Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 08/26/11

(sung to the tune of Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me")

I loved Chew...and Xom--bi

I loved Chew and Xombi
And Gates of Gotham it's easy
Obie you should heed me
I'm beggin' you to read these

I loved Chew and Xombi 
And Gates of Gotham it's easy
Obie you should heed me

Bust out some cold hard cash, you best bet your ass
Great comics are hard to find, but Donist knows what you need.

Didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you whinin'?
Oh, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you whinin'?
Your comic shop was out wtf, bummer pups you must feel like dyin'.
Oh, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you whinin'?

Okay, the intro's a going to be a tad shorter than usual, but I'm not exactly feeling the rant from within, but that will probably change down in the "Slice Into the Woods" section.  Plus, my only two readers (good morning Mom and Obie) need to get some breakfast.  They will be enjoying a multi-grain, buttermilk waffles served with a berry compote, and homemade whipped cream served with a steaming cup of Blue Bottle Coffee.  I will be having Grape Nuts...nuts...


Friday Slice of Heaven

Xombi #6
Xombi #6 - Written by John Rozum and illustrated by Frazer Irving, published by DC Comics.  This is it folks, the final issue of the bizarre, crazy and utterly enjoyable Xombi...or is it?  DC has said nothing as to where this comic--that I look forward to every month-ish--will fit in with the 52 relaunch in
September.  Hell, even the book itself says nothing about this being the end or whether it too will pick up again with a new number one issue later this year.  All I can say is that I really hope that it does come back and soon.
This chapter of The Ninth Stronghold has it all, and by all I mean everything you would not expect to see or hear about in the world today.  We have: The Sisterhood of Blood Mummies with their moon swords and spider immune systems, Nun the Lesser riding a parakeet named Captain Tiberius, Catholic Girl cutting loose on some eyeball-headed demons in motorcycle jackets, golems with jetpacks and rayguns, horrific Dental Phantoms complete with dental instrument hands and spitting out ticker tape readings of warning, pearls of wisdom and a whole lot more.  On top of all of this, David Kim and Annie Palmer confront Roland Finch, the man who thinks of everything, in a bid to save the Ninth Stronghold from the madman's clutches before the floating skull castle of immortality collapses beyond all repair.
I flat out enjoyed this comic.  It is so beyond anything else on the stands and it is a wonder at all that DC ever released it.  But with the off-beat yet fascinating story by Rozum and the beautiful, awe-inspiring art and colors of Frazer (every page is worthy of displaying proudly on the wall), I can understand why they took the chance.
My main criticism of these six issues is that I want to know more about David Kim.  I'm sure much of his life has been explained in the previous--and unavailable in trade or digital form--series, but I still have many questions like how he met his group of weird friends, more of his never-seen girlfriend, and more about what he wants.  Hopefully the future will provide more answers.
That said, I need to stress how much I enjoyed this series.  I can only hope that DC again takes a chance in the very near future and that we get to see more of David Kim the Xombi.  So VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew #20
Chew #20 - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics.  Month after month, Chew continues to be unique, intense, vastly creative and highly entertaining; this month is no different.  
Mason suffers a revelation after ingesting the blood of the voresophic (someone whose intelligence grows the more they eat) Migdalo that terrifies the big man. Tony and Colby are assigned an undercover gig to watch Alani Adobo, the leader of a egg worshiping cult called "The Church of the Divinity of the Immaculate Ova"...I kid you not.  Mayhem ensues and Mason decides that his team that consist of himself and Caesar needs to grow if they are to deal with the danger that lies before them.  That new not Tony Chu.
I may as well get used to writing about this title every month, because it has consistently been an insanely fun and thrilling ride.  The story is always grand, but I need to take a moment to commend Rob Guillory on the phenomenal art and colors used in this issue, especially the double-page spreads and action scenes.  Then of course there are the panel bursting  moments that can be annoying in other books, yet they work so well here. 
Bottom line is that this book is an Eisner award winner for a reason and is one that all fans of comics should be reading.  Next Month cannot come soon enough.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batman: Gates
of Gotham # 5
Batman: Gates of Gotham #5 - Okay, here we go...Story by Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins, written by Kyle Higgins and Ryan Parrott, and illustrations by Trevor McCarthy, published by DC Comics.  I think there was a person or two less than last time involved, but I am glad to see the look of the book back to what I was used to on the first three issues.
This final installment brings Batman into direct contact with The Architect, the madman in the frightening steampunk suit that amplifies his strength and speed, while Damian and Black Bat try to diffuse the bomb that threatens to flood Gotham City.  During the course of the battle, Batman unravels the truth of The Gates of Gotham and what actually happened in the past to bring everyone to this point.
This issue did not have the rushed feel of the previous issue and there were no new artists to hasten the production to push its release into August.  Although Batman: Gates of Gotham was an engaging read, I did notice a slight shift in tone in the series ever since Snyder switched from co-writing the book to co-plotting.  This is not a knock at Higgins or Parrott who do a great job of wrapping up the story, it is just that the shift was noticeable back in issue three and was not helped by the jarring art changes in issue four.  Snyder brought a certain clarity and deepened urgency to the first two issues, but even without his direct influence on the book, Higgins and Parrott manage to deliver a highly engaging chapter in the Batman history that I look forward to reading again in its entirety.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  

Slice Into the Woods

The Big 52 Release and the Commercial - Don't get me wrong, the 52 release is not a bad thing and I am actually pretty excited to get these titles into my hands.  For those issues of the 52 that I do buy, I will be reviewing every issue, whether I like them or not, which will be different from how I usually just don't mention the titles that I found less than interesting or just plain bad.  I  have high hopes for DC and their grand change, but at the same time I have high expectations and if these titles don't pull their own weight with fantastic stories and characterization over more of the same slugfest, shock value, "event"-ridden messes that have been the norm, then I will go back to the scaled down DC pull that I currently have.
That said, I saw the "DC Comics New 52 Extended Commercial" that at two minutes got me amped and excited for the relaunch--even though the commercial was motion capture...which I don't mind.  Here I was treated to some heavy rock music and all the characters that I grew up with since the age of five.  I know these characters inside and out and have seen them through good times and bad.  The commercial got me, a comic fan for most of my life, excited for the September release, but there's the problem.  If I were to show the commercial to my wife or my friends who were never really into comics, they would just shrug their shoulders and go back to wolfing down popcorn or sending that last text message before the movie started.  This new commercial that is supposedly being shown in theaters and on television exists to bring in NEW readers, not rope back in a couple thousand pre-established comic book fans.
To bring in tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of NEW eyes to DC's 52, a much different approach needed to be taken.  Something that explained what DC was doing, why they were doing it, and an easy to remember link to the web that could help showcase the titles in enough detail to get people interested.  Now that I think of it, maybe even post a mini survey that a person could anonymously enter some information about things they liked from drop down menus and have the computer spit out a handful of starter titles and provide a free download of an issue that might be to their liking.   The commercial did not do any of this.  It was even confusing to me as some of the shadows covered up the minimal amount of text given near the end of the trailer that explained what all the hubbub was about.
I really want DC to come out ahead with the 52 to the point that they bring the number of titles up to the 70's or 80's.  I want this for the sake of the comic industry and so that I continue to have access to great comics.  However, my hopes do not exist without the entirely selfish motive of one day writing the relaunches of Krypto, or Blue Devil or The Floronic Man (Swamp Thing spinoff) or all three.  If "new readers" don't even bother to try a comic, they're not a "new readers," only missed opportunities.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 8/19/2011

(Sung to the the tune of  David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust")

Oooh yeah
Obie loves comics, he's a Boston Terrier
And he likes Donist World.  But what should he heed?
What to give a whirl?
Ol Don knows what to read, to fulfill Obie's need

Obie, Jester's Tale, The Stuff of Legend will thrill you
By those cats from Th3rdworld, you can lick your paws gladly
You can wag your stub tail.
Also buy Mystic my man, and Superboy it's a plan.

So where to find good books, while events try to break our balls
Just this little blog to guide us,
So it's Friday Slice of Heaven that helps us crank it to eleven

Oh very, very quiet.  This Donist World installment is brought to you from my mother's basement where I've secretly restored my old "room" to the glory of days gone past.  A time before adulthood, jobby-jobs, marriage, pet ownership or any sort of responsibility at all.  Now, the reason we have to be so quiet is that my mom does not know I'm down here.  Heck, she never even opens the door to the basement, not after the "big spider incident."  I should be safe, but one can never be too cautious.  My main concern is that my wife and Obie, my friends' Boston Terrier, don't sniff me out...which probably won't be too difficult seeing that there is no shower and I have been here for two days.
Wait...did you hear that?  It sounds like doggie toenails on the tile floor, and...voices.  Oh no.  My mom and Amy are talking about me--never a good thing--and Obie is sniffing at the door.  They've found me.  My minutes are numbered, folks, so here's...

Friday Slice of Heaven


The Stuff of Legend Vol. III:
A Jester's Tale, Part 1
The Stuff of Legend Vol. III: A Jester's Tale, Part 1 - Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith and illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson III, published by Th3rdworld Studios.  One of my favorite comics of all time returns with the first issue of the third volume.  After the events of The Stuff of Legend: The Jungle in which Max confessed to partially allowing the Boogeyman access to the toys' owner, Jester sets off on his own to find the injured Princess.
This issue opens with Jester leading a high-seas raid on the Boogeyman's ships in search of a mysterious book in route to the master of The Dark.  But this is not the Jester that we have followed since the beginning of the series. Meanwhile, Artic has duped the regular Jester and absconded with the Princess.  Leaving the hero with only the Mayor as a guide, Jester sets out on a quest to find his beloved Princess not knowing that his journey will take him to the farthest reaches of The Dark. After my first read of this phenomenal book, I was confused by what I thought was an error in the timeline of the tale.  Here we have Jester raiding the ships, freeing the mayor, fighting a bunch of sailors, being blamed for the crime of raiding the ships, and then setting sail on the ocean.  I went back and checked each page and the only time caption that I found stated, "...the next day," which did not help me.  That is when I took the time to look more closely at Wilson III's art and I found the answers there.  An already amazing story clicked and became even better as a new and seemingly familiar character was introduced leaving me anxious for the next issue.
Beautifully written, gorgeously illustrated and possessing the most unique comic book production that I have ever seen, The Stuff of Legend series has something for everyone.  Raicht, Smith and Wilson III take an already incredible book and pull the reader deeper into the realm of The Dark to fight alongside their hero, Jester, as he struggles to find his Princess.  The Stuff of Legend is easily one of the best books on the stands. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Mystic #1
Mystic # 1 - Written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by David Lopez, published by CrossGen Comics, an imprint of Marvel Comics.  I didn't want to buy this.  Harsh, I know, but one of the helpful employees at my LCS talked me into the steampunk/fantasy purchase.  Thank goodness they did, or I would have missed out on highly entertaining book.
Mystic opens with two young (?) orphans girls reading up on magic in between their pre-child labor law chores in the forbidden room of Mistress Alenora's orphanage. Barely sneaking past the magical metal dogs set to guard the room, Giselle and Genevieve return to work only to suffer abuse at the hand of Mistress Alenora.  Pushed too far, the girls leave the orphanage to pursue the slight possibility of seeing the High Artisan choose ten new apprentices at the royal mansion.  Jealousies arise when one of the girls makes a statement that garners the attention of the High Artisan and the beginning of a promising new life.
If I had to choose a word to summarize my thoughts on this title it would be "charming."  I enjoyed Wilson's story of two girls wanting a better life above their station, the characters of Giselle and Genevieve are instantly likeable, dialogue flowed naturally and then there was Lopez's art, the lovely art that reminded me of a book of animation stills in the best of ways.  Also needing of praise was the gorgeous coloring by Nathan Fairbairn who for the most part stuck to flatting colors on the characters with more detailed, textured coloring on the backgrounds and scenery, giving an even more animated look to the issue.  For a book that I was hesitant to pickup, I was pleasantly surprised and I am now looking forward to the next issue.  Beautiful and fun, Mystic is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Superboy #11
Superboy #11 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Pier Gallo, published by DC Comics.  The end of a comic that I have been fairly on-again, off-again (i.e. "Event" issues) comes to a close and as I stated last month, I wish there had been more time.  In my mind, I picture the events of the past three issues as three storylines that Lemire had to condense down into one (plus a fourth storyline that never gets resolved) to meet the impending onslaught of the big 52 release next month.  Did Superboy come to a satisfying close...weeeelllll, I guess so, mostly because of the final three pages that succeeded in bringing some humanity to the group of characters and was rather touching.
Superboy, Krypto and The Phantom Stranger struggle against the diabolical plans of Tannarak, the guy who appeared out of nowhere a few issues ago, and the no-longer-threatening Eben Took.  Lori and Simon hold off the Hollowmen in a cool Night of the Living Dead moment only to be harassed by The Parasite.  From there things wrap up so quickly that I am still reeling--or it might just be the wine from last night.  Again the saving grace is the character moment that Lemire adds at the very end.
Although I had problems with this book, I do not fault Lemire for the rushed nature of the story, but rather the DC call to "wrap it up," that damaged the pace Lemire had set in the first few issues.  Now I'm left dreaming about the "Hollowmen" storyline that could have been and the Superboy and Krypto stories that will never be and I am sad for that.  The book was still enjoyable, but I wish it could have been what Lemire envisioned from the beginning.  Oh well, maybe by the time DC is on their 62nd title I will be the one writing Krypto: the Super can only dream.  Barely...RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

DC's 52 Ending Good Series Prematurely - As I have been saying for a couple of weeks now, it's kind of a shame that some really good titles were pushed to completion before they were actually ready.  With rushed stories and art, it seems like DC threw in the towel on some of their fans' favorite titles in order to have a clean slate this September.  Of course this will irk some fans, which is fine because the current fanbase is small and if their move brings in the new readership that they are hoping to reach, then from a business standpoint the 52 will be worth it to them, even if they lose half their current readers.  As long as they give me well-told stories with characters who I love, I am completely on board, but let's keep the "events" on the backburner for a while please and let the writers/artists tell the story they want to tell.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 8/12/2011

(Sung to the tune of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline")

Comics I read
Some titles you best be heedin'
Detective Comics I'm readin' is dang strong
Here is the thing
Red Wing and Morning Glories ain't a bummer
And then Criminal: TLoI joined along
Reading Comics
freakin' out
thrillin' me
thrillin' you

Bejesus Frankenstein
good comics never seemed so good.
I've half a mind
to reread them right now, I could.
But now I - 

9 out of 10 Boston
Terriers prefer
Detective Comics
Thank you Mr. Diamond for this week's introduction and for touching upon all of the books that wowed us here at Donist World this week; there were quite a few.  Today we have yet another special guest in our recording studio.  Visiting from lovely downtown Santa Barbara, all of seven miles away, one half of my only two readers and one of my harshest critics...Obie, the Boston Terrier.  *applause* 
Thank you for coming, Obie, my man.  So tell my only other reader--Hi Mom--what comics you've enjoyed most this week.  
Okay, that's not very nice, Obie.  Maybe you'll be more amenable to speaking in something other than growls a little later on...enjoy the kibble and waffles.  I hope the plush toy meets your needs.  In the meantime it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven


Detective Comics #881
Batman Detective Comics #881 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Jock and Francesco Francavilla, published by DC Comics.  It's books like Scott Snyder's excellent Detective Comics run that keep me not only reading comics as a diehard fan, but studying comics and writing them as well.  After a recent 24 issue "Event" nearly succeeded in bringing to "light" that I was going to quit all DC hero books, I bought Snyder's first issue of Detective Comics; I was hooked.  There was no kicking and screaming back to Batman for me, but rather pushing young and old aside to get at this incredibly engrossing book.
In this issue, Batman and Jim Gordon frantically try to locate Gordon's psychopathic son, James Jr., who has kidnapped Barbara Gordon (formerly Batgirl, currently Oracle) and threatens to kill her...slowly.  James has no powers, no costume, no gang of minions, yet his grip on the characters of this story is possibly tighter than that possessed by any DC villain.  James's dastardly plan is explained first hand as a dying Barbara fights for her life.
My only criticism of this book is that I would have liked to have seen it drawn out for another three or six issues.  There is so much more that Snyder could have done by keeping James Jr. either in the shadows or on the run to keep the creepiness going just a little longer and to have a little more pagetime with Jim Gordon, the most interesting character of this fantastic comic.  
I would also be remiss to not mention the beautiful art team of Jock and Francavilla whose alternating pages turned Snyder's story into a dark, sinister journey that stuck with me even after I set the book down.  Equally important was the phenomenal coloring choices that took the already established mood and ratcheted it up a few more notches.
This issue marks the end of Snyder's Detective run, but in September he will be returning with Batman #1 and I will be there to trip little kids and shove old men into the bushes to get my hands on a copy...or I could just add it to my pull and keep everyone happy.  Scott Snyder's Detective Comics run is DC proper's best series of 2010 and 2011.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
*I still can't find issue*

Criminal: The Last
of the Innocent #3

Criminal: The Last of the Innocent - Written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Phillips, published by Icon, a Marvel Comics imprint.  Another fantastic issue in Brubaker and Phillips best series to date. 
The deed is done and all Riley needs to do is a little damage control until he is finally free of the life he dug himself into, but now he has to live with himself after what he did to his childhood friend.  The man set to take the fall, falls even harder than Riley could ever hope for and things with Lizzie are looking better and better.  Unfortunately, not everyone is convinced Riley is as innocent as he proclaims to be.  
The first two issues in the latest Criminal chapter were an amazing glimpse into the character of Riley and the power of nostalgia for a better time.  This issue was just as good.  The difference is where I previously sympathized with Riley, the repercussions of his actions, primarily the treatment of his "friend" Freakout, are simply too deplorable.  And that is what makes this book so engrossing.  Brubaker succeeds in pulling the reader into his characters, getting them involved, and then shoving them away, only to later offer niceties to bring the reader back to the fold by handing them an ice pack for their blackening eye.  I might not know if I like Riley Richards, but I am damn well going to stick around to see how his story ends.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Morning Glories #11
Morning Glories #11 - Written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Joe Eisma, published by Shadowline, an Image Comics imprint.  After the past couple of issues seemed a bit rushed in both the writing and the art, this issue returns the series to the level that I was accustomed to reading.  This is not saying the other issues were bad, it just felt as though something was missing from them; that is not the case here.
This issue delves--a little--into the story of Ike, the rich, uppity Morning Glory who betrayed his fellow students for apparent personal gain.  Here we see some of his reward (access to the the honored guests suite, "Chelsea, Rachel, Paige," among other things), but now that he has helped the headmasters once, they expect him to kill someone for them; all it takes is a little coaxing.
Although very little is revealed...okay, nothing is revealed about the Morning Glory academy this issue that I could tell, I did find myself enjoying it more than the last couple issues and I am excited for issue 12.  Hopefully some of the questions raised throughout the series begin to find answers.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Red Wing #2
The Red Wing #2 - Written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Nick Pitarra, published by Image Comics.  Where the first issue in this series of four was used predominantly on world building, this issue begins to look more at the characters and the overall story.  I am hooked.
Dominic and Val continue their training to become TAC pilots, although Dom is not progressing as quickly as he would like.  Meanwhile, Dom's father, Robert, is still stranded in the ancient time of the Mayans where he has lived for over a year.  Robert's hopes build when his sensors pick up a time ship, only to realize too late that it is foe, not friend, who has found him and the reveal of the enemy is shocking.  
Although we're only at the halfway point, I'm enjoying Hickman's well-told, thought-provoking tale, but I have to mention that I am blown away by Nick Pitarra's gorgeous line art.  I hope to see more of his work in this book and others soon.  The Red Wing makes a nice jump from last month's recommended to this issue's HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Frankenstein #3
Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #3 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Andy Smith, published by DC Comics.  Another final installment dropped this week...sort of.  This issue is a direct lead-in to the DC re-something-or-other 52 title Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE that will also be written by Jeff Lemire.  Although things wrap up a little too quickly and even a Flashpoint reference or two is dropped, this issue was still quite enjoyable.
Griffith the werewolf is mortally wounded and it is up to the Creatures of the Unknown to get him to safety.  Frankenstein's wife offers to provide transportation if Frankenstein agrees to join SHADE (Super Human Advanced Defense Executive) once the werewolf and the remainder of the team are secure in Romania; if only things were that easy.  Miranda Shrieve learns some harsh truths and the noble acts of one saves the day at a terrible cost.
My main problem with this issue and many other issues ending to make way for the 52 (NOT Detective Comics) is the rushed endings that are occurring.  As I mentioned above, one character gives his/her life to a resounding, "that sucks," and that's it.  Almost no time is given to the character's sacrifice and no emotional repercussions are displayed, which is a shame as Lemire is an expert at writing emotional situations.
Despite this shortcoming, this title succeeds in being weird in the best of ways, reminiscent of some of the most bizarre '70s comics that I grew up reading as a child--only with fewer pages.  I'm glad that this title made the 52 cut and with Lemire infusing his unique, empathetic characterization and adoration of the story styles of the past, this title promises to only get better, IF he is allowed to tell the story how he wants and at his own pace.  A fun read.  RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Time and the Evils of Distraction - Another short one this week folks, unless Obie would like to comment about me, my writing or my odd personal habits, but...he's asleep now.  So let's wrap this up.  This might be a better post for The Brutal Circle, which I might extend over there later, but this past week has not been as productive as I would have liked.  Yes, I'm battling a cold, I was on vacation and I'm tired as all get out, but I also began each writing session by checking emails, scoping the twitters and reading about corporate traitors ruining our country for their own personal gain.  That is not the way to get anything done.  Thankfully, for the past two days I exercised a little self-control and dove immediately into writing and surprise-surprise, I actually got stuff done.  Remember aspiring writers like myself, writing time is for writing (this includes revising).  Keep the interweb mumbo-jumbo, searches, tweets and news for non-writing downtime at the day job. 


Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 8/5/2011

(Sung to the tune of ABBA's "Does Your Mother Know")

Sweet Tooth's hot, thrillin' me
Is it true? Your dumb store didn't set one aside for you?
They skipped Gates of Gotham too?
Rachel Rising is a prize
I can read in your face that it was skipped and it's driving you wild
Argh, did the pull sheet ever get filed?!

Yes you got a bit of money
So it's not very funny
Does your LCS know that they're out?
So stop your cryin' little baby
Purchase online maybe
Does your LCS know that they're out?

Take it easy
(Take it easy)
Take a deep breath, bro
That's no way to go
Does your LCS know?
Take it easy
(Take it easy)
Try to cool it bro
You got
Does your LCS know?

Hi Mom.  Hi my friends' Boston Terrier, Obie.  Don't you--my only two readers--worry your pretty little heads about it.  I did indeed get ahold of all of the comics mentioned in our intro song which was graciously performed by ABBA themselves this fine morning.  We're all good.  So have some kibble, grab a cup of Joe and figure out who gets what between yourselves, because we got a lot to cover today.  It's...

Friday Slice of Heaven


Sweet Tooth #24
Sweet Tooth #24 - Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint.  Last issue ended with an insane cliffhanger that does not get resolved at all in this issue.  Sorry, that's the truth, but it's okay, Lemire still leaves the reader with much to think about and admittedly to be confused by, but I'm sure all will be revealed soon.
After the events of last issue, Gus has a vision complete with a dead animal guide that takes him on a journey both bizarre and somewhat revealing, but it looks like his spiritual journey has just begun.  Meanwhile, panic strikes the travelers and doubt over the sincerity of Walter Fish's motives escalate.
Sweet Tooth  continues to be one of the best books on the stand, even if this particular issue saw little in the way of action or resolution from issue 23.  I will say that this was probably the fastest read that I have ever experienced for the series, not because of edge-of-your-seat page turns, but because of the lack of word balloons, but this is fine.  Like a few issues in the past, the dream sequences are illustrated in a different manner than the rest of the book and appear to be watercolored by Lemire.  I am not positive on his technique, but I will say that the differing style is chilling yet beautiful at the same time.  The bond between Gus and Jepperd is so touching, so heart-wrenching that it is hard not to tear up thinking about it.  Still a fantastic book and I cannot wait for next month.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batman Gates of
Gotham #4
Batman Gates of Gotham #4 - Plotted by Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins, Written by Kyle Higgins and Ryan Parrott, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen and Derec Donovan, published by DC Comics.  Huh...Okay...looks like there's a lot of people involved in this issue, which I guess is a result of tying up this series in time for the 52 reboot refresh relaunch reawesomifying of the DC Universe.
As Robin and Red Robin clash with the Architect and pretty much get their asses handed to them, Batman and Black Bat rush to their aid.  The four determine that the Architect has more nefarious plans than simply blowing up bridges with his grand scheme threatening the entirety of Gotham City itself.  But, Batman has a plan...
Although this issue was very enjoyable, the change in artist was jarring.  This is not to say that the new artists are not talented, only that I would have liked to have seen Trevor McCarthy finish the five-issue run of the series, but those dang 52 are just around the corner and it wasn't meant to be.  This issue also seemed slightly rushed from both an art and a writing standpoint and was not as tightly plotted as previous issues; again the big 52.
Still highly enjoyable and a great read, I look forward to the final issue in two weeks.  RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising #1
Rachel Rising #1 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studios.  Having just finished reading the sixth volume of Moore's Echo, I was thrilled that Rachel Rising was just around the corner and I was lucky enough to grab the last copy at my LCS; I confirmed it is now in my pull.
The story opens with a mysterious woman walking through the woods to witness Rachel rising from her own grave at the bottom of a pit.  Lost and confused as to what happened to her, Rachel shambles home to find little in the way of answers as to the what has transpired, why she has rope burns around her neck and why her eyes look so odd.
This issue does not divulge much in the way of who Rachel is or what happened to her, but Moore does an amazing job of leaving the reader wanting to know more.  Instead of the characterization that I love from Moore's other works, this issue sets a tone, a mood of just how dark this issue will be, and he does this wonderfully.  Rachel Rising looks to be a slowburn murder-horror-mystery story that will unwind at precisely the pace Moore wishes for it to be unraveled. The back Fabio Moon cover is beautiful and also worth mentioning.  The wait between issues promises to be painful in the best kind of way.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Superboy #10
Superboy #10 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Pete Woods, Cafu and Bit, Paulo Siqueira and Andrew Mangum, and published by DC Comics.The penultimate issue of Superboy has arrived and although I enjoyed this installment, this issue fell a little flat compared to the creepiness of the previous issues, but with the impending DC 52 bomb about to strike in September I can understand why.  The book focuses on the big baddie, who just so happens to not be Eben Took, but Tannarak a sorcerer from the time of Atlantis. Tannarak's history takes up most of the real estate of this issue as we see portions of his life as depicted by four different artists. We also learn the reason for the downfall of the Took family and Lemire succeeds in having the reader actually sympathize with the now diabolical man. Oddly enough, Superboy does not even show up until the last couple of pages, and Krypto is no where to be seen. In all, we learn a little about the main bad guy, some of Took's backstory and nothing happens for the star of the show.
Lemire has a lot to wrap up in one issue and I am not all that certain that he will be able to do so with his allotted 20 pages. This is a shame as when not mired in events the series has been quite enjoyable, and I would have loved to have seen what Lemire had in store for Connor Kent. If Donist were a bettin' man, he would bet that Tannarak was to be a villain later in the series and there would have been a few more issues of the hollow men, but hey, whatchagonnado? I will say that I am excited for his upcoming Animal Man series, but I still would have liked a few more issues of Superboy so that it could wind down at a more reasonable pace. That said, I am still looking forward to the next (last) issue. RECOMMENDED!

Friday Slice Into the Woods

Comics - I didn't finish reading' 'em. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because I'm still kind of on vacation, but I did want to get something up on Friday. It's "Friday Slice of Heaven" dammit, not "Whenever Slice of Heaven." So there might be a .5 installment on Saturday or Sunday if the books I have are worth talking about. I will say that I regrettably did not get a copy of Severed by Scott Snyder, but it is on order, so hopefully I'll be able to talk about that book soon; I am sure I will like it.

Are there any books that you feel I should have read this week? Let me know. I'm always looking for something new, just don't tell my poor wounded wallet.