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.


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