Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/07/2011

(Sung to the tune of Hall & Oats's "Your Kiss Is On My List")

Obie wonders why I buy books
All of the time, what can I say
I don't think they'll ever give Animal Man away
He's not sure about Chew but I know that I'm right, all right

He's just better off listening to my dang advice
But I insist that Sweet Tooth is bliss, I tell him this
Is Action Comics good? You bet it is!
Puppy just buy the comic and I'll tell you why

(It's my pull list)
That title's on my list
(It's my pull list)
That title's on my list
(Swamp Thing is on my list)
Of the best things in life

Thank you Misters Hall and Oats for visiting me while I convalesce and for performing this week's Donist World opening song for both myself and my friends' Boston Terrier, Obie, one of my two faithful readers...hi Mom.  Anyway thanks again and I am indeed happy to be off the vicodin and able to string together a semi-compent string of thoughts and words.  I would say that the past week has been a long one, but that is not necessarily true as it is all one big blur, which is probably for the best, but good thing that I am on the mend as there were a few books that I had to read and tell y'all about this week.  So here comes...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Animal Man #2
Animal Man #2 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Travel Foreman, published by DC Comics.  If my LCS had not pulled this title for me this week, I would have been pretty upset as this is the comic in the new 52 that I enjoyed the most.  But did it deliver everything that I hoped a followup issue could deliver?  Oh yes, very much so.
The Baker family is shocked to their very foundations when they find their youngest child, Maxine, in the backyard playing with some of the neighborhood animals.  The only problem is that all of the animals are dead.  Aside from resurrecting pets, Maxine exhibits powers that rival those of her father and she has a knowledge of "the red" that is far beyond her years.  When Buddy again bleeds from the eyes and strange markings, almost like tattoos, appear on his body, his daughter is the one who points out that the markings are a map to "the red."  An angry neighbor discovers first hand (get it? gotta read it) the disturbing effects of what Max can do, and Animal Man and his daughter fly off on their journey.  At the end, the monstrosities from the first issue make an appearance in one of the most horrific scenes I have ever seen. 
Wow!  I blazed through this book and was saddened that I now have a month-long wait for the next installment.  Reading the story of Maxine and Buddy reminds me of the great Alan Moore issues of Miracleman with the immensely powerful Winter explaining the world to her father who can no longer keep up with his daughter.  Lemire ups the horror aspect of this exceptional book to eleven, instilling the reader with a feeling of dread but leaving them unable to turn away.  Travel Foreman's art is now the only art that I can imagine on Animal Man, with his ability to one moment show the emotion and vulnerabilities of the Baker family and the next show the grotesque nature of the Hunters Three.  Complementing Foreman's beautiful art is the coloring of Lovern Kindzierski, who uses a muted coloring beautifully to remind the reader that they are reading a comic book and a great one at that.  This is the best book of the current 52 and I cannot express enough how great it is.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

Swamp Thing #2
Swamp Thing #2 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Yanick Paquette, published by DC Comics.  My only complaint with the first issue is that there was some confusion as to what was going on and what had happened in the past.  This issue managed to clarify on what had happened.
The story opens with World War II fighter pilot Calbraith A.H. Rodgers recounting his life and recounting his need to be a pilot in order to be as far away from the ground and "the green" as possible.  But when he is shot down he is eventually taken and changed into the Swamp Thing of the time.  This Swamp Thing is who stands before the resurrected Alec Holland to ask him to become a champion of "the green" and challenge the horror that is Sethe, the opposing force to both "the green" and "the red," a force of rot and decay.  Having left the protection of the Parliament of Trees and deteriorating rapidly, with his dying breath the Swamp Thing warns Holland to beware the woman with the white hair.  Holland returns to his room only to find the property is overrun with the dead, all of whom have their heads facing backward.  When all seems lost, a woman with a motorcycle rescues Alex, but he might just be in worse shape than he was before, as this woman has white hair.
Swamp Thing and Animal Man are the perfect complementary books to one another and I hope that they stay that way for a long time to come.  Snyder is no stranger to writing compelling horror stories, and this one does not spare the chills for a moment.  Paquette only adds to the fear and darkness with amazing art with my only complaint being that some of the pages are a tad confusing in regard to text balloon flow, but with a little effort the story soon became clear.  Swamp Thing is a scary comic and one that should be read right before bedtime and in the same sitting as Animal Man.  The next issue cannot come soon enough.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Action Comics #2
Action Comics #2 - Written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Rags Morales, published by DC Comics.  Here I am back after a month and excited for a Superman book...a Superman book.  Who would have ever thunk it?  Not me, that is for sure and this month's installment does not disappoint, rather it exceeded my already high expectations.
The man of steel is being held prisoner by Lex Luthor to determine any and all weaknesses that the alien might have.  The testing is not going well...for Luthor or the military.  Lois Lane knows that Superman is being held on the base and attempts to talk her way into seeing the man who saved her and Jimmy Olsen last issue, but Superman has already made his escape.   The story ends with Lex receiving a call from someone I was not expecting in the least.
Action Comics has managed to reignite my love of Superman, something I had lost more that two decades ago.  Morrison provides an interesting take on the early years of the man of steel and provides the back story for the enmity that will eventually rise between Kal-El and Lex Luthor.  Rags Morales provides more stunning artwork, not counting a couple odd shots of Lois Lane.  Action Comics continues to be fun and exciting and I highly anticipate issue three, which for a lapsed Superman fan is a feat in itself.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew #21
Chew # 21 - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics.  Chew has not failed me yet, and I would say that this latest issue was just as good as all the others, but it isn''s even better.
Applebee is overjoyed to finally be rid of Tony Chu, after firing him and having him moved down to the traffic division.  Tony has to wear a silly getup, and where he leaves dreading his first day of work at the new job, things don't go all that bad.  Where Applebee hated him, his new boss, Marshall Mello, welcomes him to the team wholeheartedly and Tony is taken aback by the kind treatment.  But handing out parking citations begins to weigh heavily on the cibopath until a crime scene presents itself and this newly appointed traffic cop takes charge and solves the case.  The only question is, how will Mello take the news of Tony going outside of his current duties.
This issue was classic and the first two pages of Applebee skipping through the street--especially the Michael Jackson homage--are some of the funniest pages I have read outside of Axe Cop.  This comic continues to attempt to gross out readers, but at the heart of each issue is a great story with unique and fantastic art that make this series a joy to read.  Everyone should be reading this book.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sweet Tooth #26
Sweet Tooth #26 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Matt Kindt, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint.  With the past couple of issues we have been left with Gus on the verge of dying from a gunshot wound inflicted by an unknown assailant and the group becoming divided over their next course of action.  This issue, everything comes to a head as...well...okay, nothing comes to a head.  The latest chapter of Sweet Tooth does not feature a single panel of Gus, Jepperd, Singh or any of the group.
In 1911, Dr. James Thacker embarks on a voyage to locate his sister's long-lost husband-to-be, who journeyed to Alaska  to spread the word of Christ to the native "seal-eating savages." The journey to Alaska is long and tedious, but it is the journey across the ice itself where the terror and the danger rises.  The team's dogs are brutally slaughtered, the deathly silent church they find holds a terrible truth and Louis is found...only he has gone through some changes.
This is a great story and one that I would have bought outside of the Sweet Tooth universe for its slow build horror factor and eye-catching art of Matt Kindt.  That said, I was surprised to see that after being taken on the journey of Gus dying for the past three issues, that this new three-issue arc does not feature any of the main characters at all.  In fact, the only similarity this story holds to the main one is the goal of reaching Alaska.  I have every confidence that Lemire will flawlessly weave the two stories together, but for my sake, I hope that happens very soon...preferably next issue to some degree.  Definitely still worth a read.  RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Hey Wait...Where's My Stormwatch #2 - Awwwww...shucks.

Off Vicodin but on Benadryl - "What does this have to do with comics?" Obie is asking me.  Good question Obie.  Well, while taking Vicodin, reading comics--or anything for that matter--is somewhat of a chore, and writing about comics is all but impossible.  But now it turns out that I'm allergic to the glue that was used on all four incisions and I am on Benadryl, which provides roughly the same effect.  I just know that the Umbrella Corporation is behind these two drugs somehow.  Now if I could get up from the couch long enough to research and prove--Oh look...Resident Evil: Afterlife is on.  Sweet.


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