Saturday, August 17, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 8/16/2019

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/Escape Room Enthusiast Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). As you can probably guess, Tulip, Reverse Obie, and I went on a team-building exercise to a nearby escape room. The theme was a pirate's prison cell and we had to find the clues to take us from room to room until we reached the awaiting rowboat to freedom. We had roughly 45 minutes to find clues and solve puzzles to gain keys and the necessary codes to provide access to the next chamber and we completed the exercise with roughly seven minutes to spare. We had a blast despite having to make Reverse Obie give back all of the fake jewels and fake gold coins he tried to sneak out, but overall the teambuilding exercise was a howling success. So, avast ye landlubbers and pour yourself a nice frothy ale or whatever grog will cure what ails ya, 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 #2

(Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by R.B. Silva, inked by R.B. Silva and Adriano di Benedetto, colored by Marte Gracia, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
I am still loving this Marvel event, both House of X and Powers of X. As I mentioned before, HoX focuses on the present, the what is. PoX, in turn, focuses on the what was, what barely precedes what is, what will be, and the repercussions of it all. With this second issue, in X0 Year One, Charles Xavier and Moira MacTaggert meet with Magneto to discuss a future not just where mutants survive, but one in which they thrive; this meeting changes everything. In X1 Year Ten, Xavier and Magneto meet with Cyclops to discuss one of their greatest, deadliest foes and to set a plan to confront the menace head-on, and in four short pages Hickman and Silva put “Slim” back into a position of importance and to once again, hopefully, make him a team leader worthy of respect. The identities of the blazing skull guy and the tree guy are revealed (COOL!) and we learn that Nimrod the Lesser is not one to be trifled with in the XYear 100 portion—we still don’t know who “Green Magneto” is but I’m placing my bets on the son/grandson of Magneto and Lorna Dane (Polaris). This era also fully reveals the identity of their new leader, which I believe was alluded to in the first issue text material and was also pretty much spoiled by the advance solicits for the deluge of titles that will flow after this event, but it was still awesome to see this character none the less. Finally, in XYear One Thousand, the Librarian reveals (maybe?) the endgame of his plan for the next stage of mutantdom…I think. Not much happens in this issue in regard to physical action or battles or what have you, but the impact of this fantastic story instead is derived from the implications of the interactions found in each time period and the story is all the better for it. Even without a single punch being thrown, I’m even more excited to see what happens in the weeks to come.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Silver Surfer Black #3

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Tradd Moore, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
Silver Surfer Black is one of those comics that if it were to run for 12, or 20, or 60 issues (which I would love, btw), I would be at a loss for words as what to say from issue to issue. Sure, I could recap the events of every issue but in the end, every post would be “the story is weird yet freakin’ amazeballs,” “the art falls squarely in the camp of a lovely visual feast the likes of which you have never seen before,” and “I cannot wait to see what comes next.” The reviews would become repetitious in the face of just how consistently great and unlike anything else this book is. And there you have the third issue. Here, the Surfer,  who is poisoned by Knull’s darkness, finds a young Ego (the Living Planet) who aligns with the Surfer against the God of the Symbiotes. The problem is that Ego has an infection of his own that even the Surfer might not be able to prevail against. All the while, you embark on what can easily be described as the best ’70s-era acid trip of your entire existence (don’t worry, Mom, I’m only guessing this is what a good acid trip would be like. Promise). Bottom line: Silver Surfer Black is a glorious comic with an amazing story and gorgeous visuals that I honestly can’t believe Marvel allowed to even happen. My wish is for a series of blacklight posters and a greatly oversized hardcover once the five-issue run concludes. This is fire, Denizens, absolute hot potatoes with this bad boy. GET IT!
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice #2

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Michael Walsh, lettered by Nate Piekos, published by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics)
Speaking of experimental comics…Black Hammer/Justice League is the comic I never in a thousand years thought would see the light of day, yet here we are…and I so very much love it all. You have the Justice League dealing with Black Hammer problems and the Black Hammer crew dealing with Justice League problems, all the while a completely discombobulated Colonel Weird tries to find the best way to restore the order of things; it ain’t gonna be easy. We honestly only see the strange man who caused this switcheroo in a panel or two of flashbacks, but the main draw of this installment is seeing how each person deals with their new situation: Superman seems fine with everything except for Lois Lane not being around, Batman tries to fight crime where the most egregious infraction for him to avenge involves cow tipping, Barbalien meets Martian Manhunter, and Golden Gail gets an eyeful of the Lord of Atlantis. The moments between Colonel Weird and John Stewart are the best, however, as Walsh proves to be the perfect artist to expand upon both the Black Hammer mythos and the darker moments of the JLA. I love every page of this five-issue dream crossover and I am certain I will be double-dipping on the (please please please) oversized hardcover that is destined to come out. Seek out these amazing first two issues, but be sure to read everything you can of the Donist World Darling Black Hammer (and all of the equally-exceptional side stories) before delving into this treasure.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Gideon Falls #16

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics)
To quote one Homer Jay Simpson, “Brilliant. I have absolutely no idea what’s going on.” This is not a criticism, but the highest of praise. Gideon Falls is bizarre, scary, and the intrigue will keep me coming back for more. You can quickly catch up with the soon-to-be three available trades and I will prepare to do a reread from the start…which probably won’t answer too many questions and will most likely raise many more. You need to be reading this gorgeously unnerving series. The forthcoming television series cannot come soon enough.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


That's it for this installment. So eat a bunch of sugar and go trip out on some amazingly mindbending Tradd Moore and Dave Stewart visuals. Until next time!



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Saturday, August 10, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 8/9/2019

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/backup singer for the Donist World team Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Keeping this intro short as we are still talking about the amazing offerings from Marvel this week and we are going to reread them to be sure we didn’t miss anything…plus it’s lunchtime. Anyhow, take a breath, let your shoulders relax, grab some refreshing water or cave and get a burrito and beer, 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


Absolute Carnage #1

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Ryan Stegman, inked by JP Mayer, colored by Frank Martin, published by Marvel Comics)
Absolute Carnage is one I was on the fence about. After feeling so completely burned by far too many Big Two events over the years, I was very much intending to stick to my “No More Events” proclamation—or at least no more events until a lauded trade collection upon completion of an event was released. And I held strong for quite a while, years in fact, but then Cates and Stegman came out with their phenomenal Venom series. With Venom they took a character I only sorta liked from back in the day—right before my sick-of-’90s-comics-bullpucky, multi-year, comic book hiatus—and brought me wholeheartedly into the fold. Cates and Stegman tied Eddie Brock and the Symbiote to Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s tremendous Thor God of Thunder arc, which briefly showed a defeated dark god, and the current Venom creators made Knull, god of the symbiotes; what followed was an exhilarating roller coaster of action, adventure, and horror. I became a fan of Venom with but this single great first issue.
Now, Carnage…alrighty, I knew who the character was back in the ’90s: that he is a serial killer who somehow gained a symbiote that made him a devastating adversary. But was Carnage, aka Cletus Kasady, a part of Venom? Or did he come to be from his very own Symbiote? I honestly have no idea. I’m also not quite certain on how Kasady was originally killed and that’s fine, just roll with it and don’t sweat the details; you’ll be fine. (Just a side note that I went and skimmed the Wikipedia page for Cletus Kasady and my head is positively reeling after trying to follow the quagmire of the character’s history, so I will probably try to read it again after a Stone w00t Stout or two to see if it makes any better sense.) So, whatever the heck went down with Carnage over the past couple of decades, all I know is that he is utterly terrifying and creepy AF in this fantastic, 80-page, $7.99 (and worth every penny) first issue.
Absolute Carnage begins with Eddie Brock and his son on the run from both the law and the forces of Carnage, which leads Brock to seek the aid of one of his greatest adversaries: Spider-Man. The resurrected Kasady is once again Carnage, although he is immensely more powerful as he has used remnants of the dark god Knull’s Grendel (a symbiote dragon from the first Venom arc) to make himself an unstoppable force. Spider-Man and Venom learn that Carnage seeks to consume any trace of a symbiote that he can sink his claws and teeth into and it doesn’t matter if the host is alive or dead. A few Spider-verse guest stars appear (I’m not going to spoil) and we are left with one heck of a cliffhanger that guarantees I will be back for more more more.
Stegman’s art is something all fans of Venom and The Superior Spider-Man should already be well aware of. If not, then get ready to be wowed and give thanks to the comic gods for this heavenly comic. The dramatic scenes are great. The horror scenes are great. The storytelling is great. The backgrounds are great. The character designs are great. The action sequences are otherworldy, next level madness that will make you hesitate to turn the page as you attempt to take it all in. Put it this way: you’ll probably want to read the book straight through and immediately give it another read to focus even more on Stegman’s oh-so-gorgeous work. I’m sure the pencils alone would make this issue a must-see, but Mayer’s mix of fine and not-quite-so-fine-but-still-fine lines on characters and his use of deep shadows make every page something to behold. The whole black and white package is brought to unearthly life with Martin’s muted color palette that brings urgency with the use of red, not just in Spider-Man’s costume, but on the pages where the threat of a horrible death by Carnage escalates to a nervewracking pitch. Whew…this book is a looker.
One issue into this event and I am very hopeful for what comes next. That said, there are a BUNCH of tie-ins (19 issues to be exact) outside of this five-issue miniseries and the issues of Venom that are honestly part of the reason I abandoned events altogether in the first place. Some of those tie-ins might be great. Some might not be. I will probably get all of those in the inevitable Absolute Carnage Tie-Ins trade with the exception of the Absolute Carnage: Immortal Hulk #1 that will be written by Jade Jaws powerhouse Al Ewing. I have no doubt that Cates and Stegman have a monster of a story to tell and I really hope that they were given enough leash by the corporate powers that be to tell it without all of the corporate shenanigans that had made me so reluctant to try events so long ago. This issue, though, comes…
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


House of X #2

(Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Pepe Larraz, colored by Marte Gracia, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
Yes! Yes! Yes! This is what I want from a Hickman X-Men comic. As I said with the first issue, I’m a lapsed X-Men reader (not counting Ed Piskor’s outstanding X-Men Grand Design retelling of a few hundred issues of convoluted X-Men history) but this first issue pulled me back in with a sense of mystery around what the heck is going on with Charles Xavier, Magneto, Krakoa, and the move to create sanctuary Garden’s of Eden for all mutants while setting up those of “Omega” ability to be gods. Here, we jump away to focus on one character: Moira MacTaggert. Established X-Men fans should know that this woman has historically been a human with an exceptional knowledge of genetic mutation who worked closely with Professor X and the X-Men. This is not the complete story according to Hickman. In fact, MacTaggert is a mutant with an ability that completely blew my mind and that has had me running through the implications of having such an ability and what I would do were I to have her “power.” Yeah, I’m not gonna spoil it but, dang, it will get you thinking. So, after an awesome first issue, am I at least mildly put off that we aren’t seeing more of what is going on outside of Moira MacTaggert? Hells no. I’m even more invested now and I’m eager as heck to get ahold of this coming week’s Powers of X #2. Hickman warned us on his “Reading Order” infographic that HoX #2, HoX #5, and PoX #6 were going to be the issues that changed everything for the X-Men and after reading this issue, it is safe to say he is thus far 33.33% correct.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


The Immortal Hulk #22

(Written by Al Ewing; illustrated by Joe Bennett, inked by Ruy José and Belardino Brabo, colored by Paul Mounts, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit; published by Marvel Comics)
What. In. The. Actual. F_! Three comics completely knocked me on my rear this week and all three of them are from Marvel. A year and a half ago, if you would have told me this, I would have laughed. But, hey, I’m by no means complaining. Keep it coming. Ewing and Bennett continue their Hulk-as-a-horror-comic series as anyone with gamma powers and those who are friends with those with gamma powers waiting to come back from the dead—which is quite disturbing—look to take the hurt back to General Fortean. The problem: Fortean has bonded with the ravaged husk of the Abomination. Oh, man! The next issue cannot come soon enough as Alpha Flight (possibly including a currently dead Walter Langowski), The Hulk, Red She-Hulk (the harpy version), Doc Samson, a corpse-like Rick Jones, and a human reporter prepare to take on this horrifying new menace. This series in the hotness, Denizens. Best jump in with the trades as soon as you can.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


The Green Lantern #10

(Written by Grant Morrison, illustrated by Liam Sharp, colored by Steve Oliff; lettered by Tom Orzechowski; published by Marvel Comics)
Much of what I said for the previous issue a few weeks back (read that post here) applies with this installment, but to summarize: I don’t really know what the heck is going on, but man, oh man, is Sharp’s art freakin’ gorgeous. Here’s what I do know:

  • 12 Parallel Worlds! 12 Green Lanterns! - Says so on the cover.
  • I LOVE the hippy freak Green Lantern named Magic Lantern who fights his enemies with Grooviness that is derived from his mystical spectacles (I think). I would buy a comic about this guy provided Sharp gives us more of the tripadelic visuals as seen on page two.
  • Green Lantern Batman of Earth-32 is pretty awesome and I would read that book, too.
  • The mostly-cybernetic, beefy guy who speaks backward is pretty damn scary. He might be the Yellow Lantern guy who the Blackstars were dissecting but I really have no idea. I just hope we see more of him.
  • A bunch of very fast scene jumps left me unsure as to what was happening and questioning existence until a scene with the zombie DC Trinity appears and a crazy looking Living Lantern leads us into the next issue.
Yup, that about sums it up. So maybe one of y’all can tell me what’s going on. Even with my confusion, I’m still loving this bonkers and gorgeously illustrated comic and you should at least check out the lovely first hardcover collection.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

That’s it for this installment, Denizens. I’m off to ponder the implications of the Moira MacTaggert revelations and to think about what I would do given her abilities. Brrrrrr...so very weird. See you next time.


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Saturday, August 3, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 8/2/2019

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/Furry Fiesta Fan (happy hour for dogs) Specialist Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). This is gonna be a brief intro as my puppy executive team and I need to do a walk and talk about maintaining our positioning as a Fortune 320,000 company and about possible future Donist World topics. Tulip also needs to go out and go potty, so there’s that. Anyhow, take a breath, let your shoulders relax, grab a refreshing water and some kale chips after you do some situps, turn on The Boys on Amazon Prime, 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 #1

(Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by R.B. Silva, inked by R.B. Silva and Adriano di Benedetto, colored by Marte Gracia, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
Remember last week, how I was completely blown away by the phenomenal House of X #1? And how after a lengthy hiatus from the regular X-titles I decided “just to see” what Hickman could do with the X-Men who I used to worship back in the Claremont and Cockrum/Byrne days? Yeah, more of the same here, and I don’t mean more of the same-ol’-same-ol’ story or anything, indeed, quite the opposite. I mean that thrill of enjoying a comic book set in the X-Men universe and having that feeling of not being able to wait to see what comes next.
Now, I’m going to spoil some aspects of what this book is and how it fits alongside House of X but don’t fear,  I have absolutely no idea (yet) as to what exactly is going on. House of X is a comic set in modern times where Professor X—or someone posing as him—is working alongside Magneto and Krakoa—the living island—as they establish a paradise for mutants, solidify themselves a substantial place in the world market with wonderous pharmaceuticals, and also set themselves up to be gods. C-R-A-Z-Y, I know, but so very cool. Here, in Powers of X, we have a handful of different timelines that we follow:
  • X0: Year One (The Dream) - This is the time that Charles Xavier formulates the idea of the X-Men.
  • X1: Year Ten (The World) - The present which coincides with the events of House of X.
  • X2: Year One Hundred (The War) - We jump to the future where things have gone dreadfully wrong and mutants are on the decline as humans and machines seek to eradicate them completely. Many new faces and some old make an appearance.
  • X3: Year One Thousand (Ascension) - The tide has turned again in the distant future as mutants have risen and humanity has been effectively…you’ll have to read to the final page to see.
This was the comic I was most curious about after seeing that amazing poster featuring a red-skinned/furred Nightcrawler (?) and the armor-skinned, sword-wielding, raven-haired woman that looked to be an amalgamation of many of my favorite heroes and Hickman and Silva straight up let you know who they are in this oversized issue while at the same time making them even more mysterious. And that’s the thing about this outstanding issue: the creators create mysteries around what we thought to be well-established truths of the past concerning a “known” character while teasing the repercussions of what we are about to witness go down in House of X.
Silva’s art is stunning to behold in both character and background designs as we are introduced to new characters who are incredibly cool to see as well as environments that are forested or post-apocalyptic or highly futuristic. Partnering the lovely art with Gracia’s lush colors ties both titles together while pushing the mood and severity of each scene to the limits. The best thing of all is that you can be a lapsed X-Men reader like me and still be able to not just follow along, but become completely enveloped by this grand, unfolding story that is already shaping up to become one of the best X-Men stories not just of 2019 but of all time.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Conan the Barbarian #8

(Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Gerardo Zaffino and Garry Brown, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham, published by Marvel Comics)
The overarching story begun in the first issue, one foretelling the death of Conan at the hands of diabolical twins set on bringing their death god into this world, is barely touched upon here. This is much the same as each of the prior issues, but that’s fine. I am wholeheartedly loving Aaron’s done-in-one stories that anyone can pick up and enjoy all while gaining small hints at the looming menace of Razazel. For old Conan readers, there’s the reintroduction of the evil wizard Thoth-Amon into the mythology as Conan ventures home to Cimmeria. Guest artist Zaffino steps in this issue with a rougher, grittier style that works well on this fantastic “zombie” tale. Whether or not you are a fan of the original Marvel Conan books, Conan the Barbarian is an intense adventure that clearly reflects Aaron’s adoration and deep knowledge of the character that both pays homage to what came before while building something totally new. As I said, you can pretty much jump in with any issue, but why do that when you can start with the recently released first trade?
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Paper Girls #30

(Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matt Wilson, lettered and designed by Jared K. Fletcher, color flats by Dee Cunniffe, published by Image Comics)
Well, that does it for the Paper Girls comic. It’s been a fun-filled ride with Mac, KJ, Erin, and Tiffany as they traipsed across the past, present, and future while dealing with futuristic weirdos, angry cavemen, monsters, robots, and even different versions of themselves. It’s been a wild, ’80s nostalgia-filled adventure and this issue ties up the series quite nicely. That said, I honestly don’t fully remember how issue 29 ended to setup this issue that brings us back to where it all began, but that’s okay. I kind of think Paper Girls is best served as a binge read, one that has you moving as quickly from issue to issue as the girls jump from place to place and without the wait between issues. If you are a fan of Stranger Things, then this comic about friendship and saving the world is one you cannot miss. Just be sure to read it before the television adaptation streams from Amazon Prime sometime next year. You can read this great series—one I have given to many friends—through the six trades or through the three deluxe hardcovers, just be sure you give it a try.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

That’s it for this installment, Denizens. Be sure to rush out and get copies of House of X #1 and Powers of X #1 so that you too can be driven mad with anticipation of the next exciting issue. See you next week.



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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 7/26/2019

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/Yappy Hour (happy hour for dogs) Specialist Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Okay, I’ve gone to four happy hours this week; two of which were in one day. Unfortunately, after eating out for over a month during the move, the ol’ Donist World corporate polo shirt and jeans are fitting a right bit snugger than I would like. Dang, I got to knock that noise off and soon. Anyhow, take a breath, let your shoulders relax, grab a refreshing water and some kale chips after you do some situps, 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 #4

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, edited by Will Dennis, published by Image Comics)
Oh, Ascender, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: 1) You are a continuation of the Donist World Darling, Descender, 2) You shifted direction from a freakin’ great sci-fi epic to an equally-as-great fantasy adventure, 3) You made Bandit a badass…respect! 4) You just brought back another character we have not seen for quite a while. Besides all of that, Andy, Mila, and Bandit are being hounded by Mother’s evil forces as they make their way to the sea. We also learn that the UGC (United Galactic Council) is adapting their methods to deal with Mother accordingly. And if all of this isn't enough to lure you in…how about some gargantuan, flying turtles brought to life by Nguyen’s gorgeous, watercolored art? Ascender continues to be a thrilling adventure with characters you love, a story you never want to end, and art that will keep you lingering on every page. You don’t need to read the first six trades of Descender before jumping into this wonderful epic, but some of the key moments will be that much more powerful if you read the series that started it all first.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Guardians of the Galaxy #7

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Cory Smith, colored by David Curiel, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics)
The Church of Universal Truth—an organization of interplanetary, religious zealots once commanded by Adam Warlock's future/past (it’s complicated) persona, Magus—is back with a mission to resurrect their messiah. This can’t be good. Betrayals and possessions abound, and we also learn what’s going on with Rocket Racoon; it ain’t pretty. Now, I’m not sure if this “Messiah” is Magus or not, but I have been chomping at the bit to see both Adam Warlock and Magus return to prominence, but the second arc of Cates’s run is off to such a great start that I will be fine with pretty much whoever it ends up being. Smith steps in for Geoff Shaw on this arc and he keeps the action rolling with some great character and space ship designs that are brought to life by Curiel’s stunningly colored spacescapes. You should definitely pick up the first volume of Guardians of the Galaxy (because it is great!), but if you jump aboard with this issue, you should be just fine.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


House of X #1

(Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Pepe Larraz, colored by Marte Gracia, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
The last X-Men book I bought—not counting Ed Piskor’s heavenly X-Men Grand Design—was over a decade ago. Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s brilliant Astonishing X-Men run was it for me. After that, nothing else really spoke to me or captured my attention. In fact, I watched event after event pass by and I pretty much resolved to solely reread the X-books of my childhood, you know, the Claremont and Cockrum/Byrne stuff. But then House of X and Powers of X were announced and I saw that they were going to be written by Hickman…I got a quick case of the goose pimples but even then, I did not intend to pick it up. There’d been too much nonsense from the past to trick me into buying a title that would inevitably lead me to buy 12,048 (estimated) freaking tie-ins to understand what the heck is going on. But then I saw House of X #1 and I took the plunge despite the steep $5.99 price tax.
Oh, my stars and garters, am I glad I did!
This is what it takes to get me excited about the X-Men again. The cover of this issue with Professor X (?), Magneto, Wolverine, Marvel Girl, and Cyclops stepping through a portal of vegetation is too much to resist. Larraz and Gracia gave me all I needed to take the plunge and the Hickman story of Krakoa, the living island, being not just a refuge/paradise for all mutants, but a source of commerce from the production of amazing pharmaceuticals…I was 100% hooked. I recognize most of the players in this issue after my decade-long hiatus, and Powers of X looks to have all sorts of characters I don’t believe I’ve seen before to stoke my curiosity for this coming week, but Hickman and Larraz did what I thought was impossible: they got me to buy a new X-Men book. Not only am I curious as to what the heck is going on with Professor X, but the fact that the X-Men have not only created their own world, they seek to disrupt the pharmaceutical industry and the marketplace with their miracle drugs and after Magneto’s jawdropping proclamation at a VERY deliberate location in the last panel of the last page, they look to be taking on modern notions of religion at the same time. You can’t tell, but I’m throwing up some devil horns and banging my head to an AC/DC track that is playing in my mind. Hells YES!
If you’re a lapsed X-Men reader like I was, then this is the book to pull you back in. I don’t exactly trust whatever is going on with Professor X and I have absolutely no clue as to what his deal actually is, and I am fine to just go with the Hickman flow. It is so refreshing to be so invested in a superhero book I had thought long gone but, man, does it ever feel good to be back. …I’m just going to ignore the 10,321 (estimated) new X-titles that have been announced for after this 12-issue series (six-issues each of House and Powers).
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Lazarus: Risen #2

(Written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Michael Lark, colored by Santi Arcas with Tyler Boss, lettered by Simon Bowland, published by Image Comics)
Well, we are on the second issue of Rucka and Larks amazing and terrifying-in-that-much-of-what’s-in-this-dystopian-nightmare-is-currently-coming-true-in-real-life comic and even though we are now only receiving about three issues a year, make no mistake that each issue is WELL worth your time. Not only do we get to see Forever Carlyle take on two Lazari at once, we also get to see the toll the responsibility/curse of being a young Lazarus takes on “Eight” and that final page…damn, that final page…has me so excited to see what happens next as Forever sets her sights on the most horrific threat of all. I. Cannot. Wait. You can supposedly jump in with the first issue of Lazarus: Risen, but I strongly suggest whipping through the five original series trades first to become better acquainted with this grim world and the characters within it. Nervewracking, thrilling, and unfortunately all too relevant to the current state of the world Lazarus and Lazarus: Risen need to find their way into your hands.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


That’s it for this installment, Denizens. I’m off to watch some more episodes of the new Amazon Original Series The Boys which is way better than I ever thought it could be and to reread House of X  to find everything I missed the first time through. See you next time.



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