Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 1/13/2012

(Sung to the tune of Bee Gees's "Night Fever")

Listen to the sound:
Donist World what's goin' down?
There are comics all around
And I can feel it

With a warm heartfelt stare
I'll tell you what's out there.
It is somethin we can share,
You can feel it.

And that groovin' Batwoman
She sure likes to fight
Kidnapper ghosts with no soul.
You should also buy Shade
Yeah, Cooke's guest art's dynamite,

Got Demon Knight fever, Knight fever.
You know that you love it.
Love Demon Knight fever, Knight fever.
You know how to show it.

My oh my.  The first two weeks of the month keep turning out to be whopper comic book release days for me, which I am more than cool with, but taking the time to write up reviews for each of the ones that I love is becoming difficult to do.  So, with Obie's permission, I'm going to try something a little different going forward.  I'm going to do three of the usual mini-reviews with a section below that with a less-detailed shout out to all the other books that wowed me that week.  If it happens that more than three comics leave me in a stunned state of comic book heaven, then I will of course write something about each of the books regardless of how many there are.
Now, why am I doing this?  Well, I have a ton of projects that I'm working on, both comics and prose, and then not just writing, but lettering and coloring as well.  This will include different types of posts here at Donist World, AND continuing the Friday Slice of Heaven posts that my mom and Obie, my friends' Boston terrier, have come to love.  My hope is to have my work begin to show up throughout the year for others to see and enjoy.  I also want to be sure that everything is done right and without a rushed feel to it.
All of that said, let's get to it.  Obie...the curtain, please.  It's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

*Possible Spoilers Below*

Batwoman #5
Batwoman #5 - Written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, illustrated by J.H. Williams III and published by DC Comics.  Quiero ver el hombre Pajarito.  ¿Donde está Pajarito?  Sorry, had to put in a little joke here.  I noticed countless webizens referring to the character with the hooked hand who eviscerated Flamebird in the previous issue as "Pajarito."  Now, my Spanish is very rusty, but "pajarito" translates to "little bird", which I take to refer to Flamebird and not the creepy-as-heck, unnamed Frankenstein guy.  I honestly can't see that horror show of a man being called "Little Bird."  Could you imagine, "Oh no!  Look out it's the vicious, serial killer Little Bird!  Don't let him gut you!"  It's kind of like if Darkseid had his name changed to "Good Friend" or "Cupcake" or "Blue Mini Skirt" or something along those lines.  Ahora la revisíon.
Annnnnyyywho, Batwoman is still a great book, but still rushed and I wish the creative team had the long-extinct 24 pages to allow this tale a bit of room to breathe.
Kate Kane meditates for bit and knows how to defeat the Weeping Woman, taking the fight back to the haunted boathouse where a couple of issues ago she nearly drowned.  The ghost appears to put Kate Kane through the ringer, once again using the memory of her deceased (?) twin sister Beth against her, but Kate is strong enough to resist and makes the Weeping Woman acknowledge her own worst fears.  With the ghost dispelled, but still no information on the missing children, Kate returns home to continue the search, but instead finds Agent Chase and Director Bones in her home and they are both fully aware of her superhero identity.  She makes a deal that she has no choice but to accept and later has to explain herself to Batman.  Nothing matters, just so long as Batwoman finds the missing children; the consequences of her decisions will have to wait.
This was another great issue for a series that I very much enjoy, but as I mentioned above, the story seemed like it was cramming too much into its twenty pages.  Of course the art is gorgeous, the story engaging and I am dying to see Batwoman put the smackdown on Hooky, which is why I anticipate this book so much each month.  It would have been nice to see a little more than one page of Kate meditating to discover how to defeat the ghost.  As it was, it seemed as if she sat down and figured it all out in a second and then walked across the street to the boat house.  This isn't the fault of the creators, but an unfortunate effect of the 20-page format and adhering the storyline to be in a trade.  Despite this small gripe, it all boils down to me wanting more, more, more of this great series with one of the coolest and toughest superhero female characters in print.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Shade #4
The Shade #4 - Written by James Robinson and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke, published by DC Comics.  Hold on a second there, pardner.  What the what?  Somehow the fact that Darwyn Cooke would be illustrating this issue escaped me, but dang if that was not a pleasant surprise when I opened this book.  I will have to look into it, but I believe Cooke is on for the next two installments and then a new artist will join for three issues and another for the final three.  Sounds like a plan, Stan.
The story opens with The Shade reminiscing the year 1944 when he learned of a plot against his great-grandson, Darnell Caldecott.  The Shade had made it a habit of keeping tabs on his heirs and with his newfound intel he put both plans and people in motion to protect Caldecott.  Vigilante (who I knew from the JLU cartoons) and Madam Fatal (who I'm still thrown for a loop over) are two such protectors who have to find Caldecott's missing wife and to rescue Caldecott himself from a hijacked plane.  The day is of course won and The Shade speaks with his great grandson for the first time, leaving the reader to wonder why Caldecott has put out a hit on The Shade's life in today's time.
The Shade continues to be a fun read and this issue provides a nice glimpse at the villain-turned-sort-of-hero and his machinations throughout history.  Even though this is a break in the cool story that we have been following, this relevant look into Dickie Swift's past is enjoyable and something I wouldn't mind seeing more of in future issues or once the maxi-series has ended.  I would love a "The Shade Through History" book, but for that to happen, sales need to be higher than I suspect that they are.  Cooke's art is a wonderful addition to the title, especially given the time period, and Robinson's noir-inspired story of betrayal kept me along for the ride.  My one point of confusion is Madam Fatal...did this person exist in comics before this issue?!  If so, the creator of Madam Fatal is ahead of the times.  If you enjoyed Robinson's Starman books, then there is no reason to not pick up this comic.  RECOMMENDED!

Demon Knights #5
Demon Knights #5 - Written by Paul Cornell and illustrated by Diogenes Neves, published by DC Comics.  I'm still enjoying this series despite the fact that Etrigan and Jason Blood have had precious little face time in a series that I thought was supposed to center around them.  This is fine since each of the characters appearing in this book are fascinating in their own right and at times eclipse the supposed star of the series.  Last issue left off on a cruel cliffhanger with the horse woman (does she have a name?) firing an arrow into Exoristos without warning.
The Demon Knights fall into fighting amongst themselves in the face of the certain doom of the Queen's horde who are waiting to strike.  The archer explains that she is enraged with Exoristos, who turns out to be an Amazonian, for causing the death of the young girl a couple of issues ago.  Vandal Savage begins to loose heart.  Mordru "visits" most of the Demon Knights to tempt them into abandoning the fight so the Wandering Queen can kill the Shining Knight and claim the grail that will allow her to rule New Camelot.  Mordru is outwitted by Jabr, who learns from the magician of a way to possibly stop the Queen.  The archer proves to be as dangerous as ever and one of the Knights commits an atrocity that pulls them away from the group and back to the fold of the enemy.
Still not a whole lot has happened in the past couple of issues, but gaining further insight into Cornell's characters make me love them even more.  And speaking of character development, I did not suspect the traitor of the group at all.  Crimony.  That was harsh and its taking everything I have to not give away the secret, but I'm going to resist the urge.  I will say that I am anxious to see the party started again and learn how the Demon Knights get themselves and the villagers out of the predicament they have been in since issue one.  This series continues to be good, dark fun and next issue looks to deliver on the action.  Now that I have grown attached to these characters, I hope that they all make it out alive.  RECOMMENDED!

Other Books Worth Mentioning - Also this week I picked up Green Lantern #5, which was a fun look at Sinestro as he fixed the Korugar problem and Hal Jordan prioritized his life.  Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. was a crossover with Omac--a book that I don't follow, but will get the trade--which had some cool fight scenes and loads of sci-horror weirdness...he got his darn arm torn off!  Secret Avengers was another enjoyable Warren Ellis done-in-one adventure involving an undercover Shadow Council agent.  Finally, there was Severed, a book by the amazing Scott Snyder that I have not yet talked about on Donist World, but I will do so when the final issue arrives next month.  Severed easily falls in the HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! realm and is a shining example of how to do a horror book right.
I should also mention that Scott Snyder was kind enough to spend an evening with the Comics Experience Creators Workshop group for an online meeting talking about his other amazing book (aren't they all?) American Vampire.  Mr. Snyder was very open about his writing process, how he became started in the business, the process of pitching American Vampire and some of his collaborative process of creating comics.  A great evening and The Comics Experience continues to push and inspire me in all of my creative endeavors.  Check it out if you can.

Slice Into the Woods

Not Enough Time On My Hands - Far too many things going on right now that are stressing me out of my gourd, but I'm pushing back by getting up early to write and chipping away on important projects in the evening. It sometimes seems like I need a force field to deflect everything including stray worries from sidetracking me.  That is why I am staging an "Occupy My Mind" rally in my own head against everything attempting to derail me from my work.  Donist World stands firm...OCCUPY MY MIND!


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