Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 9/16/2011

(Sung to the tune of Berlin's "Metro")

Demon Knights
With Etrigan's got lotsa class
She's kicking all kinds of ass
Monsters threaten Frankenstein
Sinestro as Green Lantern's fine
Diggin' the 52
DC really aims to please

Looks like I only bought one Marvel book
I got the amazing Criminal
I Just remembered Grifter rocking it, "gd"
Buying books at Metro

Per Obie's demand kind request, I am going to keep the intro brief and to the point as there were many great books that were released this week.  So much so, that I did not get to read everything that I bought yet and I expect some--if not all--will spill over into next week's installment.  I did read all of the new DC 52 books that I bought, all of which are listed below, so have a look and let me know what you think or if there is something else I need to check out.
"gd!"  Let's do this thing.

Friday Slice of Heaven


Criminal: The Last of
The Innocent #4
Criminal: The Last of the Innocent #4 - Written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Phillips, published by Icon, a Marvel Comics Imprint.  The only non-number one issue of the week is also one of the best and despite DC dominating my read pile with some amazing books, Marvel did have this Hope Diamond-sized gem.
Riley Richards is almost there.  He's so close to getting away with it all he can taste it.  Yes he murdered his wife and styled the killing after a suspected serial killer long thought gone, and he also framed the man who was screwing his wickedly cruel wife with the crime.  Then there is the matter of his old pal, Freakout, whose life is falling apart because of Riley using the recovering substance abuser, but hey, Riley got the money.  He also got the girl, the girl he should have been with all along, the one he was meant to be with.  Unfortunately his dead wife's father suspects foul play and has hired a detective and Freakout might not be as incoherent and oblivious as Riley had originally thought.  Will he pull off his last shot at happiness and the ultimate crime.
I have enjoyed every one of Brubaker and Phillips various Criminal books, but "The Last of the Innocent" pulled me in deeper than any of the excellent installments that preceded this exceptionally-told tale.  I loved the characters, and found myself wanting Riley to succeed, which is disturbing as the man is a selfish, gambling addicted, back-stabbing murderer who seeks to reclaim the road not traveled as a result of his own poor choices; therein lies part of Brubaker and Phillips's magic in telling a powerful story.  This book is a must-own for all fans of the noir genre and something that I will be rereading in its entirety in the coming months.  I also would like to that covers of this four issue series be released as an edition of mini posters as they are some of the most striking and beautiful images I have ever seen.  What do you say Marvel?  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batwoman #1

Batwoman #1 - Written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman and illustrated by J.H. Williams III, published by DC Comics.  After a long and confusing break between issue number zero and number one, the book I have been anticipating has finally arrived, but was it worth the wait?  Oh yes, it most definitely was worth the wait.  The original Batwoman run in Detective Comics  (I wrote about that one here) is one of the coolest stories enhanced by the most gorgeous and striking artwork. This new series continues to blow me away.
The story opens with a bang as the creepy, apparition of a woman attempts to drown three children while leaving the parents paralyzed with fear.  Batwoman (Kate Kane) interrupts the drowning only to watch the children vanish along with the ghost, leaving her promising to find the missing kids.  The following day, Kate makes a date with female Detective Sawyer who is investigating the case.  In the absence of her father, with whom she is no longer on speaking terms, Kate has taken on her cousin, Bette Kane, as a partner to train, but the situation becomes complicated when her father returns.  With six kids drowned and the lives of thirteen missing children at stake, Batwoman sets out to find them only to receive an offer of assistance that she was not expecting.
J.H. Williams III's beautiful art is something that I have not been shy over exalting and this book continues to be a stunning example of his talents, but the book also showcases his writing skills in coordination with Blackman, his cowriter.  Kate Kane is a powerful lead character and possibly the highest profile lesbian superhero, without being exploitive, in comics today.  This issue is fairly accessible, but some of the flashback scenes, primarily the one that depict a werewolf and a squidly, might confuse the dickens out of new readers; everything else should be perfectly understandable.  I loved this book and can't wait for issue two.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Demon Knights
Demon Knights #1 - Written by Paul Cornell and illustrated by Diogenes Neves, published by DC Comics.  I've always loved the character of Etrigan the Demon ever since I first saw an add for The Demon #1 as everythinged by Jack Kirby in the '70s, and I have to admit that I was a tad worried about how this series would handle my much-loved, yellow-skinned demonic character.  I can rest easy after reading this great first issue.
After Camelot has fallen and Excaliber tossed into the lake, Madame Xanadu leaps from King Arthur's Avalon bound vessel to retrieve the legendary sword only to have it and her boat vanish, leaving her stranded.  Merlin the Magician decides to merge the captured demon, Etrigan, with the human Jason of Norwich leaving the two as one in order to fulfill a vision of the future.  Four hundred years later, the enemies of the story, The Questing Queen and Mordru, commit a bloody awful act of evil magic as they prepare to lay siege to every town and village that they pass.  Jason/Etrigan are traveling with Madame Xanadu and share an interesting relationship and come across their acquaintance Vandal Savage, the immortal barbarian, and later meet the youthful Sir Ystin, the Shining Knight.  Two more characters are introduced--Al Jabr and Exoristos--and look to join the group in the future if they all can survive an assault of the Questing Queen's horde.  But when Jason summons forth Etrigan to soak the floor with the blood of the raiders, Mordru sends some dastardly creatures to deal with those who oppose the Queen's will.
Cornell has created a fun, action-filled romp that wastes no time getting things moving.  Characters are introduced quickly and I know all of them with the exception of Al Jabr and Exoristos who I am sure will be explained later and this version of the Shining Knight looks to be the one from Grant Morrison's the Seven Soldiers series that I now must read.  I found Neves's art beautiful and well-suited to this Dark Ages tale.  Demon Knights is accessible to any new reader who is a fan of the fantasy genre.  A demonically good read.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Frankenstein Agent
of SHADE #1
Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1- Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Alberto Ponticelli, published by DC Comics.  Looking to take a journey into the weird?  Well, if you are--and you "gd" should be if you visit Donist World often--then Lemire's Frankenstein is the book for you.
The book opens with a boy and his grandfather fishing at a lake when a bunch of revolting monsters murder a dog (in gruesome fashion) and then proceed to tear apart the town.  While that is occurring, Frankenstein enters the new S.H.A.D.E. (Super Human Advanced Defense Executive) which is a three-inch indestructible sphere called "The Ant Farm" that requires visitors to be both teleported and shrunk down to size through the utilization of Ray Palmer's (The Atom from DC books of long ago) technology.  Frankie meets up with his "father" who has since taken the shape of a 12-year-old girl with a domino mask and Sailor Moon outfit ( wanted weird).  It is brought to Frankie's attention that his wife--a four-armed, green-skinned killing machine--went to stop the monsters and mysteriously vanished.  The Creature Commandos are introduced: Dr. Nina Masursky (gill woman), Warren Griffith (werewolf), Vincent Velcoro (vampire) and Khalis (mummy).  The team then heads out to confront the monster menace and find a startling discovery in the basement of a church.
I did not make up anything in the synopsis above...Jeff Lemire did, and he is awesome for it.  Those who read Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown, might be a little confused as to how that series leads into this one as a character who died in FatCotU is alive and well in this one and other characters don't appear at all, but an important thing to consider is that we got a mummy now, which is A-okay in my book.  As far as what happened in-between, I'm just going to chalk it up to a Flashpoint thing and since I did not follow the main book, I will just go with the flow.  The art took me a little getting used to, but around the half way point the roughness of the lines worked in the book's favor and set the mood.  Frankenstein is as weird as they come, but also loads of fun and something that any horror/camp/cult flick fan can jump right into.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Green Lantern #1
Green Lantern #1 - Written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Doug Mahnke, published by DC Comics.  I fell in love with the Green Lantern books during the Sinestro Corp War event from a few years ago and followed along with the introduction of the Red Lanterns, the Orange Lanterns and the rest of them.  I was psyched for the Blackest Night storyline, but was left less than enthused and Brightest Day put me off on Green Lantern all together.  If it were not for the respected opinion of a friend, I did not intend to pick this book up at all.  I'm glad I did.
Sinestro is once again a Green Lantern and the Guardians allow him to return to duty protecting his sector, despite protests from Ganthet who is lobotomized(?) by his fellow Guardians after Sinestro leaves.  Meanwhile, Hal Jordan is struggling in the real world with bills, rent and his own attitude issues that no longer work in his favor.  After his arrest and subsequent bail post by Carol Ferris, things only get worse.  Sinestro returns to his home planet of Korugar to see his old Yellow Corp subjugating his people in much the same way that he once did.  Less than pleased, he decides to seek the aid of an unlikely ally.
From what I read, Green Lantern and Batman are both books that will continue from where things left off in August, so I am unsure of why Sinestro is once again a Green Lantern and at odds with his Yellow Lantern corp, but that does not matter.  Sinestro is one of my favorite villains and I am intrigued at seeing how he handles life on the side of the "good guys" for a change, despite his eyes still burning yellow with the power of fear.  Seeing Hal Jordan fumble around his life as a civilian was a great character piece that honestly left me feeling bad for the cocky ex-hero.  Green Lantern left me with renewed interest in the book and excited to see what comes next.  As for a new reader, enough information is given to provide some idea of what is going on, but overall I can see reading this book as daunting for them; if they had seen this summer's Green Lantern movie that won't help matters.  This issue was exciting and left me hungry to see what was next which was pleasantly unexpected.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Grifter #1
Grifter #1 - Written by Nathan Edmonson and illustrated by Cafu, published by DC Comics.  Although I have known of the Grifter character from seeing him pop up in various old Wildstorm comics, I know next to nothing of who he is or what his powers and motivations are.  The purchase of this book was entirely off of the fact that I am a big fan of Edmonson's work, so it is of little surprise that I really enjoyed the first issue of Grifter.
Cole Cash is a con man wanted by the same dangerous people he has recently conned, and now all law enforcement agencies are also after him as he is a suspected terrorist and serial killer.  Life was fine for Cole until the day he was grabbed off the street by mysterious assailants and later awoke to sinister voices in his head that revealed aliens/demons that walk among us.  Too bad other people cannot hear the voices that prompt Cole to kill two individuals aboard a plane before jumping to the water below.  Unknown to Cole is that his brother, a special operations officer is now on his trail as well as the many people he has wronged.  How long was Cole unconscious?  Was it 17 minutes, 17 hours or 17 days?  What's with 17?
As I eagerly await the finale of Edmonson's fantastic Who is Jake Ellis?, Grifter looks to be a thrill ride adventure series of spys, conspiracies and a "hero" of questionable mental stability.  I was pleased to see Cafu's lovely art pushing the story and tension along and I look forward to discovering this new/old character and what this team has in store for him.  Easily accessible to anyone who is a fan of thought provoking action and conspiracy stories, Grifter is a smart fun comic that I look forward to reading for a long time to come.  RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

DC's Version of Where's Waldo...errr...the Lady in Red - Alright, this is not really a gripe or a problem, just a point of confusion.  So what is the deal with the mysterious Lady in Red who appears in each of the new 52 books anyways?  The most popular theory is that she is the big reset button on the the DC Universe if things were to blow up in the comic company's face, which does not appear to be an issue if sales continue to be high.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, look for the lady with the red hood that is hidden somewhere in one of the panels of each of the 52.  Trust me, cue up some Chris De Burgh's "Lady In Red" and play some "find the hooded chick," it's fun for about ten minutes.

Gd Retailers Getting All gd Incensed Over gd Crap
Sorry about that.  My dog jumped on my lap three times while writing the title of this entry and knocked the wind out of me...much in the way being hit by a shell fired from a tank would feel, I guess.  Anyhow some retailer got all bent out of shape over Superman saying the incredibly insulting, make-your-momma-cry, I-can't-believe-it's-not-butter sound of "gd."  You read that right, folks.  "Gd."  I think I might be sick I'm so appalled.  How could Grant Morrison commit such an affront and cause this poor, lone retailer to threaten to not stock the book or any other Morrison books?  And just in time for Banned Book Week no less!  Ban it!  Ban it!  Ban it!
"Gd."  What was the goddamn retailer thinking?!  Goddamnit!

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