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.

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