Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 1/20/2012

(Sung to the tune of David Bowie's "Starman")

Comics love
Better times, Daredevil's not feeling so low
Spidey has missed the train oh no no no
Black Cat's layin down some innuendo don't you know, she said
Wonder Woman's got tiny pants
An audience with froggy Poseidon brings the rants
Getting stabby is Morning Glory Zoe's vibe

There's a Batman lost in a big maze
The Court of Owls are meanies
He's been trapped in there for days
There's a Layman writing up the Chew
Cibopaths and cyber-lions
It sounds weird but yes its true
She told me:
Let the children buy it
Let the children read it
Let all the children boogie

Quick! Obie (my friends' Boston terrier and dedicated Donist World fan), grab that cell phone and silence it. Arghh the emails won't stop and the jobby is calling to get me to come in early...during my sacred writing time no less! How can we stop the onslaught? Oh the dogmanity! Everything is conspiring against us to prevent finishing this week's Donist World, but with Obie's help we are--pull the blinds, Obie, don't let anyone see that we're here--going to do this thing. We shall prevail. LIVE! Now the sink is dripping...put a towel in there and fetch me my Daredevil book by golly, we will not be halted. We will fight for the right to write. So, before the crazy person across the way knocks on the door to discuss the termite problems in the condo complex, we will tell you about...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Batman #5
Batman #5 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics. Okay, what the heck did I read? I'm dizzy, confused, and didn't sleep well last night, and you know what? I'm a happier reader for it.  Snyder's Batman--and his terrifying Detective Comics run before it--is phenomenal at leading the reader into the darkest corners of Gotham. The latest issue pushes the Dark Knight to the realm of madness, dragging the reader with him as his world crumbles all around.
Batman has been missing for days. Friends and colleagues alike search the city for any shred of evidence, but their efforts are futile. Commissioner Gordon is running the Bat Signal all night and still no word of Batman or his whereabouts. Unknown to all, the detective has been abducted from the world above, the known world, and trapped in the unknown realm of the Court of Owls. The mysterious group has placed Batman in a monstrous labyrinth without food and with his only source of water spilling from an owl fountain that is most likely filled with hallucinogens. The Owls are trying to tell the Dark Knight a story and try as he might to remain strong and resist, the odds are not in his favor. A startling ending assaults the reader as the search for Batman continues.
I was not expecting this issue in the slightest. Where less able hands would fail, Snyder and Capullo successfully pull the reader into Batman's disorientation, leaving the reader just as turned around and hesitant to turn the page. This is not to say that the sequentials were confusing as a result of poor storytelling, quite the opposite. The storytelling flowed perfectly, but required the active participation of the reader in a way that I have not seen in the comics medium before. Batman is the best superhero comic out on the stands and the next issue cannot come soon enough after the shocking second-to-last page. With the multitude of printings of this series, it is never too late to catch up with one of the best books the 52 has to offer (buy Animal Man and Swamp Thing while you're at it!) VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Daredevil #8
Daredevil #8 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Kano, published by Marvel Comics. I know you're thinking, "Alright, Donist, what gives?! What about issues 1-7?" Yeah, see...confession time. For Christmas, Amy's dad gave me a gift certificate to a comic store and I picked up the first seven issues of Daredevil all at cover price no less! Bonus, my friends, bonus. I fully intend to circle back and talk about how each of those issues are outstanding and there is a reason why Daredevil is the only Marvel superhero book that I am currently reading. I should also point out that this is part two of two of a storyline that began in Amazing Spider-Man #677. You don't have to read part one to understand what is happening, but since Mark Waid wrote it as well, I will be searching for that issue.
A high-end hologram device was used to frame the Black Cat for a crime and Spider-Man asks Daredevil to help prove the Cat's innocence. The only problem is she thinks Spidey tried to turn her over to the authorities. Looks like everyone's being framed, but at least the heroes...and Black Cat...are all finally on the same page.  As Spider-Man rushes to save a life, Daredevil and Black Cat set off to retrieve the hologram device. The well together and we learn the formula of Billy Club + Helicopter = Awesome. The fun times end when Horn Head discovers that someone has tampered with his father's grave in a most unusual way.
This series is a blast and I'm glad that I was able to pick up every issue in one fell swoop. Waid creates such an interesting dynamic between Daredevil, Spider-Man and the Black Cat that any combination of the three would make an excellent story, even better is having all three playing off one another. To put it simply, Daredevil is a ton of fun. The Bendis and Brubaker runs were each great in their own way, but it's been difficult to continue reading about the pure hell Matt Murdock has been forced to endure for the past decade. With the bad times behind him, it's good to see Daredevil catching a break for once as well as getting to spend some quality time with Black Cat; he deserves some upbeat adventures for a change. This is another title that all fans of superhero comics should be enjoying. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew #23
Chew #23 - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics. There's only three more issues to go until we are caught up with the from-the-future (add echo effect here) issue of Chew #27 that was released last year. That issue found a battered, comatose Tony Chu in a hospital room with no explanation of how he got there.  This issue looks to explain the terrible circumstances behind what happened to the cibopathic (ability to glean the history of anything he eats, including people...icky) detective-turned meter maid. That is unless Layman and Guillory aren't yet done with abusing our hero.
Tony Chu's former partner and pal, Colby, is not enjoying his time at the USDA. Nor is he enjoying his new partner, Buttercup, a cybernetic lion who Colby does not exactly jive with. Couple that with Director Peña, an elderly, hardass of a boss and Chu's former partner can't imagine a worse day. Of course he's not aware of the position Tony is in: tied to a chair, beaten and forced to eat the exhumed body parts of dead baseball stars. The abductor is Dan Franks, Tony's girlfriend's ex. He has the bright idea of revealing the sordid sex lives of baseball stars, but when those stars have all died, you need a cibopath to bite into the problem and unearth the really twisted secrets that they took with them to the grave. The situation goes from bad to worse and Colby falls back on a tried and true method of making his life easier.
Crimony. I love this series. It's almost a given that every time an issue hits the stands it will appear here at Donist World on "Friday Slice of Heaven" and I will be showering it with praise. Chew is also a difficult series to explain to someone who knows nothing about the comic, but reading the little synopsis above will tell you that there is nothing else like this book. Cybernetic lion partners for a USDA agent? Cibopaths? Eating dead baseball stars? Honestly, this is mild compared to events in past issues, but what matters most is that this series is well-written, expertly illustrated and tells a grand and mysterious story in a complex and intriguing world. Yes, Chew can be disgusting, but at the same time there is a charm within the pages that will keep me coming back until the bitter end.  There are two HC "Omnivore" editions available on the cheap with each containing ten issues...I just might have to buy them for the book shelf. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Books Worth Reading:  Wonder Woman #5 was a great read, although I found the change in art a tad jarring, but this is not a knock against the artist, the art style was just different from what I had grown used to in the first four issues. A possible sibling is introduced and the most unique and stunning interpretation of Poseidon is revealed as a composite of the beasts that live beneath the waves. Time for the action to begin! Morning Glories #20 is an example of how to sell comics. Spencer "holds the line at $2.99" and gives the reader 30 pages of material for their money. A common complaint I have with some of my favorite books, Animal Man,Swamp Thing, and Batwoman, is the rushed feeling brought by the constraints of adhering to 20 pages. Not the case with Morning Glories. Not much happens in the 30 pages of the book until the end, but from beginning to end the characters are fully fleshed out and their relationships allowed to breath with no sense of feeling rushed. All that I need is to figure out what "Woodrun" is.

Slice Into the Woods

Cold that Won't Quit - I know. What does this have to do with cool stuff and writing/creating. Nothing. It's been three and a half weeks of coughing, hacking grossness that is honestly fit for the pages of Chew, but I think I'm finally on the mend. Joy.

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