Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 4/20/2012

(Sung to the tune of Pulp's "Disco 2000")

In the pages of Batman's a story like no other
Court of Owls have Talons to frighten your mother
There is a plethora, plethora.
They'll scare the pants off ya.
Batman with Talons to beat up
White skin, blue veins don't make him throw up
These guys are endless. Bat Family rough go of it.

Oh Obie, do you recall?
Becky went and shot 'em all
Stitch-faces make my skin crawl
Sixth Gun is such a ball
She and Drake said nothin' at all

I say, Rachel Rising is damn fine and scary
It's kinda strange but its one you must own
A grave yard explodes and the corpses now have flown
Then there's Hades who hopes to get married
Waxhead don't want to live on his own in
In the pages of Wonder Woman, yo.

Obie! You faker, you're not as sick I am. Heck, you're not even sick. Howdy folks, my friends' Boston terrier and CFO of Donist World Enterprises, Inc feels that since I am sick that he is sick as well. Obie is laying on the bed with me, a bag of ice on his head and a thermometer in his mouth when he should be up fetching--yes I said "fetching" you faker--me orange juice and chicken soup. Maybe I should point out that dogs don't get their temperatures taken from the mouth, but that's neither here nor there. I'm going to let you all in on a little secret here...the cure for the common cold...comics. Lots and lots of comics, and this week had four books that were amazing and all were of the same high caliber of storytelling that Donist World loves. So sit back, blow your nose, cough and drink two pints of TheraFlu, it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Batman #8
Batman #8 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics. As I mention with each new issue of Batman, Snyder was the one who succeeded in getting me to care about The Dark Knight after almost two decades of indifference. His Detective Comics run was as terrifying as it was engaging and he has carried that momentum over into Batman which is firmly in my top three books of the new 52 relaunch along with his other title Swamp Thing and Jeff Lemire's Animal Man. If you like superhero books and are fine with a heavy leaning toward the scary and stressful, you can't go wrong with this title (pick up The Black Mirror while you're at it though).
Bruce Wayne might have survived his first confrontation with the Court of Owls, but that does not mean he is free from the torment that they put him through. He still winces at the vague memory of what happened to him while in their capture. The idea that they have existed in Gotham without his knowledge is equally disturbing, but Wayne is going to have to get over his fears and doubt as the Talons of the Court have been set loose upon him and the Bat Family. Hopelessly outnumbered by the genetically altered threat, Bruce and Alfred lock themselves in the Bat Armory with a plan and way to even the odds.
This book is a blast. Seeing Bruce Wayne pull himself up from near mental defeat to confront not just one of the walking nightmares known as the Talon, but against an army of near-ageless warriors, defines what makes a hero great. Snyder has already carefully constructed the creepiness of the Court of Owls and their Talons and that feeling carries through this book. Capullo's art only improves month to month and FCO Plascencia's colors enhance the already lovely art to set the mood for each page. "Night of the Owls" has begun and wastes no time pushing the threat into high gear. Although I never thought I would be excited for an "event" book, I have to admit that I am. This one I can safely say comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising #7
Rachel Rising #7 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. With Strangers in Paradise Moore gave the readers a brilliantly told and beautifully illustrated tale of friendship and love. With Echo Moore gave the readers a brilliantly told and beautifully illustrated sci-fi tale of a woman inhabited not just by a new and dangerous metal, but by another person's mind. With Rachel Rising Moore brings the readers a brilliantly told and beautifully illustrated horror tale with great characters and a building mystery as to what exactly is going on in the strange town of Manson.
Since the terrible accident from last issue, Jet is dead and Aunt Johnny is hospitalized with severe injuries, but Rachel is fine...aside from being a tad dead herself that is. While watching over Aunt Johnny, new character Detective Corpell arrives to question Rachel as to what exactly happened in the accident that also left the other driver dead. Jet doesn't take well to being of the deceased and the strange little girl who vanished from the scene of the accident witnesses something startling and terrifying in the graveyard that has to be seen to be believed.
This is how you write a horror comic. No chainsaws, or cruel inventions of torture, or splatter gore, this is the real stuff, the suspense of something building and expanding at a slow rate. Something that cannot be avoided, and holds everyone in its control. Moore does a fantastic job of leading the reader into his sleepy, quiet town and revealing odd events that you cannot help but see what happens next. Combine that with his talent of getting you not just to like his characters, but to love them and you are left with one of my favorite books on the stand. This is the book for non-comics readers and current comics readers alike and one that I cannot wait to see what happens next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Sixth Gun #21
This Sixth Gun #21 - Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Brian Hurtt, published by Oni Press. I bought this title after reading the first trade and was hooked after the first few pages. I immediately sought out the next couple issues and from that point forward switched to buying the series month to month. With cool characters, a great story and terrible forces working against the heroes of this supernatural Western, there is little not to love. After "meeting" Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt (my brother and I actually met Hurtt last year...great guy) through the Comics Experience Creators Workshop last month, you also get two damn nice creators with a passion for their book, one of the best comics being released today.
Becky Montcrief has been through hell to find her missing friend, Drake Sinclair, and now that she is close to finding him, ain't no one gonna stop her, especially not when she has the power/curse of the Sixth Gun at her hip. Rescuing him won't be easy, but she has picked up a few new--and spooky--tricks and she is not afraid to use them. She finds Drake just in time as he is about to have his face eaten by a nasty little crab monster. Rescue completed but with the Knights of Solomon on their trail, leaving won't be easy. An old, strange, and grand painting causes concern and more questions, but a new evil seal and its resident lake monster prove to be more pressing.
Sweet hot damn. Another great installment in The Sixth Gun series that was not only extra long at 28 pages of story but also one without a single word balloon or caption to be found...and it was great. It's not an easy task for a writer/artist team to tell a tale with no words and have it come across without a problem, but Bunn and Hurtt pull it off. The sequential panels are clear as to what is happening and the action is urgent, not forced. One look from Becky or Drake says everything that is needed and with Bill Crabtree's always striking colors this comic continues be be scary, exciting and highly enjoyable. I can't wait to see what happens next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wonder Woman #8
Wonder Woman #8 - Written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Cliff Chiang, published by DC Comics. The last issue of Wonder Woman created quite a stir among some comic readers with its depiction of the Amazons as murderous, rapist, dirtbags, which came to a shock to many and deeply offended others who felt that portraying the Amazons in such light was somehow misogynistic. I, on the other hand, loved Azzarello's new interpretation of the inhabitants of "Paradise" island. Azzarello is focusing on the myth of the Greek gods as meddlesome and oftentimes cruel beings with little care of the lives of the humans they ruin, and the Amazons, being close to gods themselves, are no better. This is where something called character motivation and character arc come into play as Diana realizes her people are NOT who she thought they were and now she must redeem herself--and her people if possible--through her own actions. Bravo.
Diana prepares for war as she arms herself with Hephastus's more traditional arsenal of weapons, but the monstrous god insists that she take Eros's guns as well. Having little choice in the matter, Wonder Woman allows Hermes to join her on the journey to Hades since he is the only one who can transport her the realm of the dead to find the abducted Zola. Hades ends up not being anything that Diana could ever expect and she is immediately attacked by its grotesque creations. They find Zola, but Hades is unwilling to give her up without receiving what he wants in return...a queen.
I have enjoyed this series since the first issue, but Wonder Woman only seems to get better as it progresses along. Azzarello's interpretation of Greek myths combined with his own imaginative ideas make for an incredibly interesting world for Wonder Woman to discover along with the reader. Chiang's depictions of Hades and its denizens is creepy, especially with the fused, skinless horse and rider that plagues the lead characters throughout their search for Zola--the disturbingly creepy woods are also worth mentioning. Then there's Mathew Wilson's beautiful colors and his understanding of how the red light of Hades affects the qualities of skin color and the tints of metal, or how a light source--such as a speeding bullet from a love god's gun--illuminates a body. All combined, this is a beautiful book and a compelling story that is well worth reading. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
After far too many years, I am rereading Frank Miller and David Mazzuccelli's fantastically bleak Daredevil: Born Again TPB and it is a doozy of harshness that probably began the whole "make Matt Murdoch's life suck more and more with each passing issue" that Mark Waid has recently decided to break from. Don't get me wrong, Donist World loves the Bendis and Brubaker runs, but Miller was the one who redefined Daredevil back in the day and his insane decision to have Murdoch's old love sell out his secret identity for a drug fix and the repercussions that has on his life are terrible. I can't wait to rediscover how this series ends. Thus far HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Neon Indian at Soho. One of the bands that I really like nowadays is Neon Indian and their latest album Era Extraña plays often in both the Donist Mobile and the Donist Home. Apparently this band is also popular with the kids and the hipsters as the show was sold out. They played pretty much all of my favorite songs, which is not difficult as they only have two albums released thus far (check them out and BUY THEM if you like 80's style alternative music!). This could have and should have been one of the best shows I had ever been too, IF the club had the capacity to turn up Alan Palomo's mic so people could actually hear him sing. The music was fantastic, and Palomo and company were clearly giving their performance their all, it was just difficult to hear any singing. Other than that--which is a HUGE that--the show was great and everyone was having a great time, including the seven or eight hipster dudes with beards engaging in some sort of "dance as weird as you can" dance party at the back; I'm pretty sure they didn't know each other. Argh. The show should have been in the very highly recommended range, but sound problems not to be blamed on Neon Indian made the show merely RECOMMENDED! These guys are on a massive world tour so catch them if you can, they're well worth it.

Slice Into the Woods

Sick of Being Sick - Okay, there are two things that can possibly be working against me here:
1) Whenever I have a planned day off / vacation planned, I always get sick. This is a pretty standard curse, but it sucks all the same.
2) The Spartacus Workout is to blame. Okay. What I mean by this is that for almost every time that I suffered through the deceptively difficult Spartacus Workout I get sick a day or two afterwards. It's like the gods of Azzarello's Wonder Woman are telling me that I will never have a 300/Spartacus-style body, not if they have anything to say about it. No siree Bob. The lack of a "totally ripped bod" could not possibly be due to beer, duck fat French fries, steak melts or chocolate chip cookies. Oh...chocolate chip cookies...back in a bit.
I clearly pissed of an old gypsy somewhere along the line, so hopefully I can shake this curse once I cover a dead snake in salt or something equally gross and disgusting. Now where are those cookies?

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