Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 5/25/2012

(Sung to the tune of XTC's "Making Plans for Nigel")

Chew is a favorite book of Obie's
Food powers are what's cool to him
Toni, not Tony, is fine for Obie
Toni gives Chow a helping hand
And if young Obie says he's happy
He must be happy
He must be happy with his books
In I,Vampire it's tough for Andrew
His army's stuck in the Utah plains
Sippin' on cows sucks for Mary
Van Helsing's comin' with a load of planes
And if young Donist says he's happy 
He must be happy
He must be happy with his books

Obie enjoys a helping of
Donist World cakes
Hello all you happy people. Last week Obie, my friends' Boston terrier and Donist World CFO, took time out from working on his golf game to actually come into the office for a surprise visit and overnight stay. He spent the first 15 seconds touring the office and after commenting on the slight yellow tint on my iMac screen, my lack of dedication to the Donist World secret agenda (I can't talk about it, I'm under an NDA, it's confidential and...well...secret) and proceeded to eat a spare piece of kibble that his sister Tulip had missed in the corner of the kitchen. Once he finished "synergizing" me to his the Donist World cause, we discussed the forthcoming IPO of our stock that is set to be valued at $.0001 per share with 100,000 shares offered and Obie offered me 1000 options if I made him a small loan of ten bucks! Sweet deal...score, a direct hit! Anyways, we celebrated by reading comics, watching Iron Man 2 and eating delicious pancakes, all of which is intricately connected to our "secret" plans for Donist World Domination. In the meantime, grab a flapjack and take a gander at this week's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

Chew #26
Chew #26 - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics. Last year Layman and Guillory did something weird. They published Chew #27 a year early and then proceeded to fill in the gap of issues from 19 to this month's issue 26, bringing us up to date with the "comic from the future" and the events that led to Tony's hospitalization. For this run, Tony takes a much needed rest to recover from the horrible beating he received as siblings Chow and Toni take the reins.
Chow Chu is losing it. Not just his temper, but an auction to his nemesis, restauranteur, Barnabas Cremini, for a photorealistic painting that tastes as good as it looks. Meanwhile, Toni Chu (not Tony Chu, but his sister) just lost another boyfriend, this time her NASA partner, Paneer. It seems that significant others don't like to be bitten by Cibovoyants, like Toni, who have the ability to see the future when they bite into living people. Thankfully, there are positives to Cibovoyance as Toni divines Tony's fate after a single chomp. It's her other brother, Chow, who now has the problem as he enlists Toni to help him right a wrong committed by a certain restauranteur.
Another fantastically weird and fun issue of Chew and we readers are now up to date with the future issue. So, was this gimmick a success or a chicken lovin' failure? It's Chew. Of course it was a success and this issue leads into #27 just fine. Having been through the comicpacalypse of the '90s, I'm VERY hesitant anytime a gimmick is used to sell a book, but with Chew the creators know what they're doing and they do it well. Where was this book two decades ago when we needed it? When I needed it? In Chew anything is fair game whether inside the pages or out, and the creators expertly keep the reader guessing as to what comes next and to be excited for whatever it might be. So bring it Layman and Guillory! Bring on foil covers, Chew incentive trading cards, scratch and sniff stickers or a fried chicken dinner-flavored comic. I'll be there along with the other host of loyal fans. If you're not reading this comic, then you are missing out on THE most unique book on the stands and one of the best. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

I, Vampire #9
I, Vampire #9 - Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, published by DC Comics. If you've been following FSoH/SitW for any amount of time, you know that I LOVED this New 52 offering for the first three issues, but then came the crossovers and the events. As of last issue, the comic had been 62.5% crossover/event, but with this issue that percentage drops to 55.6% as it is all Andrew Bennett and the I, Vampire cast of characters, although a new crossover looms on the horizon.
Last issue Andrew Bennett came back from the dead as seen in a completely different comic title that I actually did not buy. With his resurrection came a whole host of new powers and abilities that no one can hope to challenge, especially those in his vampire army that he has led to take up residence in the Utah desert. Andrew has promised his people that he would lead them to a better life, but old habits die hard and Andrew has forbidden the juvenile vampires from consuming anything but cow blood. Mary Queen of Blood is disapproves of her love's beliefs, while John and Tig request an audience with the Van Helsing group.
There you go, an issue with no guest appearances anywhere and with this comes a glimpse into the story that I believe Fialkov set out to tell since the beginning of the series...just way ahead of schedule. It was interesting to see Andrew's impressive new power set on display--especially with the two redneck knuckleheads...creepy--and also the confidence he has in dealing with his "loyal" subjects. The odd thing about this issue is that Andrew just gained this new army and already he is telling them that they cannot be vampires. Then there's Mary Queen of Blood who wholeheartedly threw in with Andrew again only to be surprised that he has not changed. Something is missing, namely a few issues to develop the renewed hope and trust only to see it all come crumbling down to lead into a confrontation between the two lovers. That said, I still enjoyed this issue and Sorrentino's gorgeous art (complemented by Marcelo Maiolo's lovely coloring) makes this issue shine. I have not given up on I, Vampire and I hope to see the story that Fialkov set out to tell and at the pace he wishes to tell it, without all of the interference from the capes and tights crowd. Let's hope DC allows that to happen. RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Drops of God, V. 3
The Drops of God, Volume 3Written by Tadashi Aqi, illustrated by Shu Okimoto, published by Vertical. I am still loving The Drops of God series. I have mentioned this wine-themed Manga an few times in past installments and as ridiculous as some of the moments can be, it is an engaging and dramatic blast. The Drops of God is the story of Shizuku Kanzaki, the son of the most renowned, and recently deceased, wine critic, Yutaka Kanzaki. After growing up around wine as a child and his father's obsession with teaching him about taste and smell and proper decanting techniques, Shizuku turned his back on his father's world and had never even tasted wine before. At the reading of his father's will, Shizuku stands to inherit a priceless wine collection and his father's beautiful home, but there is a slight problem. Before his death, Yutaka had adopted a young (and snobby) wine critic, Issei Tomine, and has paired the two against each other to find 13 wines known as "The Twelve Apostles" and the heavenly "Drops of God"with the winner taking it all. I this installment, the search for the first apostle is on, but Kanzaki might just have to help a woman suffering from amnesia regain her memories through the memory of a once treasured wine. Also a possible new client who cares only about money and branding might need to be taught the lesson that a top name brand does not always mean it is the best. Volume 4 is set to release in late June. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chocolate with Bacon?
Yes, please.
Vosges Haut Chocolat - Two great tastes that taste great together...chocolate and salty bacon. What? What? What?! You have got to be kidding me. A friend of mine told me about this a couple weeks ago and although I was hesitant to give it a try, I have to say that it is unlike anything I have ever tasted in the best of ways. If I had to state a favorite, the dark chocolate, caramel, and Black Sea salt chocolate bar at Trader Joe's is my favorite, followed by any dark chocolate made with cayenne pepper, but this is definitely in the top five. Now, if only my friend had told me ahead of time that this thing cost like $7! Dang, that's like...almost two Marvel comic books.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Beach Clean-Up - Yes, I know this has nothing to do with comics, but my day job gives its employees two volunteer days a year and I chose to do a beach clean-up at Hendry's beach. This is not the bad thing, actually quite the opposite. I was able to show up at the beach at 9:00 AM, pick-up trash for two and a half hours and then the rest of the day was mine. Not a bad deal at all, and I was able to pick up my comics a couple hours early. Win! The problem is that there has to be such a thing as a "Beach Clean-Up." Most of the trash that I gathered ended up being broken glass and cigarette butts. That's broken glass in the sand and cigarette butts everywhere. What is wrong with these morons leaving this crap behind for people and dogs to step on, or for the items to end up in the ocean to kill sea creatures large, microscopic and everything in between. The people leaving the trash are there to enjoy the beauty of the beach, swim in the ocean, or relax, and yet they are the ones destroying it. The kicker is that there are multitudes of trash bins at the parking lot. What worthless idiots. Fine the offenders into oblivion or give them mandatory community service. So sad.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 5/18/2012

(Sung to the tune of Supertramp's "Goodbye Stranger")

This weeks comics were a kick in the pants, they got it goin' on
Buy the books that make you want to dance, chuck lesser books to the lawn
Daredevil without Frank events Waid gets it done
Beatin' on AIM, thumpin' on Hydra, it's been years since it's been fun.
Bunn and Hurtt's The Sixth Gun I say, will rock your world that's the truth
Drake and Becky blast all in their way, dead cusses are proof
Have a look at Wonder Woman, shot through the heart, Hades's to blame
Her motley crew wants to save her, god child gives love a bad name
Saga defines great comics, comics for me and you
Marko, Alana, Hazel, check's true!

Donist World likes to play nice, help ya find comic paradise
Many choices, what to do,  here's some books for you to view

I have to make this intro quick since not only are the Donist World car ports and storage facilities being tented for termites--I have to move the Donist Mobile--but I have to straighten up the house for an exclusive sleepover event. This evening at the Donist World Legion Hall (i.e. my condo) Obie, my friends' Boston terrier and Donist World CFO, will be coming over to hang out, eat kibble and discuss comic books as well as to criticize me, my writing projects and the state of my home. I hope to make his stay a memorable one and we will definitely be discussing the comics that follow before I lock him in his steel crate, with a flimsy blanket for the night. Without further ado, it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

Saga #3

Saga #3 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, published by Image Comics. The first time I read Saga I was impressed by the enjoyable comic, but it wasn't until the second read that I realized just how deep the book had sunk its claws (or would it be horns?) into me. With one issue, Vaughan and Staples had tricked me into loving their characters, Marko and Alana, despite knowing little about them other than they were in love and wanted a better world for their child. Issue two introduced a beautifully-creepy new character and the third continues the trend with the introduction of the ghost girl, Izabel.
Marko is dying and only one ingredient can aid the magic necessary to heal him: snow. The problem is that the Horrors of the woods are the only ones with the ability to lead Alana, the unconscious Marko and their child Hazel to a place with snow before the horned man dies. As with anything, there is a price for service and one ghost girl wants to leave the planet Cleave, but can only do so by bonding to the soul of a living native; Alana has a decision to make. Prince Robot IV "interviews" an inmate about a certain book titled A Night Time Smoke while the stalk learns just how treacherous the forest of Cleave can be. Finally, what comes out of your mouth while unconscious cannot be used against you by a loving spouse...right?
Another highly enjoyable issue of the wonderful Saga and I'm already eager to have the next issue. Vaughan and Staples introduce what looks to be another long-term character in the teen ghost girl, Izabel, a victim of the war being waged between Marko and Alana's peoples. As with his past comics, Vaughan showcases his ability for realistic and compelling dialogue between his characters and his grasp of the mentality of a bubbly teenage girl. Izabel is a neat character in that she was cut down far to early in her young life, and in the most horrific of manners, yet she maintains the upbeat attitude and personality she had before she died, wanting more than anything to escape the confines of her stupid small town planet. Staples's art only improves from one issue to the next and her choice to make the Horrors semi-transparent and a monochromatic red makes them striking and haunting, yet beautiful. Saga is the most exciting release of 2012 thus far and is exactly the type of comic the industry needs to showcase what the medium is all about. A fantastic book that is everything I want as reader and everything I hope to emulate as a writer of both comics and prose. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Sixth Gun #22 - Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Brian Hurtt, published by Oni Press. The Sixth Gun continues to be one of my favorite books on the stand and for good reason. Equal parts Western and supernatural horror, it is a combination of Lord of the Rings meets Once Upon a Time in the West and is soon to be a television series on the SyFy channel.
After the destruction that Becky Montcrief and Drake Sinclair caused during their escape from the Knights of Solomon in last month's silent issue, the pair are lucky to be alive. Exhausted and wracked with pain after nearly drowning they need to move fast as the Knights are on their trail with the weirdest bloodhounds ever seen. Unfortunately for the Knights, Drake and Becky are not on the run as expected, they're lying in wait to end the conflict once and for all. Drake comes to a startling realization and a new threat slinks across the desert.
Although Drake is one of the protagonist of the story, he's far from ever being considered a "good guy," which is what makes him such a fascinating character and the perfect counter to Becky. He is not only willing to do whatever it takes to come out ahead in a given situation, he is also cruel and all too willing to share that cruelty with those who cross him. Then there's Becky, who has been thrust into Drake's world because of the sixth gun that is bound to her, and she is forced to emulate Drake's methods which she does with hesitation and only when necessary. The two are a definite odd couple, but their differences and often conflicting ideologies make them not only interesting partners, but great characters. Bunn and Hurtt have created a fascinating series, with characters you want to learn more about while the mystery of the cursed guns slowly unravels. Bill Crabtree again shines with his coloring art as fires highlight surfaces beautifully and nighttime scenes add purple hues to skin offering additional impact to Hurtt's fantastic illustrations. The Sixth Gun continues to be the book for those needing a break from capes and tights, multiple cro$$over events, or the same characters fighting the same threats. This is a book you should be reading. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wonder Woman #9
Wonder Woman #9 - Written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Tony Akins, published by DC Comics. In reading other past reviews of the New 52's Wonder Woman title, it's not difficult to determine that this is a divisive title. First you have the "Wonder Woman wouldn't do that" crowd, then you have the "Azzarello hates women, this title is an abomination" group, and finally you have my group. What group is that? Let's put this one in quotes too as the "I can't believe DC is letting Azzarello mess around with a major character in a way that is vastly different than past iterations of Wonder Woman, making her fresh, humane (for a god), and caught between the gods and mortals while struggling to understand both, ultimately making this a fascinating and engaging read that is one of the best of the New 52." What group are you in? is in the air. If not in the air, then at least in the wound inflicted upon Diana as Hades shot her through the heart last issue with Eros's magic guns. Diana and Hades are to be wed and as the gods try to decide who is going and who is not (Don't we all just want to get out of these things? Who really wants to go anyways?), the recently rescued--and the reason Diana is in her predicament--Zola and her protectors plot to free the goddess. Diana meets Hades ex-wife and despite the enchantment of the love guns is startled at the lengths the woman went through to escape from the Lord of the Underworld's grasp. Aphrodite is introduced in a clever manner and a doubting Hades offers up his version of a wedding ring that does not bode well for the bride-to-be.
Azzarello offers up another fantastic issue of his mythology steeped Wonder Woman and the series only continues to get better. The unique look of the meddlesome gods and their interfering ways plays well with the non-D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths version of Greek gods, with the writer instead embracing both traditional and the little-known interpretations of the gods to great effect. Cliff Chiang is on break this issue as Tony Akins provides some lovely and disturbing imagery with the change proving to be less jarring than past fill-in issues. Akin's image of Hades's throne (Chronos?) alone is worth the price of the comic and Matthew Wilson's colors are as lovely as ever. Whether you love or hate what Azzarello has done with the character of Wonder Woman, it cannot be said that his take on the Princess of Power is void of creativity, thought, or an interesting re-imagining of  epic characters. With any luck this book will steer clear of crossovers and events for some time to come and will continue the bold look at this hero's journey . HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Daredevil #13
Daredevil #13 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Khoi Pham, published by Marvel Comics. Marvel releases what--by last count--is something like the 134th Daredevil comic within a two month period. Just kidding, it's probably the fourth or fifth, but you get the point. The good news is that this means more Waid Daredevil and that is never a bad thing. This is also somewhat of a "jumping on" point for the once dreary hero that succeeds in bringing new readers up to speed and rewards current readers with a great action-packed issue with a twist that I never saw coming. As one plot point is resolved another replaces it with Daredevil in a situation that is much-much-much less than optimal. Daredevil is a blast and a comic that both superhero fans and fans of a well-told story can all enjoy. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Going to See Avengers Again But this Time with My Mom - What better way to revisit one of my all-time favorite movies than with the person who introduced wee-little Donist to comic books such as Spider-Man, Batman, Swamp Thing, The Micronauts, and, oh I don't know, The Avengers in the first place. My mom loved all of the other Marvel movies and this one is the best of them. Should be fun.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 5/11/2012

(Sung to the tune of The Car's "My Best Friend's Girl")

Donist World tells you somethin' neat
Comic book surprise
Talon scum the one to beat
Batman sees minus crazy eyes

(Here they come again)
And he beats them to a bloody pulp
He'll make you flip
(Here they come again)
Batcave's gettin' cold, run 'em down...gulp
Good comics such a groovy trip

Nina's Frankenstein's girl?
Give this title a whirl
Obie likes them just fine

Have you seen those Iron Man plastic toy masks, the ones with the voice modulator in them? You know what I'm talking about right? "I am Iron Man!" Have you ever seen a Boston terrier wear one, because that's exactly what Donist World CFO, Obie, is wearing. I am wearing a set of Hulk hands with a plastic Thor hammer duct-taped to them as well as a Thor helmet squeezing the bejesus out of my cranium--I guess I should have gotten a hair cut. Anyways, despite our excitement and dire need to re-watch a certain Marvel film again--sneaking a dog into a theater is no easy task, I tell you--you might notice that the books mentioned below represent only half of the big two and not the one who put out the movie. So while you're trying to guess which flick has ol' Donist and Obie completely pumped, I'm gonna try to peel myself out of this rubber Black Widow costume which keeps tearing the hair off my chest, legs and...never mind, it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

Batman #9
Batman #9 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics. "The Night of the Owls" is in full swing and despite being yet another crossover in the New 52, and comprising 19 different issues over 12 titles, it is safe to say that following only Batman works out just fine. I have nothing against the other 11 titles, I just have other things that my $33.89 can be spent on and as much as I love the character of Batman, I'm in this for Snyder's writing and Capullo's lovely art.
Wayne Manor has been infiltrated by a group of deadly Talons, but Batman has a suit of war armor to even the odds. That and a butler named Alfred who is locked in the safe room and is dropping the temperature of the Batcave to a level that will slow the superhuman owls down enough for the Bat to take them all down, IF he doesn't die from exposure himself. He also has some other tricks up his sleeve to dispatch the Owl infestation, but as the outcome of the battle shifts to Batman's advantage, the symbol of the Court of Owls hangs in the Gotham night sky and Batman has to rush to protect the few remaining survivors on the Talon's hit list, namely Lincoln March. Can he make it in time? What vital piece of information does March hold?
Another great action packed issue in the "Night of the Owls" storyline has come and gone, but as much as I enjoyed the past two installments, I'm ready for Batman to get back to what makes him such an amazing character, the moment when he solves the mystery. Of course you cannot have a Batman comic that doesn't have the hero punching someone in the face or stomping the baddie in unique and creative ways, but this hero is known for his sharp mind and deductive prowess as well as his stubbornness and occassional over-confidence. That is the aspect of the character I want to read about the most, and that is what looks to be coming with the next issue; I can't wait. As for Capullo's illustrations, I'm finding it increasingly more difficult to complement the guy issue to issue, so let's just say this one is more beautiful than the previous one. For a crossover comic, "Night of the Owls" could have been an Infinity Crusade (Marvel crossover from the '90s) level of annoyance, but it is not. DC thankfully allows the reader to clearly follow the story with the title issue alone, with the crossover titles only adding to the experience as opposed to being a requirement to understanding what is happening. I am eager to see what Batman does with his newly gained knowledge and he proves not only that brains beats brawn, but having both makes him undefeatable. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Frankenstein Agent
of SHADE #9
Frankenstein Agent of SHADE #9 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Alberto Ponticelli, published by DC Comics. What do you know...another New 52 DC crossover book, but you know what Donist World fans? This is actually one that I follow ALL of the books involved. This was not intentional, it just happened and I'm glad that it did. This issue--as the title printed on the cover clearly states--deals with the menace of the Rot, which ties Frankenstein to Scott Snyder's Swamp Thing and Jeff Lemire's other (and fantastic) book Animal Man.
Father, the head of SHADE, has given Frankenstein and Nina, the fish woman, their latest assignment: they must find Animal Man and find why dead animals are rising from their graves. Frankenstein, although losing trust in Father, agrees to go and what he finds once on-site can make even a monster's blood run cold. Lying dead, bloated and misshapen is one Detective Karl Krenshaw, who, unknown to Frank, was a victim of the Rot. What follows is a gross battle that Frank and Nina cannot possibly win without the aid of SHADE, but winning drives home a known truth that would threaten Frankenstein's resolve, if not for Nina's kindness. The hunt for Animal Man is on.
I have to admit that I have been toying with the idea of dropping Frankenstein Agent of Shade, but after reading this issue, I will be staying on and seeing what Matt Kindt has in store for the characters once he takes over the writing duties. Lemire does a wonderful job of getting the reader to love a monster and his friend especially in the scene where we see Frankenstein offer up a rare but touching smile. Ponticelli's cleaner line work is easier to follow and ultimately more striking than what was produced at the beginning of the series and thus makes the book more accessible to new readers. One mistake in the art that made me laugh was in the scene with Frank and Nina sitting on the rock and Frank turns to look at Nina, but his little mohawk of hair stays in the same position as when he was staring straight ahead at the ground. The slip managed to be more charming than disruptive just as this particular crossover managed to pull me back into a story that was beginning to lose me as a reader. RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
The Avengers Movie - Okay, I'm not going to go into any detail here as MANY other sites have written some oozing-with-adoration reviews. Let's just say I loved it, my wife loved it, and I'm going to take my mom to see it next week. "Your mom?!" you say. Well, guess who bought me all those comic books when I was nuthin' but a little cuss. Just know that I really enjoyed the Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America movies and this one blew them ALL out of the water. Great character development, fantastic lines, intense action and a decent threat made this a must-own movie and one that I will gladly see multiple times in the theater. If I have to say something bothered me, it was that Loki's motivation could have been a little more realistic, the on/off switch (you'll know once you see the movie) was a little too convenient, Hulk had an odd change, and another event was a little forced (you'll know it when you see it). But despite those minor negatives to the story, I L-O-V-E-D T The Avengers movie and there's a reason why it's kicking ace in the box's a helluva ride. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

My Note to My Insurance Company - Last week I told you about how Blue Cross Blue Shield had sent me a check in January for $34.50 and then two weeks ago sent me a letter saying they made an error and to pay them back immediately or they would send me to collections. There were no apologies for the inconvenience, there was no remittance slip, no instructions of who to make the check out to, the return address was different on the letter than what was listed on the prepaid envelope (at least they gave me that). I ended up calling them to try to talk the representative into waiving the $34.50, but they were the ones in charge and they weren't having it. Pay up, Donist, or go to collections. So I paid up, but I wrote a little note to them that stated the following:

Please add this $34.50, that was your error, to your CEO's $4.5 million 2010 compensation package. Thank you for threatening me with collections.

They could have at least been polite about it, they were the ones that (not "who," corporations are NOT people) screwed up. Bummer.

Our Complex Is Being Tented for Termites -Talk about a pain in the rear. Packing up to go to a hotel, double bagging food that stays, putting everything that did not need to be in a refrigerator into storage (that gets tented next), plants into the car ports and an 8:00 AM "get out." Not fun, but at least I cleared out a lot of ancient crap from the refrigerator that could food poison a mummy. This is also why this FSoH/SitW is a tad rushed. Oh well, the termites were getting bad.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 5/4/2012

(Sung to the tune of Kriss Kross's "Jump")

Jump, Jump, you know, you should read 'em
Obie is not having anything today
Didn't buy your comics? Be stressed out!
Donist World will make you

Jump, Jump
Kenji's bat will smack ya whump, whump
Swamp Thing is more than a stump, stump
DD's love makes his heart thump, thump

Rex, Zombie Killer, you best be buyin' son, 'cause it's rad
Abby and Alec's forbidden love, kept apart, so sad
Now get up bump, bump wiggle and shake your rump
Hit your comic store for books that'll make you wanna jump

I'm going to talk in a whisper today and keep the intro somewhat short, so gather close kids. You see Obie, my friends' Boston terrier and COO of Donist World, is consumed by one of the titles listed below. Wanna take a guess at which one that might be. Anyhow, he's in comic book La La Land and commands dead silence as he reads his books, but today he is even more intent on my keeping my yapper shut. The good news is that every single book I bought this week was damn incredible and I had a blast reading all of them. So let's get into it right away and have a look at...

Friday Slice of Heaven

Rex, Zombie Killer #1
Rex, Zombie Killer #1 - Written by Rob Anderson and illustrated by Dafu Yu, published by Big Dog Ink. Full disclosure here...I know Rob. He's General Manager at Comics Experience, a member of the Brutal Circle (yes, we need to post something soon), an immensely talented writer, and a friend who I have not yet met in person. That said, I would not put a book, even his, on Donist World unless I felt there was something special about it, and it was worth reading. Of course I would mention something about it somewhere, but not in the top spot. Now, with all of that out of the need to read this book.
The zompacalypse has hit, but instead of following a ragtag group of men and women struggling to survive the harsh conditions of the new world before them, we have a group of animals. They consist of the following:  Rex, a golden retriever with an intellect far beyond what is normal for the breed or most humans for that matter; Brutus, a previously abused pit bull whose challenges before the fall make him a formidable opponent; Buttercup, a small but brave corgi who lends much optimism to her new family; Snowball, a white cat with a disliking of everyone and everything...except for food; Kenji, a sign language-speaking gorilla with a baseball bat. Each character has their own personality and traits, some of which do not work to their own personal benefit, but together they form a tight team, a pack. Each animal is desperate to survive and with the aid of Rex's superior intellect they devise a plan to head toward "Nah-vah-da" in hopes of finding the scientist who raised Rex. Just as they begin their journey, Brutus is abducted by a gang of cruel bikers who have a horrible fate in store for the pit bull, but his pack sets out to rescue him from the terrible compound with a plan that rests primarily on the shoulders of one happy, little corgi named Buttercup.
This book was written for me. If you've read any of my posts in the past, you know that I'm a dog lover and an animal lover. Hell, the COO of Donist World is a Boston terrier for gosh sake, but what we have here are three dogs, a cat and a gorilla, all of whom have distinct, strong personalities that can easily be attributed to your own pets and to some degree people. Anderson gets you to identify with and care for each animal almost immediately. It is impossible to not sympathize with the sad, dire past lives of primarily Rex and Buttercup in this issue, and the flashbacks to their situations pull painfully at your heart. As with The Walking Dead the zombies are a fact of life in this world, and the true monsters are the humans, just as they unfortunately could be in the world before the dead combed the streets for the living...ask Brutus, he'll agree. Dafu Yu provides beautiful artwork that almost has a classic comics feel for the animals, while maintaining a more realistic look for humans and zombies to great effect that is enhanced by the striking colors of Kevin Volo. Rex, Zombie Killer is a stark look at the effects of a zombie outbreak on the world as seen from the eyes of not just our pets, but other animals...both loved and abused. At one moment action-packed and riveting, the other emotionally touching, Rex is everything a comic book lover, pet lover, horror lover could ask for and at 56 pages for $3.50 this is a must buy. I can't wait to see what comes next. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
*sidenote - Damn you, Rob for writing a comic that actually made me cry. Buttercup is the best.

Swamp Thing #9
Swamp Thing #9 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Yanick Paquette and Marco Rudy, published by DC Comics. After animals, I'm a sucker for a good love story. Alan Moore's Swamp Thing run created one of the best with the love between Swamp Thing and Abigail, and its statement to the power of that emotion, its fluidity and what draws certain individuals together. Snyder has once again expertly expanded upon his predecessor's work and in turn made it his own as Alec and Abigail struggle to be together despite the insurmountable obstacles working against them.
Abigail has been transformed into the Queen of the Rot, a creature remotely resembling Sethe only with more of an insect quality about her. She is horrific, powerful and with Sethe's influence she is about to annihilate the Green's warrior, Alec Holland. But Alec thought ahead before engaging with the Rot and returns control to Abby, the woman he has very real memories of loving from a life he never actually lived. Abby breaks free and in turn uses the power of the rot to destroy Sethe and to heal the dying Alec. In the aftermath, the true evil rises once again, a foe from years past, one who fully intends to keep up the family link to the Rot.
Fantastic! Scott Snyder keeps upping the stakes on my favorite comic of the new 52 and he has successfully brought me back to one of my all-time favorite comic characters. In Moore's run the strain on Abby and Alec's relationship was that they were human and plant, but they worked around this. With Snyder's take we have an exceptionally powerful agent of the Rot and the strongest warrior of the Green and although they are together now, there are some foreseeable problems with the situation, but ones they will have to work through. This issue was almost as exceptional as the past few, but the mid-book change of artist from Paquette to Rudy was noticeable and jarring. This is not to say that Rudy's art was subpar, only that the change did take me out of the book for a moment, but not by much. Then there's the last panel reveal that will leave the fans of this series desperate for the next issue and happily terrified for what is to come. If you have not been reading Snyder's Swamp Thing, don't wait until August to buy the hardcover of this series, track down these issues and experience an engaging horror story and one of the best books DC is releasing. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Daredevil #12
Daredevil #12 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Chris Samnee, published by Marvel Comics. Before I talk about the actual book, how about this cover? Damn sexy, amiright? Reminds me of the time Obie and I were downtown and...never mind. Anyways...Daredevil. Growing up, my brother was always the Daredevil guy. I was more the Micronauts, Swamp Thing and more "gritty" comics guy, but after reading many of his Miller Hornhead comics, I can definitely say that I was a solid fan. Then some bad things happened in the '90s, not bad to the character, but bad for the character. Bendis and Brubaker came to the rescue and both of their runs were great in the heapings of misery that were unloaded on the blind hero, but I began to feel sorry for the guy--really sorry for the guy. Now, and for the past exceptional year, we get this cover which says plenty about DD's current life and although being a hero is never easy, Matt Murdoch is able to smile and enjoy life once again. But will it last?
Kristin McDuffie, the new Assistant District Attorney, is convinced that Matt Murdoch is actually Daredevil, but then again who doesn't suspect as much? The difference between Kristin and most other people is that she has Matt's attention as much as he has hers. The pair go on a date to the carnival, but not on an ordinary date, Kristin has agreed to let Matt blindfold her so that she can experience what it is like to be an ordinary blind person. Of course Matt is nowhere near ordinary, but anything to place doubt about his secret identity will work. The night goes perfectly as the pair's romance grows and Matt tells a story from school days with Foggy until a vengeful Black Spectre agent shows up to ruin the evening with a dire warning for Daredevil and Matt Murdoch.
Warning to fans of heroes punching villains or other heroes...this is not the issue for you. In fact, not a single punch is thrown and there's only one panel of heroes in costume. Again, only one panel of heroes in costume, and you know what? This is the best Marvel comic I've read in a year, and a tremendously well-written issue period. Where Swamp Thing was a story of an old love that refuses to die, Waid's Daredevil is a charming story of new love and the telling of a long-term friendship with his closest friend. I was hooked on the first page, and the second page splash revealed what was really happening and left me going, "ohhhhhh, I see." Then there's page five, which is laugh-out-loud funny with the playfulness between Krisitin and Matt and it was clear how much I would love this issue and wish for this romance to work. Chris Samnee. Man, oh man, this is a beautiful issue with great expressions telling everything you need to know about what is happening in the scene and I cannot wait to see what Samnee does next. Bravo, Waid and Samnee, this is the superhero comic I love to read. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Animal Man #9
Animal Man #9 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Steve Pugh, published by DC Comics. Buddy Baker is dead, not only that, his body is possessed by one of the Rot's Hunters Three and it is on a mission to destroy Buddy's daughter, Maxine. Buddy, the real Buddy, still exists and is stranded in the Red where he meets the shepherd of the realm. The pair, as well as a skeletal crow, begin their journey to see the Totems, but it seems the Rot has infected the Red with an increasing amount of pockets of decay that prevent the travelers from reaching their destination. Meanwhile, the living members of the Baker family meet a certain trench coat wearing, Englishman with a bad attitude and a smoking habit. Animal Man continues to be an exciting sister book to Snyder's Swamp Thing, and is one of the top three DC 52 books. If you read Swamp Thing or enjoy trippy horror comics, then this is the book for you. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sweet Tooth #33
Sweet Tooth #33 - Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics imprint. The first week of the month is usually a double dose of Jeff Lemire comics and Sweet Tooth continues to be an enjoyable harsh but fascinating look at a world torn asunder by a mysterious disease that leaves only animal children to be born to replace the rapidly dwindling human population. This issue is formatted in a widescreen, horizontal storybook manner (much like issue 18) with the text doing most of the heavy lifting for the pictures on the page. A lot of ground is covered in this format and although there is less art than usual, this issue is no less striking in either story or imagery. In this issue, the survivors mourn Lucy's death and the group is forced to split up with some going to Alaska and other's staying at the dam. Haggarty is found frozen to death in the snow, which is awesome in that the book setup this villain in a sort of "I'll be back" scenario, and Lemire showed how ridiculously unrealistic those situations can be. Finally one of the groups has a run in with a bad man from the past and life is about to get bleak for them, which will have repercussions on the other group in the future. Another great chapter in this dark, yet beautiful series. Okay, it is enjoyable in a twisted way. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Dial H #1
Dial H #1 - Written by China Miéville and illustrated by Mateus Santolouco, published by DC Comics. The third round of additions to the DC 52 hits with the revival of the House of Mystery tale "Dial H for Hero" comic. Nelse doesn't have a whole lot going for him. Not even 30 and he just had his first heart attack. No job, no lady, terrible diet, smoking and to think he used to be an athlete. Even his only friend, Darren, is at wit's end with him, but Nelse's life changes when he stumbles into a phone booth after he spots Darren getting tuned up by some thugs. After dialing, he transforms into the "hero" Boy Chimney, a grotesque but powerful being who rescues Darren and defeats the bad guys. Too bad the thugs aren't done with Darren, but Nelse can still "talk" to them...after he uses the phone booth to turn into a new bizarre "hero" of course. Dial H is another nice surprise in the "Dark" line and for a first issue to a series I'm barely familiar with, I'm excited to see what happens next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Took the Day Off From Work to See... - the AVENGERS! A day off of work is always great, but getting up early to write without a rush out the door, coupled with Amy's fresh strawberry and blueberry scones, followed by a run, a viewing of Iron Man, playtime with the dog, beers in the afternoon at Hollister Brewing Company, and then the Avengers movie?! I couldn't have a better day planned. I can't wait to see the movie that I've been waiting to see for most of my life.

Slice Into the Woods

Blue Cross Blue Shield - As some of you have read in my "One Heck of a Bad Month" post from October 2011, I went through some shit. Actually, I went through a lot of shit in 2011, but October was the worst. Anyhow, I'm thankful that I have health insurance and it made the surgery (and the unnecessary following events) not devastating from a financial standing, but that's the point of health insurance. Over the past six months I have received so many bills and explanation of benefits that make zero sense, that when I received a check from Blue Cross Blue Shield for $34.50 for an overpayment, I just shrugged my shoulders, cashed it and bought some extra comics. Why not? Then I received a letter this week that stated the following:

Dear Donald McMillan

We sent payment to you on January 11, 2012, in error for the patient listed above. We must request that you refund $34.50 for the reason(s) stated below.


If we have not heard from you within 30 days, we will deduct this amount from future payments to you and/or send this information to our collections agency. Please send this amount and blah, blah, blah.

So, what they are telling me is that they screwed up with a drop-in-the-bucket amount and they will send me to collections if I don't pay them back. Nice. All they needed to add was "Hey Asshole" instead of my name to really drive home their thoughts about those who contribute (and/or their employers who cover this as employee compensation) the premiums that enable the CEO to take in just above $4.5 million in compensation for the 2010 year (as provided by a two minute google search...research man, research). Hey CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield, enjoy my contribution to the remodel of your third vacation home's swimming pool. Thanks a lot, smooches, Donist.