Note that this page consists of my two favorite panel shapes: Wide, panoramic horizontal panels that enable disparate visual elements to be included in a single image, along with a series of vertical panels to convey a rapid-fire, close-up flurry of separate actions. Note also that both panel shapes lend themselves well to lettering placement, with word balloons naturally fitting in the open spaces at, respectively, the sides and tops of horizontal and vertical panel shapes.
Panel 1: Here’s a wee but significant comics-technique detail: Best to not place a word balloon so that its outline just barely touches the edge of the panel in a tangential manner, as seen with Emp’s “OH, S**T--!”. In my defense, in the original artwork for the page, the balloon probably was placed clear of the topmost gutter line, but post-production cropping of the page lowered the top edge of the page—you can tell this by the way some of Emp’s cartoony sweat droplets are being cut off as well. Still, best to err on the side of caution and either place word balloons clear of panel gutters, or move them further into the borders so the balloon outlines aren’t so awkwardly tangential, as seen with the dialogue in panels 2-6.
Panel 4: Note the correct “?!” punctuation, here, as opposed to the (IMHO) mistaken “!?” often seen in Japanese comics and elsewhere. I find it critical to place the question mark first, as the “questioning” aspect of the exclamation is essential to emphasize in a case like this. A small detail, true, but one that bugs me to no end when obliviously used incorrectly.
Panel 6: Random, but thought I’d mention how much I like drawing Emp’s blonde hair, for the simple reason that its graphite-light openness is very easy to draw, both in terms of (little) time required and (lack of) stress on my drawing hand. Empowered vol.7, by contrast, is so strongly Ninjette-focused that she’s effectively the book’s protagonist; however, by the end of the book I was driven to the brink of insanity by having to draw her dark, highlight-heavy, graphite-intensive, drawing-hand-mangling hair over and over and over again. Same deal with Thugboy’s similar—if shorter—hair; at least Sistah Spooky’s hair I can render with a Sharpie marker, which is notably easier on my hand than having to use a pencil.