Sunday, May 12, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 5/10/2019

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/Queen of the Heavy Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Okay, here’s the deal: the reason why I missed a couple of posts this year, after more than nine years of uninterrupted Donist World heavenliness, is because Amy the Intern (my wife), Tulip, and I are going to be moving at the end of this month. We’re not moving too far, just closer in town, which is something we meant to do 10 years ago but couldn’t at the time. In order to do this, we’ve had to jump through all sorts of hoops to find a realtor, to get our place ready for sale, to secure the sale, to find a new home, to have our offer accepted, and to prepare for the actual move. It’s all been pretty relentless and there were times Tulip, Reverse Obie, and I just could not find the time to let y’all know about what comics have been flipping our wigs. That said, I suspect we’re going to miss a few more posts in the coming weeks, but now that things are looking to be nearing completion, I wanted to keep you all in the loop as to the why. So, take a breath, repeat “every little thing gonna be alright,” grab a tasty beer and some pizza, run out to see Avengers: Endgame, sit back, relax, and afterward read 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




Murder Falcon #8

(Everythinged by Daniel Warren Johnson, colored by Mike Spicer, lettered by Rus Wooton, edits by
Sean Mackiewicz and Arielle Basich (associate editor), published by Image Comics)
This is the moment I have been both ecstatic for and dreading since I found out the phenomenal Murder Falcon was ending with issue #8. This series finale is exciting, kick ass, scary, triumphant, and devastating all at the same time. Even just flipping through the comic today, after reading it a few days ago, I started getting choked up; I don’t even want to get into how rough it was finishing the book for the first time. Few comics, novels, or movies have affected me this way. Very few. But Murder Falcon hit me pretty hard and I freaking love it for that. It’s almost impossible to convey to someone who has not experienced this book that this comic about an ex-heavy metal guitarist who gains a magical guitar, and whose shredding riffs give great power and abilities to a beefy, falcon-headed warrior to fight monsters, will ultimately leave them sobbing upon reaching the end. The premise of the book is admittedly ridiculous, but Warren Johnson instills so much humanity, so much realism, into his characters that you fall in love with them from the moment you meet them. I cheered as each of Jake’s band members found their magical instrument and subsequent good-guy, monster champion. I was thrilled with each musician ally they met along their journey to combat the demonic forces of evil. I felt the loss when one fell all too soon. But, dang if I wasn’t cheering along through every single gorgeously rendered fight sequence. I was initially going to end with something along the lines of “This book is so much better than it has any right to be,” but that is not f_ing true. Murder Falcon is exactly as great—if not more so—than you can expect from one of my favorite comic creators; I cannot wait to see what Warren Johnson comes up with next. You can read the entire collection with the trade coming out in July, and I still hope to see this tremendous series get the oversized hardcover treatment it so rightfully deserves.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Conan the Barbarian #6

(Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Mahmud Asrar, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham, published by Marvel Comics)
When Conan is discovered as the sole survivor of a decimated party of Turanian invaders, the Turan horde reluctantly realizes that this filthy barbarian might be their only hope of surviving against the deadly Stygians who have no intention of submitting. Aaron and Asrar continue some of the best Conan comics since the barbarian’s glory days of the ’70s. This is despite seeing very little of the  Crimson Witch and her awful brood in each issue, but this is fine. Thus far, we are treated to exceptional done-in-one tales of Conan’s exploits across the world on his journey to attaining his own kingdom. That said, we do see snippets of the death god Razazel's minions as they creep ever closer to sacrificing Conan for their own evil ends. Both the focal story of each issue and the slowly unfolding grander tale have me completely sucked in. If you are not reading the great Conan the Barbarian then, by Crom, you best do something to remedy that situation. The first trade of issues 1–6 releases in July.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Deadly Class #38

(Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, colored by Jordan Boyd, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Briah Skelly, production by Erika Schnatz, published by Image Comics)
I have to admit to being a little confused as to how Marcus and Maria managed to make their way back into the Kings Dominion Atelier of the Deadly Arts school after everything that has happened in the series thus far. But that’s cool. I have no problem with just going with the flow and seeing the protagonists of the series once again meet their enemies face to face on their old stomping grounds. Now, all we need is for Saya to return and we’ll have the band back together…or at least the few members of the original band that happen to still be alive. Craig’s art continues to be exciting and unique and his use of high/low panel-counts per page succeeds in driving the intensity of a scene every bit as much as his solid storytelling. Now, I need to finally check out the television show. You can catch up with either the two hardcover Deluxe Editions that collect issues 1–31, or through the seven trades that collect issues 1–36.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


That’s it for this installment, Denizes. As I mentioned in the intro, no telling what the next few weeks hold in store for me, but Tulip, Reverse Obie, and I hope to get back on schedule in the next month or two once the move is all sorted out. Thank you for reading.



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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 5/3/2019

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/Puppy of Dragons Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Alrighty, keeping the intro short this week as I need to go for a run—as prescribed by Tulip and Reverse Obie who will both be sitting on the couch and rewatching last week’s Game of Thrones episode as I wheeze and curse and struggle. So, grab a tasty beer and some pizza, run out to see Avengers: Endgame, sit back, relax, and afterward read 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



The Quantum Age

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Wilfredo Torres, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot, published by Dark Horse Books)
I remember seeing The Quantum Age #1 at my LCS the day it came out but I didn’t understand it was a Lemire book set in the Black Hammer universe. It wasn’t until the miniseries was half over that it dawned on me: I would soon be able to delve deeper into the world of one of the best comic series on the stands; I simply HAD TO HAVE this.
For those of you not familiar with the fantastic Black Hammer series (illustrated primarily by Dean Ormston), it is the story of a group of heroes who narrowly defeat a world-ending threat only to vanish without a trace. Presumed to have given up their lives to save humanity, these heroes are revered, mourned, memorialized…but they are also very much alive. Trapped on a country farm that actually succeeds in killing one of them, some of the heroes struggle to escape the quaint town as others settle comfortably into a world without supervillains and mad gods. Unfortunately, something is not quite right and the arrival of a newcomer looks to unearth a dire secret.
From the main series springs a bunch of miniseries that deepen the mystery of what happened to the heroes while effectively creating a rich and wonderful universe that looks to hopefully support additional ongoing series as well as more miniseries. To date, we have Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil (written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by David Rubín), Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows (written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Ken Fiumara), The Quantum Age, and the recently released Black Hammer ’45 #1 (written by Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes, and illustrated by Matt Kindt and Sharlene Kindt, and looks to run for four or five issues). We also have the Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual #1 (written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by various) and Black Hammer: Cthu-Louise #1 (written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Emi Lenox) one-shots to thrill and excite and grow the franchise, which will someday soon be growing tremendously via the recent movie AND television deal Lemire announced for the property. Needless to say, if you want to experience some of the best superhero comics being published, then cast your eyes past the Big Two to the Black Hammerverse.
All of that build up and you are probably wondering what the heck this The Quantum Age is all about. Well, one hundred years in the future, a new group of superheroes inspired by the great heroes who seemingly sacrificed their lives to defeat the dreaded Anti-God look to make a last-ditch attempt at ending a brutal authoritarian regime. Drawing inspiration from the greatest adventures of the Legion of Super-Heroes while standing apart on its own, The Quantum Age succeeds in expanding the Black Hammerverse and bringing to life some great new heroes as it adds tremendously to the main series. Torres delivers an exciting vision of the future with cool character designs, ever-changing and detailed backgrounds, and solid storytelling to keep you whipping through this six-issue miniseries that flys by all too quickly. The greatest negative—as of this writing—is that this chapter is over with no mentions of a plan on the horizon to return to the heroes of the Quantum League; with any luck, this will one day change.
As a public service, if you are new to the Black Hammerverse, here is a breakdown of the reading order to get the most out of Lemire’s multiple-award-winning creation:


There is also a gorgeous, very-oversized, hardcover called Black Hammer Library Edition Volume 1, that I STRONGLY suggest you pick up. It contains the first two trades and the annual and gives you the best view of Ormston’s glorious art. With any luck, we will one day start seeing Library Editions of the minis and “Age of Doom.”
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Little Bird #2

(Written by Darcy Van Poelgeest, illustrated by Ian Bertram, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Aditya Bidikar, designed by Ben Didier, published by Image Comics)
Okay, this is the book I alluded to a couple of weeks ago when my LCS ran out of copies and I realized I had not added it to my pull. I was completely smitten by the first lovely issue and I was desperate to get this in my grubby, little paws. Thankfully, it arrived this week and I was certain to add the title to my pull for the remainder of this five-issue miniseries. In this installment, we learn more about Little Bird’s mother and the horrors that she had been forced to endure. We also learn that there is much more to Little Bird than we ever suspected and we are briefly introduced to the Resistance, the lone but powerful group attempting to stand against the might of the fascist United Nations of America. Van Poelgeest continues to pull me in deeper on this post-apocalyptic look into what happens when religious extremists take control, and Bertram and Hollingsworth flesh out this disturbing world with a mixture of beauty and horror that is too lovely to look away from despite what you are actually seeing. Supposedly, this series is not going to be collected, but even though we are not even at the halfway point I can tell you I would gladly double dip on an oversized hardcover were one to be made available. You best scramble to find copies of this fantastic comic while you can.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Paper Girls #28

(Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matt Wilson, color flats by Dee Cunniffe, lettered and designed by Jared K. Fletcher, published by Image Comics)
We only have two issues left of the ever-exciting, sci-fi adventure Paper Girls and I honestly have no idea where Vaughan and Chiang could possibly take us next. The girls have been put thoroughly the wringer as they bounce from future to past to future to who-knows-where as they meet alternate versions of themselves, clones (?), monsters, weirdos, and all sorts of bizarre otherworldy creatures, but this time they’ve been separated from one another and left in the most perilous of situations. Vaughan and Chiang follow each girl as their world(s) comes crashing down around them. If you’ve been with the series since the beginning, there’s no way you’ll stop reading now as we come racing toward the ending of this immensely enjoyable series. Never fear, though, if you haven’t been following along you will soon be able to experience the whole shebang via six trades or three oversized hardcovers.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


That’s it, Denizens. We’re off to meditate and make ourselves emotionally ready for the fourth episode of the final season of Game of Thrones. See you next week!

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Sunday, April 28, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 4/26/2019

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/Yes-we-saw-it Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Good morning/afternoon/evening and welcome back. Yup. We saw Avengers: Endgame, after a spicy chicken and bacon melt and a couple of beers at Hollister Brewing Company, of course. We loved it and that's all we're going to say about it. The crazy thing is that I make these Marvel Studios releases somewhat of a personal holiday, my own personal tradition. Here’s how it plays out: I take the Friday of release off of work, watch the previous movie in the morning, take my puppy executive team for a walk, sneak out after distracting them because dogs are not allowed in the movie theater, hit up Hollister Brewing, see the movie, and come home pretending I didn’t see the movie so Tulip and Reverse Obie don’t get their feelings hurt. After that, it’s business as usual until the next movie drops. So, grab a tasty beer and some pizza, run out to see Avengers: Endgame, sit back, relax, and afterward read 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 #1

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, edited by Will Dennis, published by Image Comics)
When I first heard that Descender was ending, I felt disbelief, then a little panicky, then I got angry, then I settled into sadness, and finally acceptance; I hit almost all of the stages. My favorite comic on the shelves was ending and I did not know what I’d do without it. So, I read and continued to be thrilled with each remaining issue as it dropped and was blown away by the ending, but was left with many questions…until I saw the solicit for Ascender. Praise be.
Where Descender was a sprawling, sci-fi space opera centered around robots and technology, Ascender switches gears with a universe now void of tech as magic rises to take its place and new—and some old—characters become the focal point of the story. Ascender is a semi-change in genre to a fantasy world where “ships” are actually living creatures (dragon-like monsters that require feeding) and the sorcerous might of the witch known as “Mother” holds the universes in her sway. Mila, the protagonist of the series, is the daughter of Andy (once a feared Scrapper) and Effie (the half human, half robotic Queen Between) and is very much bored with her father’s isolationist mentality and his refusal to make their lives easier by bending slightly to Mother’s will. But, Mila’s boredom looks to end with the mysterious arrival of one of my favorite characters from Descender.
I fell in love with the first half of this epic adventure with but a few pages of the first issue, a love that carried all the way through to Descender’s end. That same love is repeated with the second half, Ascender, as well. Lemire and Nguyen’s tale promises conflict and tragedy and glory and adventure all rolled in a new, positively gorgeous, watercolored fantasy package that I can’t wait to explore. All of that said, although you can probably dive into this issue without having read what came before, I STRONGLY encourage that you experience the wondrous Descender first, which you can do with the six readily available trades.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Venom #13

(Written by Cullen Bunn, illustrated by Iban Coello, colored by Andres Mossa, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
I know some of you are thinking, wait, where’s Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman? Well, apparently, their working on something else for two or three issues, while this “War of the Realms” event is going on. Granted, I am not reading this event, but knowing that Bunn is involved (I LOVE his The Sixth Gun) told me that everything would be fine. And it is. There are ice giants and dark elves and fire monsters running around, and Eddie Brock is without the aid of his symbiote’s great power to even the odds. Unfortunately, Brock can’t let the forces of evil’s injustices go unpunished. Thankfully, a mystical crystal might even the odds a bit, but the same might be true for someone with a particular score to settle against Brock. Coello is a strong standin for Stegman, and Bunn’s story made what could have otherwise been your typical “Event” filler issue into something that was quite exciting indeed.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Criminal #4

(Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips, colored by Jacob Phillips, published by Image Comics)
This iteration of Criminal looks to tell a complete story in every one or two issues. At times, characters we have met throughout the comic’s thirteen-year span come in and out while introducing new characters along the way. Here we join Ricky Lawless after a five-day crystal bender and planning to hit a check cashing operation when a local tough guy interrupts Ricky’s sleep-deprived hallucinations. Let’s just say…things go bad. If you’ve read any of the seven delightful noir Criminal trades, then you know you’re about to embark on one of the best crime comics of all time.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


The Terrifics #15

(Written by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Stephen Segovia, colored by Photobunker, lettered by Tom Napolitano, published by DC Comics)
Confession time: I had resolved to drop The Terrifics once Jeff Lemire had left the book. Fortunately, I had forgotten to inform my LCS of this decision and this issue appeared in my pull. I decided to be nice and bought it anyway; I’m glad I did. I was unaware that Yang, creator of American Born Chinese, was the writer and that The Terrifics were in good hands. This story is fun and ridiculous in the best of ways with Yang nailing the characters’ voices and personalities while Segovia and Photobunker keep the mood light and fun. So, yeah, my plans to bounce on The Terrifics are to be delayed. You can definitely use this issue as a jumping on point and will be just fine.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


That’s it, Denizens. Now, go on, scoot! Get out there and check out Avengers: Endgame before some fool spoils it for you. See you next time.



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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 4/19/2019

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/Endgame Enjoyer Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Good morning/afternoon/evening and welcome back. You might have noticed that we haven’t done any “Comics Lust” installments for a month or two and have jumped back into “Friday Slice of Heaven”—even though we’ve been posting on Saturdays and Sundays. The reason is that “Comics Lust” actually takes quite a bit of planning and researching and sifting through long boxes, short boxes, stacks, and shelves, and the way things have been going lately time has been something I have had to claw, dig, scratch, and fight for lately. Tulip and Reverse Obie both agreed that returning to taking a look at what we read over the past week would be a more effective use of our time as we try to get life to return to a more normal pace. That said, there is one book in particular that I was dying to read this week and that was shorted at my LCS, but it’s on order and I will get it soon…I hope. Thankfully, there were a few things we enjoyed that you should know about. So, grab a tasty beer and some pizza, sit back, relax, and while you’re at it 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



Unnatural, Volume 2: The Hunt

(Everythinged by Mirka Andolfo, color assists by Gianluca Papi, letters and production by Fabio Amelia, published by Image Comics)
You might remember me mentioning my love of this series on the “Donist World Year-End Roundup - Part 2“ near the end of 2018, and nothing has changed aside for a deepening appreciation of this positively gorgeous comic. The first volume introduced us to a world of anthropomorphic animals where an overreaching, totalitarian government (basically like where our current trash administration wants to take us) has decreed that all cross-species relationships—and also homosexual relationships of any sort (again, trash administration)—are unnatural and a punishable offense. Enter the sexy-as-hell pig woman, Leslie. You see, Leslie has been plagued/enticed by some blush-inducing dreams about a big, bad wolf. She tried to ignore them and enter the dating pool as the law prescribed until a bizarre organization/cult tried to abduct her, acquaintances started dying, and she discovered that the blue blood coursing through her veins allowed her to bring out the wolf inside to the detriment of those seeking to harm her.
Unnatural Volume 2 includes issues 5–8 of the series and succeeds in pulling you deeper into the intrigue of Leslie’s possible possession by a wolf spirit who once loved another pig woman with blue blood many years ago. The socially relevant and compelling mystery of Andolfo’s story is enough to warrant picking up this series, but once you catch a glimpse of her line work, her stunning painted art, and her lovely character designs you will be hard pressed to put the book down. I especially loved a two-page flashback sequence where the creator used no hard lines, only flat colors, to tell the story of the wolf and his love, Bes; it has to be seen to be believed.
Damn, I love this comic.
Unnatural is a refreshing departure from the books I usually read and the third and final volume is one I eagerly anticipate getting my hands on the day it is released…whenever that might be. If you are looking for a lightly erotic, taut, supernatural thriller involving the pig girl or wolf boy of your dreams, then look no further then this fantastic series. Be sure to start with the first volume!
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Guardians of the Galaxy #4

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Geoff Shaw, colored by David Curial, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics)
Donny Cates can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned, which is saying something given that I am incredibly wary anytime someone other than Jim Starlin delves into anything involving Thanos, with the exception of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s take on Guardians of the Galaxy. Now, I have no idea what all happened in the event leading up to this exciting take on Marvel’s current cosmic darlings with a new line up of heroes (Star-Lord, Groot, Beta Ray Bill, Cosmic Ghost Rider, Moondragon, and Phyla-Vell) as they venture out to prevent an even more powerful group of “Guardians” from hunting down and killing Gamora who is in hiding. The art is beautiful and has great action sequences as many of my spacefaring favorites get caught up in the fight to prevent Thanos’s rebirth. Dang, all I need is for Adam Warlock to pop in for a bit and I’ll be a happy camper. So much fun.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Gideon Falls #12

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, colored by Dave Stewart, lettering and design by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics)
The third arc of this psychological horror thriller kicks off with a character we have never(?) met and not a mention of Father Fred or Norton to be found anywhere. I’m totally cool with this. Instead, in 1886, another priest enters the Black Barn to find its inhabitant, The Man Who Smiles in the Dark, feasting upon one of his colleagues. From there, the priest embarks upon a cerebral journey to other times and worlds that offers a partial glimpse into the Black Barn’s purpose. Criminy! To quote Homer Simpson, “Brilliant! I have absolutely no idea what’s going on.” Not completely true, but… Anyways, Sorrentino’s art is beautiful and haunting and Lemire’s story has me desperate to know what’s happening and what’s going to happen next. I’m 100% in. You can catch up with the first two trades before the television show that was announced last year arrives.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


East of West #42

(Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Dragotta, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics)
The long hinted at split between the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is finally told in a flashback as Death faces off against War, Conquest, and Famine in a fight to the death…of sorts, given all of the players are currently walking around with quite differing appearances. We also learn of the Chosen’s involvement in Death’s downfall and why the Horseman has such hatred for…well, almost everyone. Dragotta’s fight scenes are both brutal and beautiful and Martin adds a special muting of the colors to make it clear that what you are seeing is in the past, much like looking at old, fading Polaroid Instamatic photos to a stunning degree. The end is in sight as the final 47th issue approaches and this complex epic continues to escalate to an explosive confrontation between all of the players. You can experience this incredible series through the trades or the hardcovers and see how it all plays out.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


That’s it for this installment, Denizens. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you next time.



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