Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 2/10/2012

(Sung to the Tune of TV on the Radio's "Wolf Like Me")

Say, say my good mates
Won't you come read with me?
Batwoman you must see
Kids gone a tragedy

Kate Kane and Chase pull a shift
Beatin' on gangland twits.
The hook hand is big and cruel
Gotta bust that jerk, gotta save some kids

You should really try Demon Knights
Exoristos gets in lots of fights
Etrigan is not really there
He still whups ass so I don't care

Obie maintains
Frankenstein again, that dog likes it
Monsters remain
Assault your brain, yeah dog we like it.

Obie waiting for his
puppy martini.
Hello there all you happy people. I just got back late from a business trip, thus the delay in this week's Donist World FSoH/SitW post, but better late than never. Ooops. Hold on a moment. Why lookie there. It' none other than my friends' Boston Terrier and my main reader Obie. Obie was also on a business trip as evidenced by his little power tie, the tiny suitcase filled with kibble, and his traveling fedora resting atop his head. The cool thing is that Obie will be staying over for the next few nights and keeping his sister, Tulip, company here at casa del Donist. Since we're already late, we're going to keep this short and get right down to it...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Batwoman #6
Batwoman #6 - Written by J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman and illustrated by Amy Reeder, published by DC Comics. We all knew this day was coming. A day where J.H. Williams III was not the one providing the illustrations for Batwoman. Enter Amy Reeder, the artist covering the latest storyline and a fitting addition to one of my favorite 52 relaunch books.
The story begins with Batwoman fighting in an underwater lair with the hook-handed freak who nearly cut Bette Kane in half.  From here the story jumps around revisiting everything that has happened from the previous five issues and reintroducing the reader to the main characters. We are also given a glimpse of those responsible from creating the Weeping Woman, the mysterious Falchion and the mystical Maro. After having her identity exposed by Cameron Chase, Batwoman is forced to work with the DEO agent as they battle the secretive Medusa group, leading back to the present battle where the story is about to begin.
This issue almost seemed as if it exists to bring new readers up to speed, but since this book is only on issue six, I'm not sure why such a move is necessary at this early stage. That said, there is still plenty to enjoy for new and current fans, with much of the "catch up" scenes containing new information such as the introduction of Maro and Falchion to spark the reader's interest. There are some great character moments between Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer as well as Colonel Jacob Kane as he watches over the comatose Bette Kane. What will probably be the main topic of conversation concerning this issue is new artist Amy Reader, who does an exceptional job of filling in for J.H. Williams III for this storyline. She maintains the beautiful look and tone of the book--with the aid of colorist Guy Majors--while providing her own style to great effect. Despite not moving the story forward all that much, this issue is still highly enjoyable and although J.H. Williams III's masterful pages will be missed, Amy Reeder fills his shoes quite well.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Demon Knights #6
Demon Knights #6 - Written by Paul Cornell and illustrated by Diogenes Neves, published by DC Comics. Demon Knights is DC Comic's sole fantasy title and thankfully it's a good one at that. Filled with conflicting personalities, cruel betrayals and one hell of a complex threesome relationship this comic continues to be much fun despite taking place in the same little town for six straight issues.
Exoristos is overflowing with guilt over her decision that sent a young girl to a terrible fate, and the Amazon warrior means to atone by dying in battle. Of course killing an Amazon is no simple feat as a monstrous triceratops and its riders soon discover. The horse woman--does she even have a name at this point?--comes up with a plan to bring an army to the battlefield. Madame Xanadu weighs the choice of taking a life to restore her youthful vigor and she too comes up with plan that Etrigan is not going to appreciate. The final battle is upon the Demon Knights, but can four mighty warriors stand against an army?
Demon Knights seems to take a cue from Batwoman by having some fairly blatant moments of exposition to bring new readers up to speed, but again with only five issues before this one, catching up is not that big of a deal. Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing and should not pull current readers too far from the story. As I have said in most of the reviews of this series, Etrigan is still the least interesting of the group, but I'm sure that is something Cornell will remedy in later issues. For now, it's the cover model head-butting a dinosaur who shines as she single-handedly wrecks havoc on the invading army; hopefully her story will come soon. Neves provides some stunning battle scenes that keep the pages flying by, while also providing great scenes of emotion through the expressions on the character's faces. Combined, Neves's art and Cornell's story are a perfect match and Demon Knights continues to be a lot fun even though a certain yellow-skinned demon has been absent for much of the series. I would not count Etrigan to remain in the background forever and the next issue looks to be nuts. RECOMMENDED!

Frankenstein Agent
of S.H.A.D.E. #6
Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #6 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Alberto Ponticelli, published by DC Comics. Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. is one of those books that manages to surprise and entertain on a monthly basis. This is not a shock since Jeff Lemire is the writer, and--discounting the recent crossover with Omac--the comic has managed to remain outside of the DC superhero universe. Because of this Lemire is able to create in his own sandbox without the constraints of continuity or crossover events--again minus the Omac issue. It'll be interesting to see the direction the book takes when Lemire steps down to be replaced by Matt Kindt later this year.
As Nina and Ray Palmer discount the humanid drone project, one of the beings with the 24-hour lifespan becomes sentient and runs from imminent recycling. Meanwhile, Frankenstein and the other Creature Commandos find themselves in Vietnam on the hunt for Colonel Quantum, an immensely powerful and insane red-skinned agent who harkens back to a certain blue-skinned super doctor hailing from Manhattan. When Quantum is found in an unexpected physical and emotional state, Frankenstein releases his old friend from his pain, but unfortunately a Commando's work is never done. The rogue humanid has gathered fellow sympathizers and with their aid they free the deadly inhabitants of a micro prison, leaving only Lady Frankenstein and Nina to square off against the original Creature Commandos.
Using the "F" word to describe comics is becoming annoying. Frankenstein is an enjoyable, gladdening, rip-roaring...awwww, forget it. Frankenstein is a fun book that consistently entertains and while reminiscent of the old days of Vampirella, Eerie and Creepy, manages to provide something new at the same time. I was sad to learn that Lemire is set to leave the book in order to work on Justice League Dark, but I am more than willing to stick around to see what his collaborator Matt Kindt comes up with. My main hope is to get some insight into the other Commandos before he leaves, as there's a wealth of story waiting to be told. A cool book that monster fans should love. RECOMMENDED!

Isotope Comics While on a Business Trip and Other Groovy Things - This week I had to be out of town for the better part of three days for a business seminar...but let's not talk about that. One of the key points that made the trip tolerable was that I was able to briefly see a close friend, see my brother, buy some Blue Bottle Coffee and visit Donist World favorite comic book store Isotope Comics. Isotope is one of those comic book shops that you just want to move into. I don't mean park down on one of the stylish leather couches, but bring a suitcase, toothbrush, sleeping bag or inflatable bed and actually move into the place. They have lovely art displayed on the wall--including the toilet seat art--the most recent comic book releases and many trades. They oftentimes host crazy after-hours parties--that I have sadly not been to--with cocktails, DJs and fabulous creators. Most important to the experience is store owner James Sime, who stands out in a crowd with tall hair, an impressive mustache that I have no hope of ever growing and amazing stylish suits. The thing about Sime is the clear joy that comics bring him. He's a blast to talk to and I would have gladly stayed much longer had I not had a measly hour and a half to walk to catch the muni, ride it across town, walk to the store, walk back to the muni, and walk back to the seminar. Not enough time at all. So, Mr. Sime, I agree, you should not have told your friends about Daredevil when you were a kid, causing an increased demand in your neighborhood, but hey, you were a kid and we all make mistakes as kids. Now with his own tremendous store, he never has to go without his favorite comics and neither should you. If you are in San Francisco, Isotope is a must see store.
Speaking of Isotope and good comics, I need to mention that I picked up Supergod written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Garrie Gastonny, published by Avatar Press and as recommended by Mr. Sime. Essentially, this is a story of what would happen if the nuclear arms race was actually a race to create super humans and the repercussions of doing so. Haunting and crazy in a way that only Ellis can effectively pull off. Also recommended was Ellis's other book Black Summer but I will definitely be buying that once I have a bit more cash money. Written when Ellis was angered by American politics during the Bush administration, the comic is about a super hero who takes matters into his own hands to right the world. I can't wait to read this one.
I will briefly mention Severed #7 which Donist World will give a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! designation for the issue and the series as a whole. This is another title that I could devote an entire post to praising, but I will have to do that at a later time. Just know that this horror comic from Scott Snyder, Scott Tuft and Attila Futaki is a slow-building, tension-filled roller coaster of a ride that expertly shows the power of the comic storytelling format. Well worth finding the individual issues or pick up the hardcover in April...but seriously, why wait.
Finally, while in San Francisco, I went to another place that I would like to move into, Smuggler's Cove. Smugglers Cove is a hidden gem that a friend took me to and is a rum bar with amazing drinks (I had something with all-spice syrup in it that was amazing). The place is small and looks like an adult Pirates of the Caribbean ride, with three levels, incredibly complex drinks that take a while to make, and lounge music that I simply adore. Be ready to drop some serious coin at this amazing bar, but be ready for an experience you will never forget. Plus, the place is in walking distance from Isotope...YOU CANNOT FAIL! Now to try to make some all-spice simple syrup and recreate that drink...not a chance.

Slice Into the Woods

Losing Out on Morning Writing Time - Yeah, the business trip wiped me out and the stupid alarm clock (probably user error) did not work to get me up to write one morning. I did get to briefly work on a short, personal, dark fantasy script that is pretty much hammered out on paper and I should be able to type up on Saturday, so at least I did that. Then, to really put me behind, I was a total wreck on Thursday due to lack of sleep that I was not able to start this blog...hence the delay. Not cool, Work, not cool.

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