and story. With Utopia we got some great story build up, but rush conclusion.

I love the touch of how Zoro gets lost so easily. Makes for some great moments.
Posted by Media_Master

Story should always be placed higher than action.

Posted by xerox_kitty

 I'm sure as hell not going to write all of this again, so it's a quote this time...
  @xerox-kitty said: 

"You know I agree with what you've said, because we've pretty much gone over this before :)  What amuses is me is that we expect a certain level of realism from US comics, while in manga we're willing to suspend our disbelief for manga.   
For example.  Civil War started with how the public would react mindlessly to heroes because of a tragic event.  It later had shocking moments where characters died, survivors mourned, and morals were questioned.  Therefore despite all the fantastic super powers, people enjoyed.   
Likewise, Messiah CompleX is a popular story arc as it balanced many different sub-plots, didn't dwell on the actions of just one or two characters (providing a focus across many different teams & characters), with a clear beginning & an endind that wrapped up all the various story thread.  There was also enough of an open ending to give room for the creation of two new series; Cable & X-Force.  It was neat & concise story telling. 
However, many people still seem unhappy about Utopia.      
There were no casualties, everyone who was hurt was magically cured moments later (regardless of the presence of characters like Elixir), and Beast who was losing his blue fur looks exactly the same as before.  With the exception of a few news crews, the public didn't seem to have a reaction to events that were happening around them.  Apparently the public's view is what Norman Osborn gave during press conferences.  The only morals questioned were whether it was okay to side with Norman Osborn.  'Proposition X' was quickly forgotten about, and living on a rock just off the coast of San Francisco wouldn't make them exempt from any new laws passed that effect American territory.  Just like you've established above, the pacing was an anti-climax with fight scenes barely lasting for minutes, let alone half-hours or hours.  And then there's the focus on characters; it was meant to be a two-team cross-over with the creation of a third team.  However, the majority of the focus was on Osborn, Cyclops & Frost.  Peripheral characters received such little time & attention that they were negligible, like some sort of crappy stocking filler that was bought on Christmas Eve because it was cheap and filled the empty spaces.    
Now I'm not saying that it was universally panned, because a lot of people did actually enjoy Utopia.  However, I'm not one of them and by comparing it to other stories like Civil War & Messiah CompleX it just isn't going to hold up as a classic cross-over.     
Yet people seem more forgiving if a manga spends more time & attention on one or two characters in particular.  For example, in Bleach you're guaranteed that the majority of the time the story will be about Ichigo, Rukia or Ishida.  Obviously Ichigo is the main hero, but he isn't a title character like Seiya from Saint Seiya.  He's one of a team of heroes, but the reader knows that the action will follow him because it's his name in the title.      
Morals also seem more clearly defined in manga, a bit like they used to be in US comics.  Now, with the need for more gritty realism, US comics have begun to explore the many shades of grey and moral imbiguity.  With most manga, you know who are villains and heroes and therefore you know who to cheer for during the fight scenes.  Not just with shonen manga, where the heroes battle the villains.  Even with most shoujo manga that explore relationships & every day life, you know who are the allies and foes to the central heroine.  For exmaple, Nana deals with the love lives and careers of two girls in a big city.  We know that their friends are among the allies, while rivals rock bands and other girls who destroy their relationships are clearly the foes.  It is a slice of life story, but it still has a clear moral compass.  Yet it is told in such a way that the fairy tales black & white morality doesn't interfere with the characterisation.    
And of course there's the timing.  Manga is faster paced because it released on a more frequent basis.  When you collect all those chapters together & read them back-to-back there is a lot of time dedicated to fight scenes.  Sometimes it can feel that you're stood by the heroes side in real time, like with Bleach or One Piece.  Or other times it can feel like there is nothing but fighting, like with Dragonball Z or Saint Seiya.  But even when that happens, readers are still more accepting of those flaws in balancing the action with the characterisation and drama.    
I think to some degree it is like comparing apples to oranges with manga & US comics.  The way that they are produced often dictates how a story can flow.  However, there is a lot to be said for the quality of writing, especially when dealing with a ridiculously large cast of characters.  When there are too many characters for the writer to handle, they end up trying to juggle subplots and drop them all in a messy heap.      
Monthly titles have fewer pages within which to tell a story, whereas weekly titles may have smaller chapters but they accumulate into more pages per month.  Therefore a weekly manga can cover more story than a monthly US comic... and I feel that it's that time constraint that really drags US comics down. "
Posted by ARMIV
All action requires probable cause.
What that means is there has to be a good reason for lots of action.
Not just lots of action for no reason.
Posted by Sparda

Very well written article. Lots of good points and entertaining to read. Good job, FoxxFire! 
I think I would like a longer story arc with shortened chapters, if it resulted in better action and drama, but manga isn't really my style. In my opinion, the best fight in comics recently was Invincible Vs. Conquest. The battle was damn near four full issues long and had a subtle build-up throughout the entire series up to that point (as in, you always wondered when the Viltrumites were really gonna get serious, and it happened right then and there).

Posted by TazzMission
@Media_Master said:
"Story should always be placed higher than action. "

thats the truth man
Posted by defaultdefaultdefault

thought about this last night. i really didnt give much input other than to
vent about Utopia (shhhh....its okay, the bad man is gone now. its over baby)
US comics have decent action...sometimes. most isnt comparable o Anime/Manga.
heres the thing. Anime and Manga are in fact inspired by US cartoons (heavily classic Disney
animation) and comics (heavily Marvel and DC). they love man, probably better representing fans 
than most of us. Now since its rooted in comics, and developed outwardly, that means its certainly 
possible for comics to develop the same system of action sequencing. so there's that.
obviously the manga action is very celebrated outside of Asia, as US comics have tried to follow
that style. but they dont seem to be pulling it off. what i think would help is if Marvel and Dc for starters,
pulled as much talent from overseas that they can, if not just for producing comics, but so US talent,
particularly upcoming ones in places like the Joe Kubert School Of Cartoon for example, could better
learn how to pull off this standard and integrate the style in a real time level. and why not, Marvel for
one hired Japanese animators to do several of their animation projects, like Transformers the animated 
movie, Thundercats, GI JOE, ect. and i think it worked pretty well.