Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 10/2/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Archie and…wait…that's it?!?!

Welcome back, Donist World denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / mostly empty pull box syndrome therapist Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). Yeah, I don’t really know what’s going on, either. Two weeks in a row where I only had one new comic to talk about. I will say that I did buy two new comics this week, but the other one left me less than thrilled (the art on that one was spectacular, though), but the good news is that that the one book I did enjoy, left me smiling ear to ear. Want to know what also has me feeling the happys? Simple, The Martian debuts in theaters today, which means I will be heading out to Hollister Brewing Company for a couple beers, some happy hour chicken nachos, followed by the movie version of one of the best books I have EVER read (I also listened to the phenomenal audio version immediately after finishing the book). The unfortunate side of this is that my puppy executive team are trotting around the office as if they get to go with me to watch the movie. Not gonna happen. The annoying thing is that Obie is dressed in a purple cape and wearing a set of bouncy antennae, proclaiming he is a Martian. Duh. He totally did not read the book. Tulip on the other hand is wearing a “Hello, my name is Mark Watney” name badge on her fur, so at least she it; she’s still not going, though. So, while you prepare your The Martian viewing plan, fire up some chillwave music (new Neon Indian album in October!), pour yourself a nice cool sweet tea, get yourself some nachos, and settle in for this week’s post. Thank you for reading.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Archie #3
Archie #3 - Written by Mark Waid, illustrated by Fiona Staples, coloring by Andre Szymanowicz with Jen Vaughn, lettered by Jack Morelli, published by Archie Comic Publications, Inc. Archie and Betty are quits. Over. Finished. Done. Finito. Caput. All because of the “lipstick incident”…whatever that is. But Jughead Jones doesn’t accept this; his friends are better as a couple. Unfortunately, Jughead did not anticipate the recent arrival of one Veronica Lodge and the stupefying effect she would have on poor Archie Andrews.

Criminy, denizens, I love this comic! If you frequently tune into Donist World, then you know that I tend toward darker, more cynical comic book fare. Sure, there are a few series that I simply adore, that are laugh-out-loud funny, but most of those have a lurking bleak outlook. Archie breaks me out of my rut, leaving me smiling and wondering whether the title character and Betty will get back together, as well as what Jughead will say (or not say) or do (or not do) next. Archie is all-ages fun from beginning to end, providing relatable and humorous situations for the young ’uns, while giving us more-learned and wise (ie. old) adults something to be excited about.

With Waid’s dialogue and Staples’s character acting, I love / hate the newly reintroduced Veronica Lodge. She’s beautiful, smart as a whip, entitled, charming, vastly insulting, vulnerable, steely, and the list goes on and on. It’s clear that Veronica is a messed up, lonely rich girl with issues to match her father’s net worth. I’m sure she will have her moment to shine as a hero, but I’m also sure she will torpedo that opportunity to join the human race with a spiteful comment to keep everyone at arm’s length. As it stands, Veronica comes through with one of the best lines of the relaunch to date, when, with her nose turned up in disgust, she says to Archie (who she calls “Andy”), “I’ve never been in a public school before. What’s that smell? Is it what they call ‘crack’?” To which, Archie replies, “It’s Coach Kleats.” I suspect this awesome panel will pop into my head over the course of the week to raise my spirits when I least suspect it, and most need it. Moments like this, there are many of them, are what make the all-new Archie series such a joy to read.

Sadly, this is Staples’s final issue. Yes, yes, I’ve known she was only set for three issues for a long while now, but that doesn’t make her departure any less of a bummer. Staples took the traditionally cartoony style Archie Comics is known for and revamped it to a more modern look. Now, I have to admit I was skeptical of this change before I read the first issue — yes, despite Staples slated to be the artist — but after the first page of the first issue of this series, I have been loving the new look…nay, denizens, I am in love with the new look. Staples’s sheer command of character acting tells you everything you need to know about the emotions of the page, with Waid bringing every moment home in the funniest way imaginable.

This issue belongs to Veronica. With her fluid shifts from indifference, to annoyance, to disgust, to horror, through to when she relaxes enough to allow a smile to accidentally slip, or when she completely falls apart in girls’ bathroom, the creators deliver an updated Veronica, who is sure to have us laughing for many issues to come. Plus, those sneers between Veronica and Jughead are simply timeless. Thankfully, although Staples’s is off to work on some little-known comic called Saga along with up-and-coming writer Brian K. Vaughan, we don’t need to worry about the series’s next artist as we will have none other than the awesome Annie Wu to keep us smiling as we forge ahead.

I also need to restate that Jughead is the best. Smart, no-nonsense, nonconforming Jughead flows through life drifting through its setbacks as easily as he drifts through a barrage of ruby-red dodgeball projectiles. Jughead is like the honey badger, only much, much smarter. From this moment forward, I vow to embrace my inner Forsythe.


Make no mistake, Archie is one heck of a good time. Only the coldest of coldest of hearts will be able to resist a smile when reading this charming, fun series that is a successful revamp of an already beloved universe. It’s also safe to say this all-ages title truly has something for all ages to enjoy, which is not an easy thing to do, but given the talent involved, it’s really no surprise just how much fun you’ll have with this book. I am not exaggerating when I say, I am super excited to see what happens next, and although I am sad to see Staples go, I’m pleased to have Wu taking over art duties. The wait for the next issue will be painful indeed, but we will luckily have the new Jughead series to tide us over until then. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Two Comics in My Pull - And only one dang book worth discussing? I guess this is fine as I had yet another nutty week in regard to my search for a good job, among various other crazy time commitment things. If anything, having only the two comics gave me a chance to make it to the halfway point of the third Chew Omnivore Edition that I am positively loving. Oh well, I’m sure all of my favorite books will be coming off hiatus soon, and I will be buried in an onslaught of heavenly comics.

Another Fucking Gun-Related Massacre - Yeah, out of all the massacres over anyone’s lifetime, how many of those massacres have not involved guns? This is stupid. This is ridiculous. NO ONE needs the ability to fire more than a couple bullets in order to protect themselves in their own home. No one should be allowed to carry an instrument of killing to a school, or a church, or a theater, or anywhere. We should have talked about and dealt with guns decades ago, and subsequently decided to be intelligent about them, but since we can’t go back in time and undo the harm guns have caused our country, then now seems to be not just the right time to do something about them, but the only time to do something about them.

Ugh. Now I need to cheer myself up.

No Song This Week, But Since it’s My Brother’s Birthday…

Alrighty, now I feel a little better. Happy birthday, Little Bro.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 9/25/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Weirdworld and…wait…that's it?!?! Okay, Chew Omnivore Edition, too.

Welcome back, Donist World denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / Polemachus tour guide Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). Oh. My. Doom. I only had one Doomdang comic in my pull this week, as the new issue of Secret Wars looks to have been bumped. Huh? Oh well. I’ve been ridiculously busy taking written tests for a job consideration, preparing for an interview for another job later today, and there’s a ton of other stuff going on as well. Not only that, the heat has returned, and Obie is walking around the corporate office (Mom’s basement) muttering, “Get a job, deadbeat.” <sigh> Fine. Having only one book this week looks to be okay by me, and the one I did read is all kinds of awesome. Next week, though…more comics! So, while you prepare to stay cool, fire up some chillwave music (new Neon Indian album in October!), pour yourself a nice cool sweet tea, get yourself a taco basket, and settle in for this week’s post. Thank you for reading.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Weirdworld #4
Weirdworld #4 - Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Mike Del Mundo, colored by Mike Del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics. Arkon fears he might never see his home of Polemachus ever again, and whoever knows fear, burns at the touch of the Man-Things. Of course, Morgan Le Fay and Skull the Slayer aren’t making Arkon’s life any easier.

I initially started this issue off with a sense of dread. Not for the content inside, or the art, or a fear that I would be let down in any way, but because I erroneously thought this was the final issue of the mini-series. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong. This is actually a five-issue mini-series, which finally occurred to me when I read the “To Be Concluded…” on the final page. <phew> Dread diverted, or at least postponed until next month. The funny thing was the whole time reading this issue, I was thinking there’s absolutely no way they can tie up everything started since issue one, and I was right.

In this issue Aaron and Del Mundo take Arkon and Skull’s battle to a forest of Man-Things. Not just Man-Things — plural, not singular — but Man-Things carrying cool shamanic staffs. Werd, denizens. You read it. I said it. STAFFS!!! Then to top it all off, they bring in the leader of the Man-Things…wait for it…wait for it…Jennifer freakin’ Kale. That’s right, little Jenny Kale commands the gosh darn Man-Things. Ms. Jennifer Kale from… … …<crickets>… <crickets>…yeah, I had to look her up, too. Anyhow, she first appeared in 1972’s Adventures into Fear #11, has had ties to the Man-Thing, she’s a cousin to the Ghost Riders (Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch), has magic powers, and is part of Doctor Strange’s supper club or something. Regardless of who all the characters are and how they relate to the Marvel Universe at large, I don’t care. I am digging every single one of the weirdos who’ve appeared throughout the course of this exciting, bizarre, and gorgeous comic.

It’s clear that Aaron is having a heck of a time writing this series. He somehow succeeded in writing a Secret Wars tie-in that doesn’t really tie into the main event at all, with the occasional curse of “Doomdamned” thrown in the mix; this might also be Aaron’s subtle comment on events in general as well, but who knows. The awesome thing about this issue is that the reader finally discovers what Arkon’s problem is — you have to pay attention or you’ll miss it — and why his attempts to return home have all failed. To be honest, I almost missed it, but flipping back through the book, everything fell into place. Arkon’s situation definitely falls into the category of weird, very clever, but also very weird in the best of ways that I did not see coming. <sigh> Why must there be only one issue left?

Del Mundo’s art…well, you need to prepare for it. I don’t just mean mentally, but also physically and with the proper amount of time to enjoy this issue to its fullest. You should not creep into bed at night with a tiny book light to read this issue, as you are liable to miss the glory of this gorgeous — and I mean gorgeous — art. You need strong, bright lighting from indirect sources so as to reduce glare from the comic’s glossy pages. You need to have the right environment to admire the greens and reds of Arkon’s hallucinations, and to marvel at the muting effect of water as Skull attempts to drown the hero, but most of all you need to get a load of the positively stunning Man-Things and their groovy staffs. I am very curious as to how Del Mundo pulled off the lush, painted textures on these creatures that almost look as if they are made of natural vegetation viewed through a gently flowing stream. As weird as the story is, the art is simply magical.

I positively love this Doomdamned series, and I am generally bummed for poor Arkon. At this point, I want to try to help him get back home, maybe take him out to coffee and a pumpkin scone and check-in to see how he’s doing, to see how he’s holding up. I’m genuinely worried for the guy. That said, I’m sad that this fun adventure mini is nearing completion, but the good news is that it seems like the creators will be able to complete the story they set out to tell without Captain America, or Iron Man, or Doctor Doom entering the scene to mess things up. I fully expect next month’s conclusion to wrap in the most satisfying and weird manner possible. Two side notes: 1) Weird World will continue as a series, only without Arkon and with Sam Humphries writing and Mike Del Mundo returning for the art…YAY! 2) There is a Weirdworld: Warriors of the Shadow Realm trade out that has nothing to do with this mini, but it is a fantasy series from the ’70s that I am excited to pick up in the near future for the heck of it. This issue of the mini-series, though, comes VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew Omnivore Edition
Volume 1
Chew Omnivore Editions Written and lettered by John Layman, illustrated and colored by Rob Guillory, color assists by Taylor Wells, published by Image Comics. After the avian flu snuffed out tons of lives, the consumption of chicken has been outlawed, and the FDA has become the most powerful government agency on the planet. Tony Chu is a detective now working for the FDA. He’s also cibopathic, which means he gains a psychic impression from whatever he eats: an orange gives an impression of warm weather, pickers injured retrieving the fruit, and the pesticides used; eating a steak gives an impression he’d rather forget. His bizarre ability sees him involved in the most bizarre and grossest cases imaginable.

If you’ve been reading Donist World for any length of time, then you know how much I love this series, and I have been merrily singing Chew”s praises since I jumped in at issue four and scrambled to find the first three issues. Once I finally tracked down some difficult to find reprints of the early issues, I became a lifelong fan, and I’ve been reading the monthly(ish) issues, and snatching up the hardcover editions the moment they drop.

Now, this is not going to be a review of the series. Nope. Instead, I want to take a look at the extra-fancy, super-slick hardcover Omnivore Editions, of this fantastic series. Thus far, four volumes are available and the fifth should drop right around the time I complete my reread of the series. At that point, the countdown for the final ten issues should begin, which has me excited to see how it all ends, and sad that is ending.

Chew Omnivore Editions Vol. 1–4
I am currently midway through volume 2!
Each Omnivore Edition contains at least 10 issues, possibly a Poyo special, and a whole host of extras such as the original pitch, preliminary / test pages, photos, special covers, and probably some stuff I haven't even discovered yet. This ain’t your peepaw’s hardcover book, no siree Bob. Ain’t a Doomdang dust jacket to be found anywhere near these beauties. Instead, we have covers with spot UV (glossy) images and titles atop matte backgrounds and body text, making for a beautiful effect, especially when viewing the book at an angle from a few feet away. The inside cover is a highly-textured, heavy paper stock of a color that ties to the scheme of the cover. Also matching the color scheme is a slick ribbon bookmark that is a welcome and necessary touch.

Size comparison: comic
versus Omnivore!
Come close for a second…I don’t want any Doomdamned eavesdroppers. Okay…are you a new-book sniffer? Don’t worry, denizen. It’s cool, you’re among friends. Most of us comic collectors are book sniffers, I imagine, and much like digging that new car smell, when you tear off the shrink wrap on these pretty puppies, you gotta go in for the new book fragrance, that eau de toillete of the printed word. Unfortunately, I got a bit of a headache from doing that, but it…was…worth…it!

The great thing about these Omnivore Editions is the small-but-noticeable bump in size from the comic that gives you a much better view of Guillory’s art and a better opportunity to find the multitudes of sight gags scattered throughout the pages. Speaking of pages, they’re still the same glossy pages I love from the comics, but possibly on a slightly heavier paper.

There you go. Man, did the creators put their all into the presentation of these dang fine editions. Every aspect of these things was designed with class and and an eye for perfection. The bottom line is that you need to get these for your favorite bookcase, you know, the one that makes your friends and pets drool with envy. I have volume two by my side for reading this evening, with the other three volumes standing majestically on my bookshelf of heavenliness. I also have two empty spots set aside for the fifth and sixth volumes once they are released. Doomdamn, these Chew Omnivore Editons are true treasures of my collection, and I think they might be a prize of yours, too. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Slice into the Woods

One Comic in My Pull - Only one dang book? Okay, this week has been positively bonkers, so I guess I am okay with that. I also have some crazy and stressful stuff going on over the next few days, so I guess the timing was right on. Not only that, I got a bit of Chew I need to be rereading…

(Sung to the tune of Cat Steven’s “Wild World”)

Now that I’ve been revisiting the awesome Chew
The Omnivore Edition’s a rockin’ it’s true
It’d warm my heart if you're readin’
Baby, that’s believin’
Built with much love, such great care
I can’t wait to give them pages a good stare
But then I got another one I’d like to share

Oh, baby, baby, read Weirdworld
It’s harsh but it’s cool, Man-Things make me smile
Oh, baby, baby, read Weirdworld
Arkon’s hunt for Polemachus calls you, girl


Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 9/18/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Prez, Sex Criminals, The Fade Out, and Tokyo Ghost

Welcome back, Donist World denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / curser of extreme temperatures Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). Ahhhhhh…finally, a reprieve from the heat. Alas, it is short-lived, though. Today and through the weekend, it will again be in the upper 80s / low 90s, which is better than a few weeks ago, but still…yuck. Anywhooo, we have the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) all set up for chillaxin’ with a pitcher of sweet tea in the fridge, lime popsicles in the freezer, and some salmon-flavored kibble on ice for my doggie executive team. We also have a truckload of comics and graphic novels to keep us occupied in the event we need to hunker down to wait out the heat. Luckily, Obie is preoccupied ironing out the details of his wholacracy management plan (not holacracy, mind you, wholacracy, where he is in charge of everything), so he should be out of our hair for most of the day. So, while you prepare to stay cool, fire up some chillwave music (new Neon Indian album in October!), pour yourself a nice cool sweet tea, get yourself a taco basket, and settle in for this week’s post. Thank you for reading.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Prez #4 - Written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Dominike “DOMO” Stanton, inked by Mark Morales and Sean Parsons, colored by Jeremy Lawson, lettered by Marilyn Patrizio, published by DC Comics. No one suggested to Beth "Corndog Girl” Ross that being the PotUS would be easy. With the recent death of an innocent Pakistani boy at the hands of “beanbag soldier,” the weight of reining in power-gone-awry begins to take its toll.

Denizens, I can’t begin to tell you the lift in spirits I get each time I see a new issue of the amazing Prez in my LCS pull. Even without seeing the other comics waiting for me, I knew this would be the first book I’d be reading later that night. But does the comic continue to WOW me the way it has with the previous three issues? Boy howdy, yes.

Now, I will say that there are a few shifts with this issue that are a bit different from what has come before. First, the tone of the book, although still with plenty of brilliant satirical moments that cracked me up — and that subsequently bummed me out with the realization that the jokes were not at all as far removed from reality as I would like — was decidedly darker. The issue mostly served as a look into the nature of borders and occupying territory, and the effect of using callous “beanbag soldiers” to man death-drone robots. We also see the US detaining prisoners — some legit threats, others completely innocent of any wrongdoing — at Guantanamo Bay, and the abysmal treatment received by those held. It’s all rather disheartening upfront, as opposed to the usual slow building realization that beneath the fun, cartoony style of the comic, the subject matter is rather grim. Thankfully, there are still humorous moments, particularly with Beth’s new Chief of Staff, a movie award ceremony (“I ‘heart’ my dad,” ha ha ha ha) and the commentary on the direction of books, movies, and copyright laws cracked me up completely…until that realization that Russell might sadly be on to something here. A side question I have is whether or not Fred Wayne is a descendent of Bruce Wayne — this is a DC comic after all — but I’m cool with the creators letting us wonder.

The second shift with the issue is fill-in artist Dominike “DOMO” Stanton, whose artistic style is different enough from Ben Caldwell’s issues to be noticeable, while still maintaining the overall feel Prez fans have grown accustomed to seeing. This is not a knock on DOMO, I’m merely stating that I noticed something was different, and then slipped gracefully back into what is one of the best new series of 2015. DOMO’s character design, character acting, and sequentials are pretty dang outstanding. Like most of Russell’s scripting, the art comes off as humorous, lighthearted, but when you stare long enough at a page, such as the one centering around the US wheat stores, you can quickly see the grim nature of the scene beneath Lawson’s beautifully vibrant colors. What I’m trying to say is if anyone is going to stand in for Caldwell as an artist on this series, it dang well better be DOMO, as he is a dang perfect fit. Come to think of it, if Russell wants to do a six-issue spin-off prequel or parallel tale to Prez, I wholeheartedly volunteer DOMO for the honor of doing so. (Please do this.)

Am I as happy or giggly after reading the latest issue of Prez? No, I’m not. BUT am I as thrilled, engaged, and expecting to be left pondering the subject matter of this comic until the day issue five drops? Oh my stars and garters, YES! I. Love. This. Comic. You need to be reading Prez. Don’t trade wait the series, and please preorder the remaining eight issues of this phenomenal satire of our political system and the world as a whole. Russell and Caldwell have confirmed that the series will run its 12-issue course, but as I alluded to above (flat out stated, actually), I want to see Prez prequels, minis, sequels, annuals, epilogues, or whatever. I’m not giving up hope on an eventual hardcover collection, either. This series is a blast and a real kick-in-the-pants as to the current state of the world and where we could be headed. Beth “Corndog Girl” Ross for President in 2016! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sex Criminals #12
Sex Criminals #12 - Created by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, flatted by Spencer Afonso, edited by Thomas K, produced by Drew Gill, published by Image Comics. Jon and Suzie are visiting the “Sunshine State” in an effort to find recruits to help them take down the Sex Police. But after their first interaction with Ana Kinkaid, they have learned that not all sex powers are created equal. Some can be downright terrifying.

This comic is not for kids. Did you get that? Allow me to repeat. This comic is NOT for kids. It is for “Mature Readers,” which means no pro-censorship a_holes, no we-know-what’s-better-for-you-than-you-do goody-goodies, no abstinence-only (no…it doesn’t work) champions of righteousness. No. This comic is for those mature enough to laugh at immature dick jokes, and who want to have one heck of a fantastic time reading a hilarious comic that is as enlightening and honest as it is ridiculous. Still with me? Haven’t yet read Sex Criminals? It was number one on TIME Magazine’s ”Top Ten Graphic Novels” of 2013. It is continually a Donist World darling, and has remained as one of my top five comics being released since issue one. Translation: You need to be reading this fine comic if you haven’t been already.

I’m not going to spoil this issue other than to say that it is somewhat of a mashup up of anime and horror and drama, plus a history lesson on the term “normal,” all while remaining off-the-walls funny. Fraction and Zdarsky had me rolling by page four with every page involving Jon and Suzie. Okay, I will spoil one thing…there are few things as messed up as seeing a guy, wearing only a pair of socks, running while in the buff. There isn’t. Well, maybe a nekkid guy jumping on a trampoline — <brrrrrr> so cold, so very, very cold <brrrrr> — but I think you get the point. Why is the guy running nekkid? You’ll just have to read Sex Criminals #12 to find out, and trust me when I say you will not be prepared for the reason why. Dang, denizens, I’m still laughing about it. I will tell you that Zdarsky has some of his best sequentials to date, but you will need to go back through for a second read to spot all of the awesome background gags to be found in the glowing pink bedroom.

There have been some lengthy delays on Sex Criminals, but if you stick around for the letters column, Fraction and Zdarsky will fill you in on the reasons why; it is well worth your time. Plus, you want to read the final page of this issue, which is on the back inside cover, much like a post-credits scene found in many superhero movies. Sex Criminals is loads of fun (*snicker*) and the fact that it keeps getting banned on iTunes and Android and Comixology (Amazon) despite the joyful, positive, informative, honest nature of the comic is all the reason to seek this series out. If you want to buy a copy digitally, then go to and get yourself a DRM-free copy. If you want to read it the way it was meant to be read, in print, then you have two trades and a beautiful hardcover to choose from, but the floppies are where the must-read letters column can be found. Regardless, just be sure you are reading this dang fine comic…provided you are mature enough, and smart enough, to handle it. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Fade Out #9
 The Fade Out #9 - Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips, colored by Elizabeth Breitweiser, published by Image comics. Charlie and Gil have been at odds for a while now, which means they haven’t exactly been talking to each other. But after what happened to Val, and in light of what Gil recently discovered, the two friends need to bury the hatchet…just not in the other’s head.

Holy cow, this book is great. Brubaker and Phillips have had the crime drama down ever since their phenomenal Criminal series debuted.  The Fade Out is set to run for 12 issues and at the three-quarters mark, I am every bit — more so, actually —engrossed in this exquisitely-paced, brilliantly-told tale involving many damaged characters, all with secrets to hide and stories to tell. I honestly can’t get enough of it. This issue is especially important for all of those who have been following the series, as we finally learn Charlie and Gil’s history along with the ups and downs of their relationship. Trust me, there are some pretty big downs that actually made this Donist gasp in surprise. But despite their intensely complicated relationship, it is clear that these guys are lifelong friends no matter how crazy things get; unfortunately, certain decisions they make kind of suggest their lives might not actually run all that long.

With each issue of The Fade Out, I comment at length about Phillip’s mastery over storytelling and character acting, and absolutely nothing has changed since last issue — the art delivers as expected; each page is a thing of beauty. If anything caught my attention visually with this issue, it was the scene where Charlie and Gil stop their fighting and actually talk things through. There’s drinking and smoking and anger and caution, and the dim lighting accentuates the shadows to set the mood that Breitweiser’s beautiful complementary colors hammer home. It’s a powerful scene, but I have to say that the panel of the sock to jaw packs quite a wallop itself…dang, that looked painful.

If you like crime comics then you have absolutely zippo reasons to not be reading the tremendous The Fade Out. Brubaker and Phillips are masters of their craft, and this series is certain to draw you in and keep hold of you until the harsh end. There are no “jumping on points” for this series other than the first issue, so that is where you must start. You can dive in with the ridiculously inexpensive trades, or, better yet, by picking up the floppies that provide tremendous bang for your buck with the exceptional letters column and fascinating essays that are well worth your time, and not available in the trades. This series just gets better and better. I cannot wait for the next issue. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Tokyo Ghost #1
Tokyo Ghost #1 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Sean Murphy, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. 70 years in the future, most of humankind has slipped into an apocalyptic nightmare of their own creation, a world where tech addiction runs rampant. Enter Debbie Decay and Led Dent, constables for the powers that keep everyone jacked in and jacked up, to enforce the law.

This comic is positively nuts. I kind of had the same feeling reading Tokyo Ghost as I had watching the amazing Mad Max: Fury Road, only with the comic, I needed a bit more to fully hook me to the characters and the world. This is not to say I did not like this premiere issue, much the opposite, but the movie had over two hours of madness to immerse oneself, whereas Tokyo Ghost had only 28 pages of material to introduce an incredibly messed up world, a corporately run political system, a psychotic (but waaaaaay groovy bad guy), showcase the bad guy’s powers, hint at the tech involved and the effects of tech addiction, and sympathize the reader to the two main characters and their lopsided relationship. <phew> See? I told you there’s a lot going on, and I haven’t even touched on the insane action of this thrilling issue that kicks in on page two and carries through to the end. Again…<phew>

My initial reaction upon finishing the issue was what they heck just happened? But now that I have slept on the issue (no, denizens, I do not literally sleep on my comics…not all of them, at least), and flipped back through it, I really want to go read it again with a clearer mind and brighter light — I’m positive I missed a ton of the intricacies in the story and art on my first read. So, yeah, I didn’t immediately connect with this comic in the same way I did with Remender’s recent creator-owned work (Low, Black Science, and Deadly Class), but upon further reflection and after reading Remender’s note at the end that Tokyo Ghost will see many drastic tonal shifts in the story, I am definitely amped to see more more more.

If you’ve been reading Donist World for a length of time, then you know I am a fan of Murphy’s art, but jumping Jehoshaphat this book looks freakin’ incredible. As I mentioned above, there is a lot going on in both the story and art, and I have to recommend reading the comic through quickly, scratching your head, going for a quick run or walk, and then reading again and taking a good half hour or so to appreciate every dang intricacy of every dang panel. Not only is every character beautifully designed and depicted, but there are tons of gags, Easter eggs, and generally cool things going on in the background of every page (like a Black Science pinball machine, no less). Debbie Decay is gorgeous, Davey Trauma is killer with all of his groovy high and low-tech gear (Atari and NES controllers on his arm…classic! Get it?), cars look phenomenal, and Led Dent is imposing, but most importantly the storytelling will keep you madly whipping through the issue to keep up with the high-octane action. Also, Led’s motorcycle, “Zeus’ Dick” is the bee’s knees. This is one beautiful comic, and when you add Hollingsworth’s mood-enhancing colors (also available in pill form) you can feel the despair of this defeated world, only to then have the action heat things up with oranges and yellows to get your heart pumping. (If you want more from Murphy, check the must-own Punk Rock Jesus, Joe the Barbarian, The Wake, and the book I need to pick up and read ASAP The Chrononauts.)

Again, my initial reaction to the first issue of Tokyo Ghost was that I liked it okay, but didn’t love it. The thing is, I keep thinking about the comic, it’s commentary on the invasiveness of tech, the codependency between Debbie and Led, the beautiful art, and I realize just how much I enjoyed reading it; it just needed a little time to marinate, I guess. There’s a richness both within and below the pages that just begs for another reading, which I intend to do later today. I started out liking Tokyo Ghost, but now I love it. I am excited to see where this thrilling series takes me next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

I Could Sure Use a Wet Banana - “Wait What?!?!” you might say, especially after this week’s awesome issue of Sex Criminals. What I mean is this thing that was a knock off of the old Slip’n Slide. Both options are awesome ways to keep cool, but are probably more likely to cause untold numbers of injuries. I remember being a kid in drought-ridden Santa Barbara, and running to jump onto the Wet Banana, but without a lush, green lawn to cushion our descent…well, the price to stay cool was sometimes a painful one; mind those rocks and dirt clods! And then there were the days where we ignored the warning “Do not try to stand on the Wet Banana,” and quickly learned why you do not try to run, jump, and slide while standing. Those metal fasteners at the end were also not much fun to skid into, and then there were those times you slid off the Wet Banana to learn the hard way that even grass can burninate you. Still, watching the temperature rise, I can see the allure of revisiting those fun-filled-and-often-times-painful days. Ah, youth…

(Sung to the tune of The Style Council’s “You’re the Best Thing”)

I am quite content with the new comics I read
They’re a win, boy howdy, they are so dang fine
The Fade Out is hot, I sure like it a lot
This crime comic makes me wanna shout and sing

Tokyo Ghost’s a win, tech addiction sin
Led and Debbie Decay are oh-so very hot
Sex Criminals I must say thrills me all the way
It brings warmth and a smile, brightens up my day, it makes me shout hooray

Prez is one of the best books that’s ever happened to me or my world
Prez def deserves a long look, it’s great fun, I must say


Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 9/11/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Deadly Class, Bitch Planet

Welcome back, Donist World denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / chillwave coordinator Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). Grrrrrrrrrrr…last week my executive team and I thanked mighty Apollo for drawing his fiery carriage and glorious steeds away from par baked Santa Barbara. We were able to do a few walk-’n’-talk meetings concerning our status as a Fortune 320,000 company, and generally focus on our cross geo synergies and corporate culture. Alas, Apollo must have lost his wallet somewhere around here and has returned to find it. In other words, it’s been stupid-hot, and stepping out to mist ourselves from the water hose is only a temporary reprieve from the heat madness. Dang, not only has it been so hot that I can’t sleep, we only had two measly comics in the Donist World pull this week. But this is fine…those two books are all kinds of awesomeness. So, while I help Apollo find his dang wallet so he leaves and makes things more tolerable, please fire up some chillwave music (new Neon Indian album in October!), pour yourself some nice cool sweet tea, get yourself a taco basket, and settle in for this week’s post. Thank you for reading.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Deadly Class #16
Deadly Class #16 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, colored by Jordan Boyd, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Marcus really is his own worst enemy. At least now he’s realizing it…sort of. Unfortunately, it might be too late. Old friends hate him, old enemies want to ruin him, he’s pissing off the school snitch, and he’s about to screw things up even worse. Oh, to be a teenager again.

I’ve been a fan of Deadly Class since the first issue, but recently some of the book’s intensity has waned. Now, with this conclusion to the third chapter, the intensity ramps up to leave us in for a painful wait until the next issue come December. Although Marcus is beginning to realize that he is the main component in the machine of his many bad situations — a friend flat out tells him this — he still can’t help but continue to dig himself in deeper. Not only that, but Marcus still has the repercussions of his past deeds to account for. Thankfully, he is off the drugs in this issue, and is thinking more clearly, but the book would not be the same were Marcus to have everything handed to him on a silver platter. He devises a plan to deal with his current blackmail problem, but for all of the character’s self-destructiveness, the universe also has no intention of making his life any easier. The timing of Headmaster Lin’s call for the “End of Year Orientation” looks to create even more hardships for Marcus, but given the level of horrid luck in this issue, chapter four might just offer the kid a way to set things right.

One thing is for sure…Craig’s art has never looked better than with this issue. I know, I know, I practically say that with every new release, but, as always, it is true. Everything from Craig’s high panel counts, dramatic use of shadows, brilliant character acting, and killer storytelling sequences just gets better and better. The scenes leading up to Marcus’s encounter with Viktor had my heart rate steadily increasing until the nerve-wracking confrontation in the showers, where the intensity rockets through the roof. All the while, Boyd’s mostly-monochromatic coloring schemes intensify the mood, ensuring your eyes stay glued to the page. The jump from the predominant cool green panels to the flash of orange with each gunshot are a shock to eyes, but the effect is so exciting, so thrilling you cannot help but become immersed in the insanity of the moment. Then you arrive at the ghoulish oranges of the “Orientation”…I can’t wait to see what happens next.

So, yes, things had slowed down for a little bit, but Deadly Class has again picked up steam, and the next chapter looks to be particularly insane. If you want to read a not-for-the-young-’uns comic about a high school for assassins that is set in the ’80s with a massively flawed protagonist — who still gets you to root for him despite his actions — then look no further than this awesome comic. You can easily catch up with the first two trades, with the third arriving mid-October. Rick Remender is on a roll with his trio of creator-owned comics (Low and Black Science being the other two), and Tokyo Ghost, releasing next week, looks to be a worthy addition to his already tremendous stable. Deadly Class is a trip every comic lover should be riding. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Bitch Planet #5
Bitch Planet #5 - Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro, Colored by Cris Peter, lettered by Clayton Cowles, design by Rian Hughes, backmatter design by Laurenn McCubbin, edited by Lauren Sankovitch, published by Image Comics. The woman of the A.C.O. — aka “Bitch Planet” — are set to have their first Megaton practice scrimmage. Their opponents? The sadistic guards of the A.C.O. What ever could go wrong?

It has been a while since we last read an issue of the phenomenal Bitch Planet, and although I was worried about following the story after the long delays, by page two I was totally back in the thick of things, and cheering for my favorite “Non-Compliants.” As I say all too often, I generally do not care about sports. Yet here we have an ultra-violent game that involves moving a round ball from one end of the field to the other and beating people up. It’s basically football and rugby with a supersized helping of beatings added to the mix. As dumb as it all sounds, DeConnick and De Landro have made us love the characters so much, that the whole thing is actually quite fascinating. I want to see Kam crunch a guard. I want to see Penny Rolle take on a squad of goons and plow them into the dirt. I want to know each of the MANY new characters introduced with little more than a reference file pic and brief description of their crime(s), while getting to see them in action on the field. That’s all I need to be pulled firmly into the womens’ corner and cheering for The A.C.O Naughty N.C.S. The end of this story arc also brings a shocking turn that I was not expecting so early in the comic, and although I feel delaying said event for another arc or two could have made a deeper impact, it was a powerful moment nonetheless…how’s that for vague?

De Landro’s art is just as beautiful as in previous issues, and with much of the issue following the action of the game, it is clear to see the great storytelling involved. Of equal importance is the character acting; both on and off the field. Much of the emotions involved occur on the field, but I especially liked the pages where the Father and Makoto discuss the coming Megaton game. Every page that features Makoto, after the first, is comprised of an eight-panel grid layout, and each takes us into this character’s life until a startling discovery (I ain’t spoiling). The strict adherence to this structure shows the sturdy foundation of Makato’s life, which I supect will come tumbling down along with the eight-panel grid layouts; I can’t wait to see it happen. Peter’s colors are still predominantly flat when used on living people, with the backgrounds and computer generated images showcasing effects like gradients / textures, all while providing one heck of a gorgeous look.

Yeah, the wait for this issue of Bitch Planet was a long one, but after seeing it in my pull, settling in with a Saint Archer IPA, and giving it a read, the wait was soooooooo worth it. The characters are great, their situation infuriating to the point of staying in my mind for days later, and the callbacks to all the culty films I love make Bitch Planet a dang fine and — dare I say — fun read. If you missed out on the floppies for this awesome new series, then I think you might be hosed on finding all five issues, as the Bitch Planet “Non-Complient” devotees probably snatch up all the copies they find; from what I can tell, they’re a fairly obsessive bunch…NO, denizens, you cannot have my issues! But never fear. You can pick up the first trade come mid-October and see what all the hubbub and excitement is all about. I strongly encourage you to give Bitch Planet a read, you’ll be glad you did. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

A Slow Comic Book Week - Yes, both of the new comics I read this week are great, fantastic actually, but I still wish I had another comic or two waiting for me at the ol’ LCS. Well, I suppose the only proper way to deal with a bad case of lack-of-new-comicsitis is to finally bust open my four lovely Chew: Omnivore Editions; I’ve been dying to reread Chew for some time now. If life gives you limes, denizens, get some tequila and make margaritas.

So Hot. So Very…Very…Hot - Grumble, grumble, grumble. Like my Boston terrier executive team, I love sunny days. However, these sunny days need to be on my terms. If the temperature is going to 95˚+, then I dang well better be under an umbrella, lounging by the pool, eating lime popsicles, sipping either mojitos or a steady supply of Sierra Nevada PIVO Pilsners or Firestone Easy Jacks, all while being served cucumber and tomato slices drenched in lime juice and dusted with chili powder and salt. Is that so unreasonable? The problem: I currently have none of these things. The closest thing to a swimming pool is the garden hose, and the lime popsicles are long gone, as are the PIVOs and cucumbers. I could go take a quick dip in the ocean at the nearby beach, but seeing as how the beach was littered with seaweed and dead fish last time, it’s not the most pleasant of places right now. Even worse, the heat’s been so bad, I haven’t really slept for a week. Oh well, it’s supposed to start cooling off, and the “Mist” setting on the garden hose is calling Tulip and me…

And on that heated note…

(Sung to the tune of The Style Council’s “Have You Ever Had It Blue”)

Have you ever sought great books that’d please you through and through
A stop at your LCS’s where you’ll find somethin’ new
Bitch Planet’s rocking, thrilling, gripping, chilling NC crew
Deadly Class is a great one to shake your nerves it’s true
Have you read such awesome books, they’re the best I’m tellin’ you