Saturday, June 4, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 6/02/2011

Alrighty, folks.  I'm running late on this installment and I'm going to keep the intro brief as it is Saturday, I'm hungry for duck-fat fries and beer at Hollister Brewing Company, and I'm excited to see X-Men: First Class after lunch.  In other words, this shizzle is about to get real REAL.  On top of that, there are six comics that I need to mention this week and all were released on this past Wednesday.  Talk about a nice problem to have.  So, Mom and Obie (my only two Donist World readers)...I present to you...

Friday Slice of Heaven


Sweet Tooth #22
Sweet Tooth #22 - Written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics imprint.  Every time I finish the latest issue of Sweet Tooth I am left wanting more of this dark, yet occasionally beautiful story.
In this issue the group reunites at the dam currently under the watch of  Walter Fish, and Jepperd immediately suspects the crippled man of treachery despite the protests of his friends.  Singh begins to question the path of science and sees himself as a spiritual guide to bring Gus to Alaska where all will be answered as detailed in the boy's father's bible.  Johnny, Singh and Bobby come face to face with those who Walter vocally fears, but in the ensuing violence and death, one key detail is missed by Gus and his ragtag family.  A detail that brings me to the nail biting and dread that I have come to love from this amazing series.
Although the creeping tension of the current storyline--and the series as a whole--leaves me fearful of what lurks behind every corner, it is not done in the annoying "this will never be resolved" Lost way.  Lemire and his amazing Sweet Tooth deliver consistently and when least expected making this series one of my favorite monthly books.  Some pain is coming for this mismatched family of necessity and although I want the best for them all, I would not have it any other way.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Last of the Innocent #1
Criminal: The Last of the Innnocent #1 - Written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Phillips, published by Icon, a Marvel Comics imprint.  Criminal is my favorite crime comic on the stands.  This latest installment kicks off what looks to be the strongest entry into Brubaker and Phillip's world to date.  
Riley Richards owes some bad men money, but when his father is diagnosed with stomach cancer, he returns to his hometown of Brookview, a place he has not returned to for five years.  He hooks up with old friends, Lizzie and Freakout (a nickname by golly), and the nostalgia of better times, a time before his cheating wife, Felicity, and her overbearing and elitist family, convinces Riley he needs to escape his current life.  The only way out, the only way to recapture the old times is to murder the woman he married.
A hell of a start with this issue and one that sucked me in immediately.  Brubaker had me disliking Riley, then not caring for him, then sympathizing and now I'm on Riley's side despite the mess that he put himself into.   Phillips does a wonderful job of portraying the innocence of childhood remembrances by switching to a cartoony fifties style of art for each flashback that works well and contrasts with his usual harsh line work.  If you like crime/noir stories this is where you need to be.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Who Is Jake Ellis #4
Who Is Jake Ellis #4 - Written by Nathan Edmondson and illustrated by Tonci Zonjic, published by Image comics.  I have been enjoying the Who Is Jake Ellis ride from the beginning and with one issue to go--unless the rumor of WIJE becoming a monthly is true, which is fantastic--I cannot wait to see how this fast-paced and addictive spy/mystery turns out.  
Jon and the possibly-imaginary Jake track their unsuspecting mole to a remote office in Marrakech, Morocco and are on the verge of uncovering the secret of what happened to Jon.  Nothing is ever easy.  As the pair infiltrate deeper and deeper into a building that is a front for some type of medical experimentation facility, the all-knowing Jake begins to express feelings of doubt and uncertainty, but most shocking admits that he had a memory.  Not just a memory, but an emotion.  The startling conclusion of this issue leaves the reader with further insight into Jake and of course more questions that look to be answered in next month's conclusion.
Nathan Edmondson has created an addictive little series, with a believable partnership between a spy and a man who might possibly not exist at all.  I really hope that Edmondson's WIJE does become a series as it is exciting, riveting and stands apart from most everything on the comic shelves.  Also worthy of mention is the lovely, stylized art of Tonci Zonjic, whose storytelling abilities give the feeling of motion on a static page.  Zonjic's color palette draws the right amount of attention at the appropriate time to give a feeling of urgency or to show how displaced Jon and Jake actually are.  Next month cannot come soon enough.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Superboy #8
Superboy #8 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Pier Gallo, published by DC Comics.  Another Lemire book this week and one that I am glad I stuck around for after the "event" from the past couple of issues interrupted the story and left me considering dropping this book.
In this issue, Superboy returns to form and the storyline hinted about in the first few issues with the appearance of a creepier-than-usual Phantom Stranger.  While possessing the body of a Smallville resident, the Phantom Stranger relays to Connor Kent a slice of history of the Kents, the Valentines and the terrifying Took family.  The Tooks were a family of cruel and reclusive loners who clashed with the law-enforcing Kents and Valentines and who were suspected to be responsible for the mutilated corpse of a child.  As everyone knows, mobs and psychotically murderous families don't mix and the Tooks go down in flames...literally.  Back in the present day, Superboy and Valentine meet up with the actual Phantom Stranger to rescue Lori Luthor, who happens to live on the Tooks old property.  The issue ends with a frightening yet beautiful splash page that needs to be seen to be appreciated.  Hats off to the letterer of the last page with the old-timey horror look that brings an extra level of suspense and eeriness.
Left on his own, Lemire succeeds in bringing Superboy back to the story that he has been revealing since issue number one and this is right where I want him to be.  RECOMMENDED!

SHIELD #2 (Vol 2)
SHIELD #1 (Vol 2) - Written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Dustin Weaver, published by Marvel Comics.  SHIELD returns a bit earlier than I expected and I couldn't be happier.  
As the battle for control of the Brotherhood of the Shield escalates between Da Vinci and Newton, Michelangelo must stop the war between free will and fate and Leonid, Newton's son, is the key.  The Nightmachine (Nicola Tesla, who is also Leonid's adopted father), Stark and Richards (the fathers of Tony and Reed) return at just the right moment to join with Leonid in ending the war of ideals and power struggles that divides the Brotherhood.
SHIELD is an intelligent and complex book that is not for those who prefer to see two superheroes punch each other in the face, but for those who want a rich story set in the universe with which they are familiar, a universe filled with mystery and suspense.  RECOMMENDED!

Heroes For Hire #8
Heroes For Hire #8 - Written by Dan Abenett and Andy Lanning and illustrated by Brad Walker, published by Marvel Comics.  Hold on a second...didn't I just talk about issue seven like two weeks ago?  Did Heroes For Hire go bi-weekly?  Oh well, fine with me as this series continues to be a lot of fun and keeps me buying the Marvel superhero books. 
This issue continues with an exhausted Spider-Man battling for his life in a pit of velociraptors and The Scorpion in a crazy new suit, while Batroc the Leaper and other dregs of society cheer on the carnage.  Paladin, injured and refusing to stand down, attempts to stop Batroc and rescue Spider-Man, but finds himself under fire from demonica weapons and receives help from a "hot" source.  Upset that her two heroes are not listening to her and getting themselves deeper into trouble, Misty Knight steps in for some ass whupping. 
HFH has plenty of action and story and is a highly entertaining change from the more serious books that I usually find myself reading.  RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

The War on Education Continues - I'm going to keep this brief, as I am short on time, but the asinine treatment of our country's librarians is morally reprehensible.  Many school districts across the country, including LA Unified are firing school librarians, arguing that they are not necessary or actual teachers.  Not actual teachers?!  Librarians are required to have not one, but two credentials, one is for teaching one is for library sciences, and they are required to stay up-to-date with technology.  Not to mention that they are a wealth of knowledge for the children they teach.  Librarians are instrumental in getting students to actually read and enjoy literature, which is also being undervalued.  How very sad. 

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