Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 6/14/2012

(Sung to the tune of Jesus and Mary Chain's "Head On")

Batman's got a new foe, I'm tellin' you
A scary-ace motha to frighten you
Crazy mysteries to mind boggle you
This Talon's pissed off the Court of Owls too

And the way I feel tonight
Missing Sixth Gun makes me wanna cry
No Becky, no Drake burns me inside

At least I have Shade, you oughta know why
I'm dang nutty for that dark blooded guy
Frazer winds up, I can't cool down
I can't pull my chin off the ground

Howdy Donist World devotees (e.g. Hi Mom!). I'm here with Obie who you all know is the Donist World CFO and my friends' Boston terrier as well as my harshest critic. He's a dog of many hats, folks, but today it seems that he is donning the "harshest critic" one almost exclusively. You see, we were really looking forward to reading the newest issue of The Sixth Gun #23, but alas mighty Zeus has decreed that it shall not be. My copy was not waiting for me in my pull, which is disappointing to say the least and now Mister Prickle Pants himself won't even look at me as if it's somehow my fault. I mean look at him...he's so upset he won't even sneak a bite out of my sandwich and put it back in the refrigerator hoping I won't notice. Unfortunately, that's not the only thing disappointing Obie, you see I also put in my PTO (paid time off...for you non-working palookas) and I will have to miss next week's FSoH/SitW post or at the least delay it for a few days. Okay, he has a right to be upset about that, but the missing The Sixth not my fault. Cheer up, Obie, things aren't that bad. Buck up little camper, we'll beat that slope together. Did you forget about the other titles that came out this week? You know what I'm talking about, it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

Batman #10
Batman #10 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics. Snyder and Capullo have spent the better part of a year revealing to Batman a Gotham he was never aware even existed, a Gotham ruled by the mysterious Court of Owls. The penultimate installment to the "Owls" storyline has arrived, but do the shocks, twists and turns on the Batman proper title stand tall with Snyder's fabulous Detective Comics run which pulled me back into the Batverse in the first place? Yeah, sure, you betcha.
The Court of Owls's Talons have been taken down and most (keyword "most") of their assassination attempts have been failures. Despite the loss of its warriors, the Court relaxes in the comfort of their anonymity, but unfortunately they are wrong on that assumption. Batman has learned the identities of some of the Court's members and he means to put an end to them once and for all, but is he ready to deal with a shocking secret he only just realized but refuses to believe as he squares off against a traitor in the Owls's midst?
For the past 10 issues--plus an annual--Snyder exhibits the Batman as a character as steadfast in his convictions as he is strong in his denial of the "truth". Whether the "truth" revealed this issue by the rogue Owl is real or not, Bruce Wayne is going to be affected by this secret especially after the torment the mysterious group has put him through. Then again he can always deny it, but denial has been the cause of far too many of his problems of late. Capullo comes through with even better artwork than the previous issue--I know, I say this every time, but it's true--with the most striking images coming primarily from the panels of the Willowwood Home for Children, which are simply C-R-E-E-P-Y. Colorist FCO Plascencia continues to take already frightening imagery and expand the mood into something even more menacing in the best of ways. The thrills and--the best part--the chills flow freely with this issue of Batman leaving the reader with a painful monthlong wait for the exciting conclusion to this great run. July can't come soon enough. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Shade #9
The Shade #9 - Written by James Robinson and illustrated by Frazer Irving, published by DC Comics. Just before I got out of comics for the rougher part of the '90s, I was buying and immensely enjoying James Robinson's Starman series. Jack Knight was the perfect embodiment to the (semi)average Joe reluctantly taking up the family business of super heroics. Reintroduced at the beginning of that series was the character of the Shade, a "reformed" villain and man of mystery who became one of my favorite comic characters of all time. With the end of Starman, the Shade essentially vanished until the New 52 thawed him out for this maxi-series that has brought back the dark, complex character I love.
Being an immortal is not as easy as it seems, especially when your descendants put out a hit on your endless life. The Shade has traveled the world in search of answers as to why his family want him dead, which does little to boost morale or the ego, but he still needs to know. He's close to finding those who hired the vastly unprepared assassins and the Shade has no problem slipping into old, cruel habits that his enemies have assumed he had long given up.
Despite a couple of single issues in this fantastic series which I didn't absolutely love--yet still enjoyed--The Shade has been a fun continuation of the reestablished character who Robinson made his own. For the past eight issues, the Shade has acted more as the hero people presume him to be than the villain he once was, but Robinson made the smart move of showing that old Dickie Swift has no qualms about playing rough even if that involves flat out killing a minor leaguer here or there. The writing on this issue alone was worthy of mention, but it was the pleasant surprise--at least to me--of the this arc being illustrated by Frazer Irving that made this issue exceptional. Irving absolutely blew me away on the tragically short-lived Xombi revival, and he is no less stunning in this issue. His art and color palette is something that needs to be experienced to be believed and, in fact, his depiction of the Shade is my favorite outside of Tony Harris. With only three installments left to go, here's hoping the Shade does not retreat back into the shadows once the series is complete. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

No The Sixth Gun #23 This Week?!? - Are you pulling my leg Mister LCS Man? The latest issue of The Sixth Gun didn't come out this week because of an error that puts it at about one and a half weeks late? Hmmm...seems like your blaming Diamond--which I am all for on almost all occasions--but are you sure that you didn't just forget to order it for me? Why couldn't it have been a different title, one that I'm considering dropping? For some odd reason of all the titles I collect, The Sixth Gun is the one that gets mucked about with the most. I can almost guarantee that if one comic is to be missed in my pull on any given month, there's a 90%+ chance it will be the one that's in my top three. Oh woe is me. "It ain't no fun if the homies can't have their Sixth Gun."

No FSoH/SitW Next Week - Gasp! Goes my mom and Obie. What do you mean no FSoH/SitW next week, Donist? Well, I have a wedding to attend and I won't be able to pick up my comics in time to write next weeks installment, at least not in time for Friday. I will do something, but it will probably be a condensed version of my normal rants and it will unfortunately be late. I could buy digital versions of my comics--waiting for Saga is not going to be easy--but I really can't support buying digital comics at full retail print prices...publishers are you listening? Anyways, apologies, but sometimes life gets in the way of things especially when you've got lots of...

Stress - Certain factors of an 8-5 nature that have nothing to do with comics, novels or writing have me stressed to my eyeballs. Thankfully I have my morning writing and revising routine which spurs my mind to something other than worry. Writing actually acts as an equalizing buffer for a good portion of what is to come later in the day and nothing beats the sense of accomplishment that comes knowing I have taken a character and made them more interesting or devised what is to be a stunning comic book panel as the sun first begins to rise. Getting into the routine was not exactly easy, but its something I cannot give up. Now that I've completed another Donist World "FSoH/SitW," I'm off to bring these ol' peepers back to a full eight hours of stress. At least there's tomorrow and more revising of the novel to do, plus it's the weekend...BONUS!

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