Snakes are, in a literary sense, cunning, deceitful, and devious masterminds with their own overarching agendas. That’s why I immediately took note of the seemingly random serpent watching over our heroes in the following panel.
Why did Kevin O’Neill, the illustrator, place this creature in the foreground, pushing the protagonists to the back, out of focus? An artistic choice, maybe, but I believe there’s more to it than that.
Throughout the novel, “Mr. M” has been there. Not directly, not in the thick of things, but watching over the rapidly unfolding events from a safe distance. He slithers above them, unseen but seeing all, as they make and execute their plans. On page 97, however, we know none of this. O’Neill consciously, in my opinion, drew this snake to foreshadow what the minimalistic dialogue could not. It is because of little things like this that I hope the graphic novel never dies. It is a completely different experience from reading a book, and a refreshing break from the walls of text.