Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 6/8/2012

(Sung to the tune of Human League's "Don't You Want Me?")

You'd been workin' for the Rot doing gross-ass stuff, wow
When Alec met you
He took you on, you beat him up, you tweaked with his mind
Now he's changed to someone new
Arcane's a big dummy, wants to bring the world to its knees
It's not just the Green out to get you
Did you forget? Animal Man's out to hand you your butt
Green/Red'll beat you black and blue

Don't, don't you trust me?
You know you want to read it
Good comics? Donist makes it easy

Don't, don't you trust me?
You know you want to read it 
Good comics? Donist makes it easy

They're not that hard to find
Take it easy on your mind
You want another, buy Sweet Tooth, you won't be sorry

Buy good comics, baby?
Buy good comics, ohhhhhhhhhhh

Ohhhhmmmmm. Ting. Ohhhhmmmmm. Ting. Ohhhhmmmmm-Badabing. Ting. 
Hello there Donist World readers, I'm here with my friends' Boston terrier, Obie, who is also the Donist World CFO--despite what the shareholders say regarding those pesky alleged embezzlement charges. Seriously, it was just a short-term loan so he could buy some high-end kibble while waiting for a sure thing to come in. Anyways, we are here at the Donist World corporate offices and are wearing our heavy robes--they're actually hooded towels, but those work in a pinch--listening to some Enigma and burning sage while we pour over this week's heavenly comics in search of enlightenment and divine something or other. We're serious about finding good comics and if there's something we're overlooking let us know.

Mea Culpa, the truth is out there, it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

Swamp Thing #10
Swamp Thing #10 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Francesco Francavilla, published by DC Comics. I would first like to thank Scott Snyder for giving me nightmares for the next week based off of not just this issue, but off the opening page. The thanks need to also go to Francesco Francavilla for providing the images accompanying the terrifying text. Combined, the effect is a doozy and you still have 19 (should be 23) pages to really drive home just how creepy the character of Anton Arcane has been since 1972.
Anton Arcane is revealed as the Rot's champion, which is terrible news for Alec Holland and Abigail Arcane, who in this reboot is no longer Anton's niece, but his daughter. Last issue, Alec was gravely injured during Abby's rescue and now, wounded and life dwindling, it's up to Abby to return her love to the swamp where the Green's champion can heal. The Parliament of Trees receive a fresh start and as the Swamp Thing recovers, Anton schedules an impromptu family reunion.
Hurrah! The intro page and the closing page are enough for any longterm fan of Swamp Thing to give cheer, and then quickly retract their excitement when it sinks in just how bad a deal this is for Alec and Abby. Snyder tweaks Arcane and Abigail's history, while both expanding it--"I sired fifty children. All for the Rot."...brrrr--and keeping true to Anton Arcane's diabolical nature. Arcane has been reintroduced countless times since Alan Moore's run, but each instance seemed like a retreading of past ideas. That is not the case with Snyder's handling of the character. As previously mentioned, one page of five panels is all it takes to establish that Arcane is more than your run of the mill villain, he is something to be feared and with good reason. His frightening introduction is cemented with guest (?) artist Francesco Francavilla's stunning artwork and his vibrant, striking colors. As much as I have loved Paquette's illustrations on this title, it was a nice surprise to see Francavilla's work on one of my current favorite titles--be sure to check out both Snyder and Francavilla in the amazing Detective Comics. Speaking of Paquette, anyone familiar with Swamp Thing will notice the homage to Bernie Wrightson's cover for the 1973 Swamp Thing #10 - "The Man Who Would Not Die," which was my first exposure to Swamp Thing as a child. Do I need to be more clear that I am loving this comic? I didn't think so. Good luck sleeping soundly after reading this one. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Animal Man #10
Animal Man #10 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Steve Pugh, published by DC Comics. crossover-sense is tingling! Quick! To the Event Mobile! Okay, I might be overreacting a bit since Animal Man and Swamp Thing are both characters with ties to the heroes of DC Universe, especially Animal Man; Lemire is also now writing Justice League Dark. It makes sense that Constantine, Xanadu and Zatanna show up in this month's issue given that they are tied to magic and the super natural. The Rot vs. the Red and the Green war would definitely expand outside of the the two main titles, but let's hope that the non-fringe characters stay out of Lemire and Snyder's brilliant tale. Sorry, Supes. Sorry, Bats. Sorry, Wondy. I prefer to take my Animal Man sugar...extra green.
Buddy Baker, Animal Man, is dead. Not only did the Rot kill him in the real world, it took control of his body and now seeks to push its way into the Red as an increasing number of Rot pockets (not Hot Pockets...although the two might be related) are popping up. Buddy and the goat ferryman attempt to stop one such pocket, but find that they have overestimated the severity of the situation. Meanwhile, the Baker family meet Constantine, Zatanna and Xanadu who bring grave warnings about what may come to pass. Constantine and Cliff exchange some great putdowns, and Cliff is reunited with his "father." The warriors of the Red come to the rescue and Buddy receives some disturbing news about how to set things right.
Another big hurrah! The crossover, which is logical and fitting to the overall story, is brief and provides enough information for the characters and the reader to know that the situation is dire and to be prepared for what is to come. Much of this issue is spent developing the odd world that is the Red and its inhabitants--love the dog-headed warriors--and allows Buddy to learn and grow to meet the menace that has severely outclassed him. Steve Pugh delivers some cool looking knights of the Red and is an equal followup to Travel Foreman in the best of ways, while Lovern Kindzierski bridges the change in illustrators with her beautiful and consistent colors. With Buddy's death and pending rebirth as the protector of the Red's avatar, Lemire gives us much to look forward to leading up to the eventual meeting with Alec Holland. After this issue's foreboding ending, I can't wait to see what Buddy becomes to confront the horror of the Rot. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sweet Tooth #34
Sweet Tooth #34 - Written by Jeff Lemire, with illustrations by Jeff Lemire and Nate Powell, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint. Whoa Nellie! Did I hear right. Dang. Just...dang. Sweet Tooth will be coming to an end with the 40th issue. There, I said it, and as sad as I am to hear that one of the best books of the past few years is concluding, I am happy that Lemire will be ending his fantastic tale in the best way possible...his way.
Gus, Jepperd and the rest of the gang who left the "safety" of the dam to journey to Alaska take a backseat this issue to focus on the one who stayed behind, Johnny Abbot. As peaceful and harmless as Johnny might be, the same cannot be said for his brother Doug. This issue is a look at the history of the two brothers and what led one to kindness and one to cold cruelty. Now, Doug wants to know where Gus and Jepperd have gone, but Johnny isn't talking and Doug is running out of patience. Will Johhny spill the truth?
What a great issue. Lemire takes a second (third?) string character he has been developing for over two dozen issues and makes him matter in the best of ways. Johnny has been the not-too-bright-but-nice guy for most of the series, but through this quick glimpse into his history the reader finally begins to understand and sympathize with him. The same can even be said of the ruthless Doug and the direction his life took, but unfortunately Lemire's dark world is an unforgiving one. Lemire illustrates a handful of the pages, but the rest are illustrated by the outstanding Nate Powell whose style reminds me of the old '70s and '80s horror mags I used to love. Don''t get me wrong, I still love Lemire's work, it's just that Powell's illustrations and dark, moody colors were an interesting and beautiful way to tell the story of these troubled brothers; I need to seek out more of his work. With six issues left to go, it's sad to know that the clock is ticking, but I can't wait to see how Lemire brings this well-told tale to its rightful conclusion. A great comic, a fantastic read and one of the best books on the stand. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Dial H #2
Dial H #2 - Written by China Miéville and illustrated by Mateus Santolouco, published by DC Comics. The second issue of this reboot from decades past that I am barely familiar with continues to be a weird, and disturbing look at what happens when a poor ol' sad sack named Nelse stumbles across an "H Dial," a old rotary-style phone booth. When Nelse dials the letters H-E-R-O he transforms into a bizarre hero with which to fight the bad guys. As cool as this sounds, there are problems. He doesn't control what hero he becomes or what powers he might have. Plus the device is confined to a back alley and not the easiest to access, and who wants to return to being a middle-aged, overweight, heart-attack-waiting-to-happen after being someone with power and who can make a difference? I say this often of the comics that I enjoy the most, but this is definitely not like your everyday run-of-the-mill superhero comic and Miéville brings an interesting view to a genre that needed a shot in the arm. Let's hope this series sticks around for a while. Make mine the Iron Snail and give us more Shamanticore! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Zoo Brew at the Santa Barbara Zoo - What do you get when you mix twenty different breweries and capybaras? Why the Zoo Brew of course and one heck of a happy Donist. Unfortunately, with any event like this you get loads of wasted d-bags and drunk, girls in too-high heels and too little clothing falling down, but you can't win them all. The main favorites were Stone Brewery and Sequoia Brewing Company, which has a pub up in Fresno that I just have to visit--check out the beers and food on this menu! The $45 ticket price for the Zoo Brew was a bit steep, but the experience was well worth it.

Slice Into the Woods

Governor Scott "Koch Brother Tool" Walker Defeats Recall? - How the hell did that happen? Seriously? The enemy of public workers somehow survives to cause more damage, but with enough luck he's going to need that legal-defense fund--the one he doesn't want to discuss--any day now.

A Draining Week - The day job is kicking my keister and generally not putting me in the best state of mind, but I have still been writing everyday and revising the heck out of my first novel, which I should finish in the next month or two. Getting up early to work on my projects is the best way to start the day. If I attempted to write at night when I am brain-drained and exhausted, I would not be anywhere near where I am on my projects. Shifting my waking time made a huge difference. I wrote about it on the Brutal Circle here.

No comments:

Post a Comment