Saturday, November 9, 2019

Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 11/08/2019

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/too much happenin’ all the time Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Cutting the intro short as we missed last week’s post because of a wedding party up north we had to attend. But my puppy executive team and I are back with monster-sized post! Anyhow, take a breath, let your shoulders relax, grab a refreshing water (or a beer or two) and some kale chips (or delicious tortilla chips and salsa), sit back, and afterward check out some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Friday Slice of Heaven

Silver Surfer Black #5

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Tradd Moore, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
No doubt, this is the stuff that transcendent comics are made of. From the start, Silver Surfer Black has been a trip and a half from beginning to end in both story and oh-so-gorgeous art. Cates gives us a time-traveling jaunt that sends the Surfer, who is quickly being consumed by poisonous darkness, billions of years into the past where he enlists a young Ego the Living Planet in a desperate battle against Knull, god of the symbiotes. Norrin Radd is even forced to decide whether or not to end the life of an incubating Galactus before he transitions into the devourer of worlds. Without art, this story is an experimental success the likes of which I hope to see much more of from the House of Ideas, but with art…oh…my…stars…and…garters. Moore’s trippadelic imagery—beautifully pushed to heavenly realms by Stewart’s vibrant, flat colors—is what will catch your eye and keep you transfixed for every single stunning page of this tangentially Mike Hinge-esque work. The five-issue miniseries is over, which is 95-issues short of what I wish we could have, but, hey, I will take what I can get. I am definitely excited to get ahold of the Treasury Edition that drops late December, but even this enlarged form factor is not going to be enough for this magnificent, must-own work of art, but I guess a book the size of a door would be a bit unwieldy.

Fantastic Four Grand Design #1

(Everythinged by Tom Scioli, published by Marvel Comics)
I’m gonna go ahead and say that I’m already bummed that we’re only going get two of this. At least Ed Piskor’s recent X-Men Grand Design series saw six lovely oversized issues, but the Fantastic Four definitely has a history that is as rich as that of everyone’s favorite mutants. But whatchagonnado. Here, Scioli utilizes a 25-panel grid layout to relay much of the beginnings of not only Marvel’s first family but also Galactus, the Inhumans, Namor, and others from the very early years. Even with smaller-than-you’re-used-to-seeing panels, Scioli delivers a beautiful look that is equal parts a love letter to Kirby and a style that is his own. As for how Scioli intends to wrap up the remaining 40 years of FF history in one 48-page comic is beyond me, but I will 100% be there to see how it goes. My only gripe for this book is that the cool marbled paper was a bit too dark in places, making the art and lettering a little difficult to read. Regardless of my printing quibble, this wonderful experimental comic (Yay, Marvel! Keep it up!) comes…

Undiscovered Country #1

(Written by Scott Snyder and Charles Soule, illustrated by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Daniele Orlandini, colored by Matt Wilson, lettered by Crank!, published by Image Comics)
A few years ago, Image seemed to put out a monumental new series every other week, but for the last year or so, fewer new titles have grabbed my attention. Undiscovered Country, however, spoke to me. In this world, we step in three decades after the United States literally walled itself off from everyone and ceased all communications. The rest of the world continued on, but all seems lost when a recent deadly plague threatens to kill them all, until the long-dormant US reaches out to offer a cure as well as permission for a select group to come inside its mysterious borders. What could possibly go wrong? The story immediately sucked me in and the storytelling of the art kept me whipping through the pages. Most importantly, this outstanding first issue did its job perfectly: it left me desperate for more more more. Undiscovered Country is the dystopic comic for those who want to torture themselves and who are nervous about the direction our Dumbass-In-Chief and his lackeys seemingly want to drive us toward.

Venom #19

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Iban Coello, colored by Rain Beredo, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
The “Absolute Carnage” event continues as we get a few pages of flashback—for those not buying Absolute Carnage— and some fight stuff that is cool as some heroes faceoff against the symbiote-infected Maker, but the main draw of this issue is the mystery of who and what Dylan actually is. We also finally get to see a bit more of Sleeper, which is exciting. I’m still enjoying the event playing out over these two titles, but I will say that I am eager to see Knull return to cause some havoc.

Conan the Barbarian #10

(Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Mahmud Asrar, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham, published by Marvel Comics)
We have been teased with the b-story of Conan’s death to appease a death god since the first issue and now we finally begin to see it all play out as the “B” becomes the “A.” The Crimson Witch and her diabolical brood are fairly horrific, especially as Conan battles the evil woman with her head barely affixed to her body by grotesque sinew. Yup, it’s pretty disgusting and I love every panel of it. Aaron and Asrar continue to make Conan the Barbarian a compelling read as heck read.

Joker: Killer Smile

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered by Steve Wands, published by DC Comics)
This is my first DC Black Label comic and I’m not going to ding it for being $5.99 and only 32 pages; some regular issues are still $2.99 (I think) and those have 20 pages each, so…math. Yes, it’s a bigger form factor so you get to see some bigger art and the coverstock is thicker, but the story is going to have to be good to pull me in. Thankfully, it is. I trust the Lemire/Sorrentino team (Green Arrow and Gideon Falls) to deliver and they definitely do so on this first issue in a three-issue miniseries about a psychiatrist who thinks he can cure the Joker. Because of these two creators and the slow-burn, unease they bring to this crime/horror psychological thriller I will see it through to the end and can say it comes…

Green Lantern: Blackstars #1

(Written by Grant Morrison, illustrated by Xermanico, colored by Steve Orliff, lettered by Steve Wands, published by DC Comics)
Much like The Green Lantern, which I adore primarily because of Liam Sharp’s glorious art, Morrison’s story leaves me scratching my head often as events jump around and omit possibly cool things like seeing the Blackstars bring Mongul to his knees. Oh well, seeing Paralax and the unnervingly sexy Belzebeth take down a tongue-headed monster will bring me back for the next issue. If you are a fan of The Green Lantern, then you need to jump in on this three-issue miniseries as it is a bridge between the “first season” and “second season” of that weird and visually stunning Green Lantern title.

Death or Glory #6

(Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Bengal, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Briah Skelly, published by Image Comics)
I think it’s been just over a year since we last saw an issue of Death or Glory but the creators waste little time in bringing us back up to speed as Glory Owen—whose family and friends live “off the grid”—seeks to get her uninsured father into Mexico so he can receive a desperately needed liver transplant. Unfortunately, the organ smugglers who previously “owned” said liver want revenge and send a germaphobe assassin, a luchador death dealer, and two Dutch murder twins after them. Remender’s story is thrilling and Bengal’s art is equally beautiful whether depicting the characters, the vehicles, or the intricate backgrounds. A very welcome return indeed.

Grendel: Devil’s Odyssey #2

(Everythinged by Matt Wagner, except colored by Brennan Wagner, lettered by Dave Lanphear, published by Dark Horse Comics)
Oh. Dang. I never covered the first issue of this exciting eight-issue series from Donist World Darling Matt Wagner, but let’s briefly correct that by saying if you are a Wagner fan and have previously steeped yourself in the darkest reaches of his Grendelverse, then this title is a no-brainer. Grendel Prime, a deadly cyborg, has headed off into space in an attempt to find a new planet for humanity’s dwindling populace to reestablish itself. Unfortunately, Grendel Prime is the equivalent of using a sledgehammer to hang a picture frame when it comes to building relations with a planet’s current inhabitants. Seeing Wagner bring his creation back into the spotlight with his beautiful linework and designs is a joy. Although this series reads well enough on its own, you’ll be happier if you catch up with Grendel through the four Omnibus editions.

The Immortal Hulk #26

(Written by Al Ewing, illustrated by Joe Bennett; inked by Ruy Jose, colored by Paul Mounts, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics)
Hot DANG! That’s what I’m talking about! This dang series, Denizens. I don’t know what’s going on after the cosmic weirdness of the previous issue, but here we have an incredible issue that is all talking and not a single punch is thrown. Heck, Ewing and Bennett made this an amazing issue with the first-page splash where Bruce Banner states to the world what almost happened to him and who was responsible and then states problems brought about by our government and how the Hulk means to set things right, in other words, Hulk Smash the corporations! The Immortal Hulk just keeps getting better and better.

Deadly Class #41

(Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, colored by Justin Boyd, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Briah Skelly, production by Erika Schnatz, published by Image Comics)
I am definitely still loving this series. This month, Saya is brought back to the school and is labeled a “Rat” which looks to make everyone’s life more difficult. I’m still pissed that the television show was not given the chance it so richly deserved, but we thankfully have this excellent series everyone should be reading. If you are interested in a story about the students who attend a high school for assassins then you should definitely check out the eight trades or the two oversized hardcovers.

<Phew!> That’s it for this whopper of an installment. Donist needs food. Badly. See you next time. Thank you for reading.


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 9/25/2019

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/she who watches the Watchmen (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Cutting it very short as I am late and I have the new episode of Watchmen to watch. Anyhow, take a breath, let your shoulders relax, grab a refreshing water (or a beer or two) and some kale chips (or delicious tortilla chips and salsa), sit back, and afterward check out some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Friday Slice of Heaven

Ascender #6

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, edited by Will Dennis, published by Image Comics)
Andy yet lives despite being grievously wounded, but he might wish he had died when faced with what Mother has in store for him. Meanwhile, as Bandit’s batteries run dry, Telsa and her ship’s crew search for a way to get Mila off-world and away from the diabolical Mother; too bad the ocean holds terrors of its own. What more can I say about Descender and Ascender? They are each gorgeously watercolored sci-fi/fantasy adventure comics with characters you can’t help but fall in love with. Lemire and Nguyen put Andy, Mila, and Telsa through some terribly trying times, but it is that love of these characters and the concern for their wellbeing that make each issue so impossible to put down. We are on the second arc of Ascender (the first trade is already available) and if it is to mirror the format of Descender with a run of six trades, then we can rest assured that some great yet difficult journies await us over the next two or three years. I cannot wait to see how it all plays out in this emotionally-charged series that has been a Donist World darling since it first began back in 2015. Just be sure to start with Descender before diving in on this followup epic.

The Immortal Hulk #25

(Written by Al Ewing, illustrated by Germán Garciá and Joe Bennett, inked by Ruy Jose, colored by Paul Mounts, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics)
Okay, if you’ve been reading the best horror comic Marvel has published in a good, long while, then this issue might have thrown you for a bit of a loop. It’s a double-sized issue that costs a whopping $5.99, Bennett only illustrates two pages, and the majority of the issue follows a strange alien being as it explorers a universe of the distant future in a search for some form of life that has not been eradicated by The Breaker of Worlds. Take a guess who that is. The Hulk goes full-on cosmic in an issue that is more akin to something I would have read in an issue of Heavy Metal Magazine back in the ’70s. This is a huge compliment, but I can understand if those who have been reading this I-can’t-believe-Marvel-is-letting-these-creators-do-this comic are left confused by the (mostly) missing body horror and monster stomping of the previous 24 issues. I also have no clue as to where the heck we might be heading, but I can wholeheartedly say I will be along for the entirety of the ride. There’s a reason why The Immortal Hulk is on most reviewers’ “best of” lists. You need to be reading this series, Denizens, and it doesn’t matter if you are following along with the individual issues, the “Director’s Cut” expanded reprints, the available four trades (soon to be five), or the recently-released heavenly hardcover. That said, hey, Marvel, stay weird, babe, we absolutely love ya for it.


(Streaming on HBO Now/Go)
Now, here is something I don’t do often: go into a small amount of detail about something not in the printed format. But, I was so completely blown away by HBO’s new Watchmen series that I felt it necessary to mention it here. I should also mention that I bought the entirety of the 12-issue comic book maxiseries when it first debuted back in ’86 and even though parts of it were a bit beyond me at the time, I knew I was reading something monumental from creator Alan Moore, who had already changed the way I read comics with his work on Swamp Thing, Miracleman, and later V for Vendetta. Between Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (from a little earlier in 1986) and Watchmen, those two series completely altered the shape of an industry by setting a tone and look that—for better or worse—still resonates strongly today. Since then, I greatly regret selling those issues, but I have a well-worn trade, I have the motion comic on DVD (which I have not yet watched), and I have seen in the theater and bought the Blu-ray of the Zack Synder Watchmen (which I actually like…not at all sorry, haters). I will admit that I have not read the supposed mixed bag that is the Before Watchmen books from a while back, not because of any “loyalty” to the source material, but because of time; I’ll get around to those someday. So, yes, I was there from the beginning and I have been a fan ever since.
With HBO’s Watchmen, I loved every moment of this new show that takes place over 30 years after the events of the original series.
In the span of an hour, I was educated about the events of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (and horrified by what I saw) during the opening sequence, and I was put immediately thereafter on pins and needles when the masked officer pulled over the 7th Cavalry piece of trash. From there, meeting the new characters, including the handful of masked heroes who would be looking to take on the racists terrorists that are the 7th Cavalry, I was transfixed. I watched the episode twice within a two-day span and I have been thinking about it ever since. I have no idea of what to make about the rain of squids or the weird servants of Jeremy Irons, who might be Ozymandias in hiding. I am also thoroughly baffled by the ending scene and the old man in the wheelchair, but I imagine the answers will come as the weeks go by. I will be eagerly awaiting each and every new episode of this striking new series, but the thing I am curious about is what people who have never read the comic and possibly have never even seen the movie (which has a HUGE departure from the comic) think of this debut episode. I am deeply familiar with the source material, but can those who have not read what is one of the most important comic series of all time be able to follow along? Will they be pulled in and possibly seek out the original comic to better understand what led to this world where technology has not advanced as much as in our own and where a squid storm is a common occurrence? Time will tell for them, but I am in 100%. Oh, goody, look at the time. Only an hour and a half until the second episode is available to watch. I can’t wait!

* Side note: I have seen the efforts of those to rating bomb this phenomenal series, which is both sad and laughable (yes, I know, I say “phenomenal” based off of one episode). If any of these poor rating “reviews” had issues with problematic pacing, cinematography, characterization, poor acting, or the like, then I could possibly understand where they are coming from. But what I am seeing are “reviews” using the same tired refrains saying the series is made for “social justice warriors” or that the creators had to “go and ruin things by making the show political.” Complete and utter bullshit. Did these brainiacs actually read Watchmen? It was one of the most political comic books of the time. The world was on the brink of nuclear war, the heroes were anything but heroes, having given up or turned into monsters themselves. Rorschach was a racist, misogynist, homophobe with a severe mental illness who only read ultra-rightwing propaganda. The thing was that his particular paranoia just happened to lead him to learn of a darker plan to stall the death of the world at a tremendous cost as designed by an ultra-leftwing capitalist. The world of the Watchmen was a scary, fucked up place in the ’80s. Now, in the television series, the threat of nuclear war might be a thing of the past, but the threat of domestic terrorism is very real and both sides—the evil and the good…or at least the not as evil—wear masks; the world is still a scary, fucked up place. Being “political” is about economic policy, government spending, and world diplomacy, but being anti-racist is not political, it is about being a human being.

See you next time, enjoy this week’s Watchmen.


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 10/19/2019

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/jet lag hater Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Yup. I missed a post last week. Why? Well, my two bosses and I (from the job that actually pays me) flew out to Orlando, Florida for a conference and I was gone for almost a week. The conference was tremendous (saw Jerry Seinfeld do a comedy routine, Lin-Manuel Miranda was interviewed by Soledad O'Brien, we went to Islands of Adventure and rode Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, went to an afterparty at Universal Studios Orlando with free food and drinks, and met tons of nice people. But, there was another purpose: my puppy executive team stowed away so we could set up a Donist World mini-conference of our own on the third floor of the north side of Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center. There Tulip, Reverse Obie, and I held sessions to discuss our plans to take Donist World from a Fortune 320,000 company to a Fortune 310,000 company and to tell of how comic books will save our future from the perils of the orange imbecile. Unfortunately, our location by the closed restroom didn’t do us any service as far as foot traffic goes. Oh well, at least we got some gourmet chocolate mint popcorn, coffee, and a bunch of various types of sliders. Despite that, the entire trip was a complete success. So, take a breath, let your shoulders relax, readjust to your time zone, grab a refreshing beer and some tacos, hit the hot tub, sit back, and afterward check out some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Friday Slice of Heaven

Powers of X #6

(Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by R.B. Silva and Pepe Larraz, colored by Marte Gracia and David Curiel, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, designed by Tom Muller, published by Marvel Comics)
This issue continues and concludes the thrilling mystery and mindbending exploration of Moira MacTaggart’s attempts to solidify a future where mutants avoid being eradicated by humanity. We learn of the missing chapter that is her sixth life as well as the potentially last attempt at ensuring mutantdom’s survival as orchestrated by Moira, Magneto, and Charles Xavier and that the odds they are fighting against are tremendous. And with that, the event comic that succeeded in making me excited to be reading an event comic comes to a close. Was it all worth it, though? Hells yes, it was worth it. The only question remaining as to my thoughts on the hardcover collection arriving in mid-December is not one of whether or not I will be double-dipping and buying the book but rather do I want the regular cover version or the direct market version? This maxiseries is the real deal and one that all comics/X-Men fans need to read.

X-Men #1

(Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Leinel Francis Yu, inked by Gerry Alanguilan, colored by Sunny Gho, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, designed by Tom Muller, published by Marvel Comics)
With the end of HoX/PoX, the X-Men launch into their own new comic series, one which I intend to be reading for as long as Hickman remains on the title. In this issue: Cyclops proves to finally be the leader he was always meant to be, Storm overextends herself for the sake of Xavier and Magneto’s dream, and Magneto proves exactly why he is a force to be feared and reckoned with. But it’s not all intense fighting and the reassertion to certain humans that mutants are gods who walk the earth, Hickman and Yu show us some of the quieter moments in the Summer House—which has a very unique location—and succeed in delivering some moments that not only made me smile but laugh out loud at some of the funnier situations. The shift from R.B. Silva and Pepe Larraz’s art to that of Yu’s is a noticeable one but within a few pages, I was right back into the flow of things and becoming more of a Cyclops fan with every page. You can definitely jump into X-Men without having read HoX/PoX, but that series is so rich with content and themes that are sure to unwind in this series, as well as the many others that are going to follow, that you are doing yourself a disservice by not going back and reading that fantastic event before things really get rolling in this new series. All of that said, I am more excited to be reading a comic about Marvel’s mutants than I have been in almost two decades.

Absolute Carnage #4

(Written by Donny Cates; illustrated by Ryan Stegman; inked by JP Mayer, Jay Leisten, and Ryan Stegman; colored by Frank Martin, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
Venom Hulk? Miles Morales a thrall of Carnage? Eddie Brock abandoned by his Symbiote? Brock versus all the symbiotes with only a couple of superhero weapons at his disposal? I know, it’s all rather insane, but it’s this insanity that keeps the heart racing with the ever-increasing stakes as Carnage continues to accomplish his diabolical goals. The action and story are great for the second Marvel event that I am currently enjoying, and this series—as well as Venom—are well worth your time, but I will say that this five-issue miniseries might have benefited by having another one or two issues to allow the story to breath more as it all seems a bit rushed. Regardless, Absolute Carnage is a fun series and one that all Venom/Spider-Verse fans should give a shot.

Guardians of the Galaxy #10

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Cory Smith, inked by Victor Olazaba, colored by David Curial, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics)
Alright, I know what I’ve been saying over the past couple of issues. That I had a certain degree of…apprehension…toward Cates’s decision to bring the child version of Magus, Adam Warlock’s darker incarnation, into the Guardians of the Galaxy fold. I thought this kid would be used to introduce a degree of humor and a lack of seriousness to the book and that doing so would be a HUGE turnoff to me. But this is Cates. I should have known better. I actually love this version of the Magus. He is not cute. He is not comedic relief. He actually annihilated an entire sect of anti-Universal Church of Truth members known as The Order of Healing Truth. Magus had good reason to do what he did, The Order had tried to kill him after all, but it is interesting to see this kid skirt the lines between minding his own business and falling into the malevolence of one of his possible future selves. Oh, yeah, the Drax stuff is weird, but kind of cool at the same time. There was no need to worry about the path this story is going to take, we’re in good hands.

Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice #4

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Michael Walsh, lettered by Nate Piekos, published by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics)
We learn the identity of the mysterious stranger who caused the Black Hammer group and certain members of the Justice League to switch places as John Stewart, the Flash, and Colonel Weird confront the person behind their woes. In order to set things right, a simple, yet insurmountable task must be achieved. The odds don’t look good. I am still loving the series that I never thought I would ever see, but Black Hammer is one of the best comics of the past decade, and this is one you surely don’t want to miss.

Gideon Falls #17

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics)
I continue to not fully understand what the hell is going on in this psychological horror comic and I continue to absolutely love every page of it. Sorrentino’s art has much lighter linework in this issue than I am accustomed to seeing in his illustrations but the technique is a brilliant way to shift the tone of various scenes and serve as a cue to let you know that things will most likely be getting weird. Gideon Falls will someday soon become a television series and you should definitely get caught up with the soon to be three available trades worth of mindbending and awesome horror.

East of West #43

(Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Dragotta, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics)
Here is another Image title wherein I don’t really know what is going on. Unlike Gideon Falls, this is not by design, but rather because the last issue of East of West came out back in April. I don’t remember how things left off. Anyhow, I still really enjoy this complex, post-apocalyptic story that will soon be concluding. Once all is said and done, I will definitely have to do a reread from the beginning and on through to the end to pick up on everything I missed the first time through. You can experience this incredible series through the trades or the hardcovers and see how it all plays out.

That’s it for this installment, Denizens, and I hope to see you here next time. Pleasant readings!


Sunday, October 6, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 10/4/2019

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/pumpkin-spice-is-nice Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday dear Donist. Happy birthday to me. Care to take a guess as to whose birthday it is? Yup, you guessed it, it’s mine. Once again, I have turned 29 years old. I think I’ve had like five, or ten, or twenty 29 year old birthdays, but who’s counting. Last night, Amy the intern (my wife), Tulip, and Reverse Obie and I celebrated with some fancy-pants sushi and a barrel-aged pumpkin ale from Bottle Logic which was kind of mind-blowing. All in all, it was a pretty dang good day…until I received a fraud alert that someone was trying to order $53 worth of food with my credit card number from a place called The Shake Shack in New York. <sigh> F_ those D_bags. Anyhow, I won’t let that stop me from living it up. So, take a breath, let your shoulders relax, grab a refreshing beer (or 15+ beer samples) and some tacos, sit back, and afterward check out some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Friday Slice of Heaven

House of X #6

(Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Pepe Lara’s, colored by Marte Garcia, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, designs by Tom Muller, published by Marvel Comics)
Dang, it feels like this event only just began and after reading this penultimate issue (the final issue of House of X with this week’s final issue of Powers of X being the conclusion of both that series and the event) I can already say I’m going to miss it. Hickman’s story has not only been compelling enough to make me buy a weekly comic but one that brought me back into the X-Men fold while making me want to continue along the journey for at least one or two of the many titles to come in the aftermath of whatever happens this Wednesday. And I CANNOT WAIT to be there for it all. Here, Xavier, with Magneto and Moira at his side, tells the world’s humans of the wondrous offerings he has for them…and the price humanity must pay to attain them. It’s not a great price, but it is a price none-the-less. We also see the first meeting of the Quiet Council of Krakoa, with all but one member—the mysterious “Red King”—in attendance, as they draw up their first laws and pass down their first judgment for a grievous crime. Then, the mutants celebrate. Not a single punch is thrown, not one mutant power is fired against another mutant or human. It is almost all talking and revelry and because of Hickman’s masterful pacing and characterizations, senseless brawling would have greatly diminished the impact of this issue. During Xavier’s address to the world, I could not help but mutter aloud “Oh my god, what?!” as I could not believe what was actually going down and that Xavier was the one actually leading the charge. I can’t remember the last time a Marvel comic has left me pondering the transpirings within its pages and, man, do I have questions: Who is the Red King? Why has Moira been so utterly quiet for the past few issues after being such a major component of the first quarter of the event? What happened in Moira’s 6th timeline? Why do we continue to not see Xavier’s face? Has Doug Ramsey somehow infected Krakoa with technology? What about Krakoa’s sibling and the original Four Horsemen? I’m sure I will have other questions come to mind and ideas as to what has happened and what is going to happen as I go about the days leading up to new comic Wednesday, and that is where the true power of this series lies; it remains with you long after setting the book down. I can already imagine December’s hardcover collection sitting upon my favorite shelf.

The Immortal Hulk #24

(Written by Al Ewing; illustrated by Joe Bennett; inked by Ruy Jose, Belardino Brabo, Marc Deering, and Roberto Poggi; colored by Paul Mounts, published by Marvel Comics)
The Immortal Hulk is still my favorite current Marvel series. If you had told me I would be saying that a few years ago, I would have laughed in your face. “Ha ha ha, look at me, I’m laughing in your face!” In fact, a few years ago, I wasn’t buying any Marvel comics. None. Now, I’m grooving with The Hulk, The X-Men, Venom, The Guardians of the Galaxy, The Silver Surfer and I am loving them all. The Immortal Hulk is everything and more that Ewing promised before the first issue debuted: a supernatural, horror-tinged comic about a former “superhero.” This title is unnerving from one moment to the next as it embraces legitimate scares and even body horror as The Hulk combats General Fortean who has been fused into the body of The Abomination to form an acid-spewing, hands-for-a-face…well, Abomination. The fight is as brutal as it is disgusting as The Hulk tears away his melting flesh and flings the caustic bits at the hapless enemy soldiers. That said, this isn’t usually the type of thing I like or enjoy seeing despite my love of good horror, but Ewing perfectly fits these gross-out moments into various scenes and does not linger or go overboard on them. Something shocking happens. You gasp. The story moves on before you have time to dwell. And nothing gives these sequences more intensity than Bennett’s oh-so-gorgeous art. Not even four inkers—yes, I noticed variations in the slightly different look of the pages—can detract from the beauty (even during the more grotesque imagery) of his storytelling, designs, and character acting. One word of warning: When you get to the page with the credits, this is not the ending. You still have a few pages of disturbing visuals and moments leading into the next chapter of this amazing comic that I still cannot believe Marvel allowed to come into being. Thank goodness they did. You can and should catch up with the four available trades or the soon-to-be-released hardcover.

The Green Lantern #12

(Written by Grant Morrison, illustrated by Liam Sharp, colored by Steve Oliff, lettered by Tom Orzechowski, published by DC Comics)
Yup. I’m not completely certain of what the hell is going on in this comic. I’m still really liking it, though. As far as I can tell, this “Qwa-Man” monstrosity is an anti-matter universe version of Hal Jordan and the only reason our Hal Jordan doesn’t explode upon contact with this adversary is because of his power ring’s shield. There’s an anti-matter, good guy Sinestro (who’s still kind of a dick), imposter Green Lanterns, and a giant guy roaming around killing alternate universe heroes…or something. Oh, then Hal Jordan gets rescued by the Blackstars but, unfortunately, Hal is dying because of his injuries and his only hope of survival is to embrace the wish of Controller Mu. Ummm, okay, sure. Sharp’s tremendous art continues to be the main draw of the comic, as the vast amount of detail in both foreground and background is stunning and reminds me of the best times of ’80s-era Heavy Metal Magazine art. Anyhow, I’m still digging whatever is going on in this comic and will be there for the six-issue Blackstars miniseries and for the second season of The Green Lantern whenever it returns. If you are down with some truly senses-shattering art and a mind-bending story to boot, then you should pick up the first of two hardcover collections and see if you can grock what is going on better than I do.

That’s all for this week, Denizens. I have a month of birthday festivities ahead of me and they simply will not wait. See you next time!