Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 2/3/2012

(Sung to the tune of Psychedelic Fur's "Pretty in Pink")

Swamp Thing's a blast and frightening to boot
Alec and Abby are so screwed
The Rot's burning trees and chainsawing homies
The Green says that Alec's too late

Rachel Rising's creepy, Mister Moore says
"You're Ma Malai...the angel of death!"
Aunt Johnny is cool, Zoe's friend oh so cruel
Sweet Tooth's Gus and Jepperd are hating life

Comics are great, aren't they?
Comics are great, aren't they?

Obie, my friends' Boston terrier and my main Donist World reader after my mom, is not doing so hot after taking a spill down a dirt hillside. It turns out that dog + dirt hill + leaping after a missed tennis ball = one nasty wipeout of a spill. The poor little guy has a fat lip and dual scraped carpal pads and a whole heaping helping of the bummers. You see, that's when Doctor Donist pays a house call to read him this week's comics, which after looking at the list of titles might not be the best of things for a hurtin' puppy. This week is all about horror and misery, but that's okay, he can take it. I'm more worried about my own fragile world getting rocked, but then again amazing comic books are always just what the doctor ordered. Amiright?

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Swamp Thing #6
Swamp Thing # 6  - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Marco Rudy, published by DC Comics. As I have said with each new installment of Swamp Thing and its sibling book Animal Man there is a reason why these two books--and Snyder's other excellent 52 book, Batman--are my three favorites. With last issue's cliffhanger ending of the Green about to be torched by an agent of the rot, upping the ante so soon and in a believable way seemed unlikely. Sometimes it's good to be wrong.
Alec Holland just felt something course through his body, something terrible. The Parliament of Trees is dying and according to the Rot, Alec's refusal to take in the power of the Green is why the battle is now about to be lost. Then there is Abigail Arcane, who is revealed to be the chosen champion of the Rot, not her brother William Arcane as previously believed. As the Green reels and Alec is left powerless, the Rot seizes Abigail and begins to transform her into its most powerful agent. Alec runs, but no matter how desperate his pleas for the Green to take him, the power is not there and things only get worse.
Oh man, oh man, oh man. That has got to sting something fierce! How do you walk away from that? Sorry, folks, you're just going to have to read this issue to find out what happened. Leave it to Scott Snyder to take an already tense, stressful read and push the story further than expected. This issue was uncomfortable and disgusting with terrible things befalling the lead characters, but the events do not alienate the reader or make them want to stop reading. The opposite is true. You desperately want Alec and Abby to pull through, to conquer the evil before them, but you're not going to get what you want and that is why this comic is so great. I don't see how anyone could resist wanting to know what happens next issue after such a chilling defeat, a thrilling chase and a brutal cliffhanger. Yanick Paquette's is again absent, but Macro Rudy does a great job of filling in, at times reminding the reader of Totleben, Bissette and even Paquette, although some panels felt a tad rushed; he was a great fill-in artist. All of that said, it should be obvious that I LOVED this installment and as scared as I am to read what happens next, you can bet the farm that Swamp Thing #7 will be the first book I read the day it comes out. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising #5
Rachel Rising #5 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. For someone who is doing everything on a book (pencils, inks, layouts, lettering, scripting, possibly production, and who knows what else) Moore still manages to release his latest horror book on a regular basis; thank goodness for that.
Rachel awakens from her second death at her Aunt Johnny's house. Confused, but glad to be in the company of a loved one, Rachel receives an odd welcome from Aunt Johnny's dog, Priscilla. Another friend, Jet, stops by and Rachel recounts what it was like to wake up in a make-shift grave. Later that evening, a new dinner guest makes the evening awkward when he tells Rachel that she is Ma Malai, the Angel of Death. Zoe, the little girl forced to commit murder by Rachel's doppelganger, finds herself in foster care and her soon-to-be foster parents are not people any child should be forced to endure. Fortunately, Zoe's dark guardian angel is watching out for her and a child abuser/molester gets what's coming to him in a big way.
Although Moore is taking his time in telling the story, the mood and the fascinating mystery that he has created along with the unique and interesting characters make the tale worthwhile. It's refreshing to experience the events in this world at much the same pace as the characters, without all of the ZIP, BOP, POW fury prevalent in many mainstream superhero books. Like Strangers in Paradise (read it!) and Echo (read it, too!), each person Moore introduces is given their own persona and quirks, whether beneficial or self-destructive for that person. As much as I like and sympathize with the undead/resurrected/immortal Rachel, I am particularly loving her Aunt Johnny. A mortician by trade, Aunt Johnny is a bit off from years of working alone with dead bodies, and frequently passes the time talking to imaginary people. Or maybe, she has always been a bit off and working as a mortician was the perfect job for her, but regardless here she is forced to deal with actual living (and unliving in Rachel's case) human beings. Rachel Rising would translate well to the world of television, but even if it remains firmly in the realm of comics, I will be there eagerly anticipating every issue. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sweet Tooth #30
Sweet Tooth #30 - Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics, an imprint of DC Comics. When you crack open the latest issue of Sweet Tooth, you need to be ready for what you are about to read. It's almost a given that the subject matter is going to be harsh, you might be appalled, or you might cry; more than likely you're in store for a combination of all three. If you're like me you know you love it and will be back for more.
Last issue Jepperd came across the Project Evergreen survivors--the real Project Evergreen survivors--and he learns that the man claiming to be Walter Fish is actually Haggarty. He, Gus and Singh then learn of the atrocities that Haggarty committed in order to claim the dam and several of the women for himself. Jepperd rushes off to rescue his friends, but suffers an unfortunate accident, Gus is taken, and Bobby gets real on Haggarty. In the end it's Haggarty who looks to be in control as all of the Sweet Tooth gang fall before dire circumstances.
Another great issue of Sweet Tooth has come and gone, leaving everyone the worse for wear; this includes the bad guy, Haggarty. I loved this issue, but I have to say that the scene with Jepperd's military jeep skidding on the ice is a bit much in the bad luck category. Does he or Gus ever catch a break? Hopefully someday they find a frozen locker filled with chocolate cakes or something that gives them just a moment of joy. Man, do they have a right to sing the blues. Also, when reading this issue it looked slightly different than usual and I cannot quite put my finger on whether it was the art or the colors, it was just different. This is not to say that it was not enjoyable, possibly just rushed to meet a deadline. There was also a grammatical error at a key scene and the caption lettering was missing quotes in the panel where Jepperd was driving. Again, nothing big, but those things did pull me out of the story for a moment, but the story is so great it really was not that big of a deal. Between Animal Man and now Justice League Dark, Lemire is going to be stretched a bit thin, and I hope that Sweet Tooth, one of my favorite comics on the stand, continues to be around for a long time to come. RECOMMENDED!

Other Comics and Comic Related Items I Have Been Enjoying - Animal Man #6 was of course a great read as Lemire takes a moment to pull back from the story of the Rot to focus on Buddy's earlier days as an actor. It provided a nice interlude before some really icky stuff comes along next month.
The final newly released comic I read this week was Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillip's second issue of Fatale, which is still an interesting and tense look at a noir-style world with a building supernatural bend that looks to soon become more Lovecraftian than Criminal. A great read and a book that is dripping with menace. Fatale is only on the second issue and is well worth seeking out.
A friend recommended that I try a manga series about the world of wine called The Drops of God, and I have to say that not only was I pleasantly surprised by this book, I'm addicted and will be collecting the entire series. This manga is occasionally snooty, but more than that it is informative, dramatic, the characters are interesting and more than anything it makes me want to read it while drinking a glass of wine. I will be reassessing my decanting skills later this week and will write a proper review at some time in the future. This is a must read if you like a blend (see what I did there) of wine, an intriguing story, cool characters and manga; now if someone will create a comic centered around bourbon, I will be a happy camper.
I also watched the visually intense and structurally odd Speed Racer Blu-Ray a few days ago and aside from being too long at just over two hours, I was mesmerized and highly entertained. I will admit to being a little confused by the exact demographic target for this movie. Was it for hyperactive children, old men (like me) who were nostalgic for the old days of the cartoon, or raver kids on guess is that it was for hyperactive old men on ecstasy, which is why it didn't do that well commercially. It was a blast though. "Here he comes, here comes Speed Racer, he's a demon on wheels. Go Speed Racer. Go Speed Racer. Go Speed Racer. Goooooooooooooo." Maybe I should have watched Speed Racer while drinking a glass of wine inspired by The Drops of God.
The Brutal Circle member and good friend Robert Anderson's new comic mini-series, Rex Zombie Killer was announced in the Diamond Catalog (Code# FEB12 0806) and I have already put it on my pull list. I have read a couple of the scripts and have to say that this book is going to be great. Three dogs, a cat and a gorilla with a baseball bat fend off hordes of zombies and other terrible situations as they search for a safe place to call home. Rob also had a commercial for the comic on the latest episode of the We're Alive podcast on iTunes. Check it out and follow him on Twitter at @RobertEAnderson.
Finally, another good writing friend, a person I have not yet met in person--oh the internet--announced yesterday that he has a publishing deal for a comic, which is beyond amazing and well-deserved. A victory for one of our group is a victory for all. Congratulations J.D.! Follow J.D. on twitter at @JD_Oliva to stay up to date on new projects from another talented creator.

Slice Into the Woods

Job Trip - It seems I have to go on job-related trip for a training seminar for a couple days, which is less than thrilling since my writing will have to go further into the backseat during that time. I will still be rising early to actually get some scripting hammered out and some revising done, but nothing beats sitting in front of my own computer, in a chair that makes too much noise every time I move. Thankfully, I will get to see a friend, who I have not seen in a long while and hopefully my brother is free to go to dinner the next night...dang, speaking of which I better call him. Plus, I hate being away from Amy and Tulip. Oh well...

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