Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/21/2011

(Sung to the tune of Electric Light Orchestra's "Evil Woman")

I'm all happy you see, 'cause good comic books will never end.

Hey Obie, you got the blues, cos you ain't got no books to peruse
Visit your LCS, you know where, you need some titles?
Best get over there
I'm kind of stoked that Mystic three came in
But I missed issue two which equals no win
Won-der Woman it's a total gas
Snyder's Batman, it's great, you bet your ass.

W-Wonder Woman, W-Wonder Woman, W-Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman

After last week's monster FSoH/SitW entry with so many fantastic comics, it was kind of a relief to only have three books to talk about.  I'm certain there would have been four books, but I will have to put a temporary hold on Mystic #3, as my LCS skipped on issue #2 and I'm not going to read them out of order; the first issue was great btw.  I will also mention that I picked up Justice League #2, which was okay, but not for me.  I must mention that Jim Lee's art on this issue was out of control in it's beauty and definitely something to be admired.  Again, it just wasn't my cup of tea.  For now, here are the three wonderful books that I loved this week...drumroll please, Obie, it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Batman #2
Batman #2 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics.  In a past few FSoH/SitW entries, I discussed how blown away I was by Scott Snyder's Detecive Comics run (available on Comixology and in hardcover in November, you owe it to yourself to pick it up!) and how I loved the dark, twisted, slow-burn tale he was telling.  It was genuinely scary, but something that I could not put down.  The new 52 reboot and Snyder's move to the Batman proper title is not quite as dark, but just as enjoyable.
The story opens with Bruce Wayne thinking about the architecture of Gotham and Wayne tower in particular as he is thrown through one of the "unbreakable" windows by an assassin, and left to plummet to his death.  24 hours earlier, Batman foils a robbery attempt involving a helicopter, a train and the batcycle in way that shows just how kickass Batman really is.  Later, Jim Gordon examines the autopsied body of the dead man from the first issue and is joined by Batman via a holographic image and scanner that Batman installed in the morgue to avoid having to break in on a regular basis.  The two come to a few conclusions about the man, but Batman does not disclose that the skin found under his fingernails belongs to Dick Grayson...Nightwing.  Back at the tower right before the story opener, Bruce Wayne meets with Lincoln March "the next mayor of Gotham" and the pair are assaulted by a Court of Owls assassin, a group who Batman has denied even exists.  Wayne gets trounced pretty bad, but manages to survive the encounter while the assassin, who should be dead from the fall, escapes, seemingly unscathed.
Crimony!  This was a great comic.  Issue one was very good, but served mostly to (re)introduce the reader to Batman, Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne and set up the story.  This issue opens with action and keeps the momentum going for the entire issue, while upping the creepiness factor and the threat level.  Snyder succeeds in taking Batman and his unshakeable confidence in his knowledge of everything Gotham and begins to methodically fracture that certainty.  I'm anxious to see how this turns out for Batman, it's probably not going to be pretty.  Then there is the matter of Greg Capullo's beautiful art that improves upon the already impressive first issue and FCO's colors which bring mood and life to Capullo's images in stunning fashion.  Very enjoyable and one the best of the 52.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wonder Woman #1
Wonder Woman #1 - Written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Cliff Chiang, published by DC Comics.  I have really wanted to find a jumping on point with Wonder Woman, spending much time perusing the intimidating number of tpb's, written by a multitude of writers and with differing looks of the Amazon warrior whether in her classic gear, business suits, leather jackets with shoulder pads and long pants, or spy gear, and each time I have turned away, usure of where to start.  Thank goodness for the DC 52 reboot.  I missed this first issue the first time around, which was disappointing, but going to the glass half-full side, I got the second print and issue two on the same day.
Wonder Woman begins with a depiction of Apollo that I have never seen before: wealthy, business suit, ebony skin and burning eyes.  Apollo is attempting to locate his missing father, Zeus, who is supposedly off catting around with whatever mortal woman he can find.  A naked woman in a peacock cloak and hood creates a pair of centaurs in a horrific manner unlike anything I have ever seen before.  We then jump to a woman named Zola, who has Hermes, the messenger of the gods--also given a unique appearance--held at gunpoint, but the god is then gravely wounded by the centaurs who are after Zola, or mainly the child that she unknowingly carries; Zeus's child.  Hermes gives the panicked girl a key that teleports her to Diana, Wonder Woman, and Zola brings the warrior woman back to where the injured Hermes lies.  A brutal and intense fight between the Amazon and the centaurs erupts and Wonder Woman easily shows just how formidable she is.
Fast paced, exciting and a great (re)introduction to this amazing hero that embraces the mythological and skirts the lines of horror, providing a book that is everything I enjoy and should be enjoyable to others as well.  To those less familiar with Greek mythology, there will be some confusion as to what is going on, but things will be clarified as the story progresses.  Little insight into Wonder Woman's history is spent in these pages, and that is fine.  The reader knows that Wonder Woman is a protector of those in harm's way and at the same time a ruthless, cunning warrior not to be taken lightly and Azzarello shows this through her actions as opposed to exposition.  Cliff Chang's art is perfectly suited to the Princess of Power with smooth transitions from normal people talking, then to a horrific event and then to intense action.  I also liked the subtle touch of Diana's room in London that gave further insight into Wonder Woman's character by showing that she does not have any art or plants or personal keepsakes, only practical items: a bed, a wardrobe, a chair and water.  Also worthy of mentioning is Matthew Wilson's coloring that helped all of the characters stand out and provided additional tension to the action scenes.  Overall, this was a fantastic book that I expect to be reading for quite some time and a perfect jumping on point for those not knowing where to begin.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wonder Woman #2
Wonder Woman #2Written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Cliff Chiang, published by DC Comics.  In case you didn't notice from the previous review, I was pretty blown away by the first issue of Wonder Woman and the second issue did not disappoint.
This issue opens with the purple-toned Strife (no idea who she is in Greek Mythology) speaking with Zeus's wife, Hera, about Zeus's dalliances and confirming that Hera wishes to destroy the child that Zola carries.  Diana, Zola and an injured Hermes travel to Paradise Island where we are introduced to Wonder Woman's mother, Hippolyta, and her great big axe.  Hermes gets bandaged up and tells Zola the legend of Diana's creation out of clay by the barren Hippolyta.  Wonder Woman agrees to a sparring match with her friend Aleka in one heck of a cool battle spread, until Strife comes down to Paradise Island, looking not for Zola but Wonder Woman, leaving many dead Amazons in her wake.
Another fast moving issue with only slightly less action, Azzarello's tale is no less compelling.  Although we only get to see a small glimpse of Paradise Island, it is apparent that there is a deep and rich history waiting to be explored and one that I hope to see told over the coming year, with other characters like Hippolyta and Aleka given some additional development.  First thing's first, though, and the mystery of Wonder Woman's back story looks to be an exciting one.  Chiang's art is again stellar and I am going to do search to see what else he has done, while Matthew Wilson's colors continue to add additional life to the already beautiful characters.  I can't wait to see what happens in issue three.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

I Have Mystic #3 But Not Mystic #2 - Grrrrrrr...I really want to read this book, but I can't go out of sequence on this really cool four-issue mini.  It's on order so hopefully in a couple weeks I will have a copy in my collection.

Further Health Issues - I'm writing a long piece about what has been going on over the past three weeks, that I am deciding whether or not I should post.  I probably will, but we'll see.  Let's just say it hasn't been pleasant and has been quite scary, but I am hoping things are finally under control and that I am recovering.   I am beyond thankful for my wife's help and caring through everything; she is the true Wonder Woman.  I'm also glad to have more of my wits about me so I can continue writing and working on my projects and such.

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