Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 7/27/2012

(sung to the tune of Erasure's "Chains of Love")

How could I explain
Being told still no Sixth Gun bad news
Now I can explain
I got my copy

Do you remember
This past Wednesday ahaha
When comics lined the shelves
You walk in man oh man oh man
I skip through the aisles light as a feather
Miss titles? Never
Reading books forever

Scaring me,  oh my, hold me
Donist says it's Locke and Key I love
Knock them socks, knock them off now
Together with Bode, Tyler, Kinsey
It's Locke and Key that I love

Hello there all you happy people. We here at Donist World would like to apologize for being late with the post--I try to have these up early in the morning--but today I've spent most of the time chasing Obie, my friends' Boston Terrier and Donist World CFO, around the office in an attempt to get him to cough up the petty cash that he "borrowed" last week for his failed attempt to see The Dark Knight Rises. For a 20 lb dog it's pretty easy for him to squirrel away behind a dresser or squeeze between the couch cushions while he attempts to avoid the wrath of the Donist, but he's only delaying the inevitable. The problem is that he also read the absoludicrously great Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks and he's so scared he must have really dug in somewhere. How many companies do you know that have to reprimand their CFO with a broom? Man, things are tough all over, but at least we have...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Locke & Key V.5:
Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks HC - Written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, published by IDW. Right around the time the third Locke & Key chapter was in full swing, I caved into the pressure and all of the glowing reviews for this horror book and bought the digital version of "Welcome to Lovecraft," the first chapter, for my iPad for about $.99 per issue. Then I sat on them for a while, possibly a few months, I don't know why; I probably had a lot of things going on. Eventually I stumbled across those digital copies and I thought "why not?" and gave the first issue a read, then the next, then the next and too terribly soon I was done. I needed more. I ordered the hardcovers of volume one (double dip), two and three and I madly read through all three volumes in the span of a week. Still I needed more, and a month or so later the of fourth volume released and then came the long, painful wait for the latest gorgeous hardcover from IDW. With each successive volume there is so much anticipation built up that when I first crack open the cover, there's a tiny seed of doubt as to whether the book I'm about to read will continue the trend of greatness I have become used to with Locke & Key. I should know better. These guys have it all under control.
The first issue reveals both the tragic history of the Lovecraft Keyhouse home and the mystery of the whispering metal from which the keys are made. Issue two reminds the reader that one of the Locke kids is not who he is supposed to be with a startling page one tragedy that leads back to the head key and the discovery of a new one. Then we learn what the time key can really do as we travel back in time to see where it all went wrong for the Locke kids' father and his friends when they foolishly agree to retrieve more of the whispering metal to disastrous effect. We also learn of how Dodge came to be so evil. The final two chapters of "Clockworks" ends with Rendell Locke and his friends dealing with the problem that has become Dodge and possibly making things worse. Tyler and Kinsey are left knowing the past, but unsure of what they want to do with that knowledge as Locke & Key leads into its sixth and final volume.
Locke & Key is exactly the type of comic book that horror, comics, and well-told stories fans should be reading. Gabriel Rodriguez continues to provide beautiful sequentials and succeeds in having you almost feel the emotions right alongside each of the characters whether that is despair, horror or relief over a minor victory. Jay Fotos provides brilliant colors accentuating Rodriguez's art and brings even more mood to each panel. Then there's Joe Hill. Ever since the first issue from the first volume, I was drawn to Tyler, Kinsey, Bode and the tragedy their family has been forced to endure. Hill not only gets you to love his characters as much as he clearly does, but also the world of wonder he has created. Because of this I did not notice that the Locke kids were only really in two of the six issues in this volume, but the world around Keyhouse is so fascinating that I was fine having a break from the kids as secrets were revealed and the history developed. Keyhouse is essentially a character in its own right. At this point, Hill and Rodriguez can reveal the "baking key," which allows the user to unlock a secret compartment in the oven that bakes the best damn chocolate chip oatmeal cookies in existence, have it run for six issues and I would be completely on board.
In a way, I'm thankful for lagging on reading this fantastic book as it allowed me to read the first four volumes almost back to back, but now comes the hard part, folks. The wait for the final chapter, for that beautiful hardcover with the color-coordinated ribbon marker to display proudly on the "treasures" shelf. I don't think I'm going to be able to wait for the next six issues to finish. It looks like I'm going to go digital with a double dip on the lovely final hardcover volume; this series is worth it and I cannot praise it enough. Now it's time to reread all five volumes back to back while I wait, and I can also pass the time by cursing the executives that shutdown the Locke & Key TV pilot that I still need to see. If you are not reading this fine comic you are missing out on one of the best books on the stands, and one that will be remembered for its greatness for years later. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

The Sixth Gun #23
The Sixth Gun #23 - Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Tyler Crook, published by Oni Press. Talk about a hell of a long wait just to get this issue in my grimy little mitts. What was it? Five weeks late or something like that? Ugh, whatever. At least the wait for the next issue will be much less, but the main question that Obie and my mom want to know, was it worth the wait? A drumroll please...yes it was, it's freakin' The Sixth Gun, of course it was worth the wait.
Now here's someone we haven't seen for a long time. Kirby Hale is back after he put poor Becky Montcrief through an emotional ringer in his attempt to get ahold of five of the "six guns," relics of devastating power and the ability to raise hell...literally. As far as good-looking, charming strangers go, Kirby's one of the more attractive and beguiling of the lot, but he's also a liar who'll sweet talk you outta your boots as you thank him for doing so. Also back in this issue is Missy Hume, who wants Kirby to retrieve the guns from the missing Drake and Becky, but luckily Missy knows just how to find them, provided Kirby's fine with talking to some dead folk to answer his questions.
For an interlude issue with a guest artist, there's still much to enjoy in this glimpse into Kirby Hale, who looks to play an important role in the upcoming storyline. Bunn offers a deeper look into the character who is just as charming as his mini-bio on the inside cover states, and you can't help but like the carefree (or is it careless? read and see) cowboy even as he lies his ass off on the very first page. It's great to see the return of the first graphic novel's spectral hanging tree, and the ever-creepy Missy Hume  showing up means life is about to go from worse to abysmal for Becky and Drake. Brian Hurtt's art is of course missed in this issue, and Tyler Crook steps in to do just as good a job as he did last time, but it is Bill Crabtree's wonderful colors that cement the fact that this is still The Sixth Gun we know and love. This book continues to be a blast and remains a must read for fans of supernatural mischief, Westerns, and the tales that come when the two collide. RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
I, Vampire #11
I, Vampire #11 - Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, published by DC Comics. It's here, the fight you never knew you were waiting for...Vampires versus Zombie Mummy Ninjas! At least I never knew I wanted it, but I will say that I'm glad we have it. This issue also brings the best Andrea Sorrentino art to date with epic, fierce battles like the double-page spread on pages 2-3 and also the one where Mary Queen of Blood floats above the carnage are simply stunning. As I have said with every issue of I, Vampire, it's the gorgeous coloring of Marcelo Maiolo that makes Sorrentino's art even more amazing and it's as if Maiolo was born to color action scenes in a blazing desert. The story itself is exciting and fun as Vampires bite Zombie Mummy Ninjas to become Vampire Zombie Mummy Ninjas (almost sounds like an Axe Cop character) while Tig and John manage to save themselves just in time to be reunited with Andrew as he perilously steps over the line in torturing the Van Helsings' leader. All in all an enjoyable comic, but with the last page comes an item of worry as yet another "crossover" looms with the proclamation, "Next: Zombies and Vampires and Stormwatch!!! Oh My!!!" Oh my, indeed. What's next, Aquaman? Green Lantern? How about just a vampire story like the one we had going from issue one through three? This might very well be the nail in this vampire series's coffin, but this issue is still RECOMMENDED!

The Dark Knight Rises - Film reviews are not necessarily my thing, so I will keep this one brief and spoiler free. Let's get down to the nitty gritty...did I like it? Hell yes, I liked it. I did have some issues with the movie, but those issues won't stop me from seeing it a second time and I will definitely be buying the Blu-Ray when it is released. We had dark, we had dreary, we had hopeless situations, broken relationships, heartache and betrayal...and a wee-little bit of hope to spice things up. This was fine. The action scenes were tremendous, the characters bold--although I would have liked to have seen more of Bruce Wayne/Batman--and the story complex, which is all great, but there were times that I could not understand the muffled Bane, or the raspy Bat. There were also some sketchy bits of dialogue during the first hour as well as some in-your-face exposition, but after that people began to talk like well...actual people. I guess what I'm saying is that even at nearly three hours, things seemed a little rushed and I wanted more. Maybe this movie could have stood to have the Twilight 4 (Spooning to New Heights or Nearly-Nekkid Dudes With Cut-Offs or whatever it was called) treatment of two movies to round out the chapter. My wife would not have been happy with two movies, but I'm sure I would have been. Also, if the movie was going to tie into the whole 1% versus 99% thing, I would have liked to have seen that carried through a little more, but regardless, TDKR (as the cool kids call it) was an intense, fun ride. I still preferred The Dark Knight, but I knew it was going to be hard to beat going in to this third and final chapter. Still, definitely worth seeing and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

Slice Into the Woods

Let's Keep it Mellow - No complaining this week. We're gonna keep it mellow, have a beer and bust out the lawn chair while we prepare to start Locke & Key from the beginning again. Cheers.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 7/20/2012

***Before I get to the reviews and make with the funny (this is up to debate), I must say that my heart goes out to the families and to those killed and wounded in Aurora, Colorado at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. This is a horrible tragedy for those who only wanted to have a good time and live their lives. What happened is immensely unfair.

(Sung to the tune of Kim Wilde's "Kids in America")

Looking through my comics shop window
New release table has Saga?! So stoked I cry 
Best get my ass inside to make the buy

Rachel Rising's horror be grooving
Wonder Woman's gods are unnerving
Heading down, I search for Captain Marvel YEAH! it is found

Daredevil's senses are going 
My love of these books is growing

Comic books rock America - Whoa!
Comic books rock America - Whoa!
Everybody thrill to the comics n' get down

I'm flying solo this week as Obie--Donist World CFO and my friends' Boston terrier--is off at the theater, camped out to be the first in line to see The Dark Knight Rises when the doors open this afternoon. I'm going later, but the little guy just couldn't wait, but between you all (mom) and me, I have a suspicion that he raided the Donist World petty cash fund again for money to buy a ticket. You know what? I'll be the one laughing when he figures out that movie theaters don't admit dogs even if they are huge Batman fans and CFOs of a multi-levels-of-debt corporation. I'll be the one to pat him on the head saying, "Stay," as I pass him on my way into the theater as his entrance-denied butt stands with the ticket that he bought (with stolen funds) clenched in his jaws. Sorry, Obie, you'll just have to wait for the Blu-Ray. Until then, he can question where the hell our copy of the still missing The Sixth Gun is and enjoy the books we read this week. With that, it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Saga #5
Saga #5 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, published by Image Comics. Ahhh, yes, that's the comic. That sure hits the spot. Saga is the type of comic that you want to read by candlelight, in your whirlpool bath (plenty of bubbles), while sipping a glass of wine (cabernet) to the sounds of Grant Green's Idle Moments and eating chocolate-covered blueberries from a crystal candy dish. I'm only partially joking here, but as I found out, comics and bathwater don't mix and you need a heck of a lot of candles to even read them, but the point I'm trying to make is that Saga is something special and that you need to create the proper environment to sit-down and absorb this fantastic comic. Hey, I could have said DeBarge instead of Grant Green to be funny, but I didn't. Recognize.
Prince Robot IV isn't making any headway on his quest to find Alana, Marko or their baby Hazel, but he is enjoying the book Heist that might have something to do with the horned man from Weave becoming involved with a winged native of Landfall. Then comes the news neither IV (or the reader) was expecting. Meanwhile, the on-the-run parents stand surrounded by IV's forces and the usually docile and presumed-wimpy-until-proven-awesome Marko shows why you do not mess with his family. Period. Man oh man, don't get that guy mad. The Will runs into some difficulty in his attempt to liberate the child from Sextillion, and calls for some help from an old flame suffering from a case of heartburn.
There have only been a few comics throughout my life that have left me desperate, almost frantic, for the next issue (see The Micronauts, Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, The Preacher, The Authority and my still missing The Sixth Gun) and Saga--only five issues in btw--is one of those comics. It has everything a Donist could want: science fiction, fantasy, forbidden love, aliens, robots, monsters, sex, and lying cats. Throw in a perfectly paced and carefully constructed story with lovely, sequential art that conveys all the right emotions and you have Saga, a comic book completely under the creators' control and told exactly the way they wish to tell it. I'm sure this series is already optioned for television or a movie and if that's the case, I hope that it will be done right; I would love to see Vaughan and Staples's work on the screen, but more than anything the comic comes first and it's going to be a long 30 or so days until the next stellar issue. In case you can't tell, this is a fantastic comic book and my favorite title on the stands. Time to start a bath and light some candles for the reread. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising #9
Rachel Rising #9 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. Speaking of amazing comic books that leave me desperate for the next issue, and another creator-owned title as well, Rachel Rising is out and it is a doozy of an issue. After the must-read, emotionally-charged Strangers in Paradise (Buy them all, please) and the sci-fi thriller Echo (Buy the complete edition, please), Moore's new dramatic horror series is exactly the type of follow up fans of this creator could have hoped for.
While Rachel tries to find the mysterious blonde woman who only a few people can actually see, the same blonde woman is searching for Zoe, the little girl who has been cutting a murderous path through Manson. The cover of this issue pretty much spells out who or what is behind some of what is happening in this normally sleepy town and a whole heaping of explanations come crashing down in the best of ways. Finally, Jet finally gets some backbone and possibly an unexpected guest as well.
The pacing of this issue shifts into high gear as more of the mystery of the blonde woman is uncovered and her coconspirator is revealed. Like the television show Lost, many new questions arise, but unlike that oftentimes mind boggling show, actual answers are provided in this issue as to what has been going on and those answers come fast and harsh--very harsh. But again, the reveals lead to even larger questions that push the story and the fantastic characters forward leaving the reader in anticipation of the next issue. Terry Moore is a creator you should be following if you have not already been doing so, with all three of his series being fantastic reads, but if you are looking for an intelligent, compelling, and beautiful horror comic--actual horror, not slasher/splatter nonsense--then you know what you need to do. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wonder Woman #11
Wonder Woman #11 - Written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Cliff Chiang, published by DC Comics. I have been loving Azzarello and Chang's take on Wonder Woman with a story based more in myth than in super heroics and exceptional design for each of the gods ranging from bizarre to grotesque. Before the New 52 reboot on the most popular female super hero--unfortunately the pool is much smaller than that of male super heroes--I was a fan of the character and the '70s TV show, but I never bought a Wonder Woman comic. I'm glad to say that changed eleven months ago.
Hera should probably stop blaming the "other woman" and get her man under control. Her attitude needs to evolve from old, out-dated beliefs that border on the Jerry Springer Show, but then you don't get more old school than when you're dealing with the gods. To get even, Hera has put a price on Zola's unborn baby. We are introduced to Demeter (definite ties to the Green...I wonder if she'll show up in Swamp Thing) and Artemis, each of whom have a killer look, and they discuss a prophecy that has them worried. Meanwhile Zola visits the doctor, a human one, for a check up, while Wonder Woman, Hermes and Lennox get to wait outside. The sun and the moon (Apollo and Artemis) join forces for a heck of a one sided fight, as Zola is taken to Hera and a bargain is revealed...just don't count the Princess of Power out just yet.
What a great issue! More gods were introduced, a one-sided battle is fought, and the stage is set for a bigger battle to come. I'm not sure how Azzarello has been able to avoid the crossovers and events that have already hit many of the New 52 books, but this title thrives by being unconventional. I'm sure the day will come when Wonder Woman is forced to punch Cheetah in the face--and if this creative team is behind that story it will be stellar--or Superman/Batman appear for some reason, but for now keeping this story strong and based in Greek mythology is what keeps me reading, as does the hope for some more insight into Diana's character. Cliff Chang provides some fantastic art and it's nice to have him back on the book with Matthew Wilson's striking colors. Yes there has been some hoopla concerning this title for various readers, but the change in direction provided by the creators is what moves this title out of your everyday (or is it every-decade?) super hero fare and into the realm of something exciting and new. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Daredevil #15
Daredevil #15Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Chris Samnee, published by Marvel Comics. What do you know. Another great issue of Daredevil from Mark Waid. Is anyone really surprised? This book has consistently been a joy to read and I'm even counting the cross-overs and double shipment months (one month was a triple ship I think) and you all (mom) know my general thoughts on those. This issue was a continuation from last month where Daredevil was abducted to Latveria and treated with nanodroids that have thrown all of his senses into disarray. As his powers come in and (mostly) out, Matt Murdoch makes a desperate escape attempt, but can he survive long enough to get free from Latveria?
Samnee continues to provide some fantastic artwork and Javier Rodriguez sets the Latverian mood with dark and gloomy colors. Great writing and art provide a fantastic story and this is the reason why Daredevil is the only make that one of only two Marvel comics that I am currently buying. RECOMMENDED!

Captain Marvel #1 - Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and illustrated by Dexter Soy, published by Marvel Comics. I heard about this comic's release a while back and saw hope that we would finally get something new, something with a strong and admirable woman character. Thus we have "Earth's Mightiest Hero" and I'll be darned (no, I don't mean having a hole mended) if that didn't spark my interest. Gone are the revealing, sexed-up clothing (don't get me wrong, I'm okay with sexed-up, but that old outfit just was not practical) and the Ms. Marvel name. In are a new hairstyle, a striking new costume worthy of a hero, and the adopting of a fallen heroes name. This issue was fantastic and most of the pages were used by Deconnick to bring the reader up to speed on who Carol Danvers is and her hesitance in taking on the name of Captain Marvel. It's refreshing to have this "new" character debut and to be given the "Earth's Mightiest Hero" title, and with the introductions out of the way I can't wait to see what comes next. This is the direction Marvel needs to go to bring readers like me--who used to read at least seven or eight titles minimum--back into the fold. RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

The Dark Knight Rises Shooting in Aurora, Colorado - *sigh* Shit. What is wrong with people? I hate waking up to hear this kind of news. It seems that no where is safe from horror these days, when random violence pops in the most bizarre places. Flying (911), going to school (Columbine and too many other incidents to name), going to McDonalds, riding a bus, going to a concert, and now going to a movie mean you are taking a chance with your life. Sure the odds of such a thing happening are small, but what if the odds fall in your disfavor when all you wanted to do was watch a movie about a comic book hero? Lefties (of which I place myself if I have to choose one side or the other) are going to cry that the comic book violence found in The Dark Knight Rises is what prompted this disturbed young man to commit his atrocities. Righties are probably going to blame sex or sexuality as being the cause for the attack; they'll probably blame Obama too. When it comes down to it, and admittedly knowing precious little about the event, there are two things at fault here: gun laws and our mental health care industry.
Violence in comics/video games/TV/fill-in-the-blank is not where the blame lies, but where I fall in with the lefty tree huggers (I classify myself as a tree hugger) is guns. According to the news the psychopath had three guns, tear gas, a bulletproof vest, gas mask and who knows what else. His home is also reported to be booby trapped. Where did the lunatic get all of these weapons and items of assault? Sure, he probably received some items illegally, but what did he acquire by going through the system? There is going to be a flurry of "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" statements made, but when it comes down to it, people kill a hell of a lot more people with guns than without them, and this crazy person had a lot of guns.
This leads me to the "crazy person" name-calling line. Politically correct? No, but crazy is as crazy does, so let's not call the guy (I'm intentionally not using the monster's name, he does not deserve the notoriety) mentally disturbed, he's clearly batshit bonkers. Should he have been institutionalized? Probably, I'm sure there were indicators. Should someone have known that he was not right in the head? I'm sure someone suspected, but since psychiatric hospitals began to be shuttered on a state level in the '70s (California - Governor Reagan) and on a Federal level in the '80s (President Reagan), patients are expected to monitor their own medication and are handled after they commit a crime.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this, I'm just shocked and appalled by what has happened. My heart goes out to those killed and those wounded for no reason other than they wanted to have a nice time at the movies. It is unfortunate that while I watch The Dark Knight Rises with my friends and family this afternoon I will also be be watching the exits, the aisles, and all of those around me; I'm certain I won't be the only one.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 7/13/2012

(Sung to the tune of Motley Crue's "Looks that Kill")

Well now listen up
Batman's pretty sharp
And Swamp Thing I have to say
Will give your heart a start

Poyo's a cool, cool bird
He's ahead of the pack
If you get in his way
It's deadly chicken attack

We've got some books that thrill
That thrill, that thrill
We've got some books that thrill
That thrill, that thrill
We've got some books

"This does not make up
for missing SDCC
Obie's mad again. That's right, folks. He's mad that we're not at the San Diego Comic Con again this year, which makes it three years in a row since the last time I had been there. The funny thing is that Obie has: 1) never been to the SDCC, 2) wouldn't be allowed inside anyways because he's a dog. Now, of course, Obie is CFO of Donist World in addition to being my friends' dog, but the guy is seriously only about 20 pounds and he would get smooshed even if he was allowed inside the convention center. Plus, there's no way he would ever get inside to see the Twilight panel anyways. He claims that he is only interested in attending for furthering the "study of the sociological and psychological impact on tweens and their mothers of spooning, mopey vampires and werewolves who stash cut-off jeans in remote spots in the woods." He says he has received a grant from an online college to study this, but I know he was rummaging through the Donist World bank account again to try to scrounge up enough money to buy a ticket to the show. Sorry Obie, ain't gonna happen. As sad as I am to be missing SDCC yet again, at least we have our comics and it's also...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Batman #11
Batman #11 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics. The end of the "Court of Owls"storyline has come as the Batman comic is one month away from hitting its first anniversary since the reboot refresh do-over arrival of the New 52, but was it worth the wait and did it live up to the hype? Around the Donist World corporate offices the answer is "yes, yes it did."
You can only push a man so far before they either break under the stress and collapse under foot, or the they break under the stress and come at their problem with a vengeance. Batman has had enough with Owls, Talons, Lincoln March and now that a family secret long thought buried has been resurrected, the Bat is not in the mood to take false statements lightly and definitely not when uttered by a raving lunatic. The fight is on as Lincoln and Bruce fight across and above Gotham City, but what are the chances that this man's claim is true? There's no chance that Thomas Wayne, Jr yet lives, but then again the existence of the Court of Owls was nothing more than a legend not that long ago. the insane love to talk. Once Lincoln March is in the owl suit, he just can't help but ramble on and on, but then again the man is not just trying to convince Bruce Wayne that his brother yet lives, he's also trying to convince himself of this. Snyder does an incredible job of making March's monologue compelling and unnervingly psychotic as Batman says very little, biding his time until he can defeat his enemy, which of course he does, but barely. Capullo though...I'll keep it brief and say, yet again, that he gets better with every issue and the action scenes throughout the book are striking and intense. Overall, Batman has been a thrill to read over the past year under Snyder and Capullo's watch and the "Court of Owls" storyline has been a blast since day one. For a mainstream superhero comic book, Batman has everything a Donist could hope for: smart, complex stories that pull us in month to month; characters who we have known our whole lives yet who still manage to surprise us; gorgeous art; the sensibility to know the right time to show Batman punching someone in the face. I can't wait to see what's to follow. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Swamp Thing 11
Swamp Thing #11 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Marco Rudy, published by DC Comics. Between Batman and Swamp Thing it's pretty much guaranteed that Snyder's books will be at the top of FSoH/SitW with each release. As I have said before, I let out a groan when I heard that Swamp Thing was going to be one of the New 52 since most post-Moore efforts have left me less than impressed. Then I saw that Snyder--whose work on Detective Comics blew me away and is a must read--was attached to the title and I just had to give it a try; I'm happy I did.
The terrifying monstrosity that is Anton Arcane is after his niece, Abigail Arcane (I thought he said he was her father last issue???, which changed the history, but okay, fine) and he will not give up until he has her back in his realm, the Rotworld. This can't happen. Alec Holland wakes up in the Green with a young version of the Parliament of Trees who managed to save their man/vegetation hybrid champion from the murderous lord of the Rot. Refreshed and filled desperation, Alec rushes to save Abigail from Arcane's putrid clutches, but does even the avatar of the Green have enough power to challenge the undying evil of Anton Arcane? At the end, a meeting destined since the beginning of the series occurs.
I love this comic. Snyder perfectly captures the horror of the decades old Anton Arcane and makes the character even more sinister and disgusting as an avatar of the Rot. The Abby abduction is scary-as-heck and the fight scene's a rush, but I can't wait for the crossover (can you believe I actually said that?) and I'm excited to read Snyder's history of Anton Arcane, which will supposedly happen in the Swamp Thing Annual #1. Marco Rudy takes over the illustrations this issue and his imagery for the Green and the scenes with humans, especially Abby, are outright stunning. Unfortunately when it comes to the Un-Men--and occasionally Swamp Thing--the panels were slightly difficult to understand and the creatures bled together when they could have each showcased how truly grotesque and bizarre these things are. But man, that said, Rudy does draw a creepy Arcane. The moment that followers of this comic and Animal Man have been waiting for gets a prelude next month and it looks to be everything that I could have hoped for. Bring on the Rotworld! *side note...With all of the guest artists on this book, wouldn't it be cool to see a couple issues illustrated by Frazer Irving? Huh? C'mon, DC, with his art and color palette it would be amazing, you know it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew: Secret Agent
Poyo #1
Chew: Secret Agent Poyo #1 - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image comics. It's here by golly! The comic book you never knew you wanted or needed hit the stores and good gravy it's great. If you read Chew but decided to skip this issue, then you're nuts or in jail and neither is an excuse. Honestly, what were you thinking? Get thee to thy LCS and pick up a copy. Finally, if you don't read Chew at all, then I...*sigh*...just go get the Omnivore Editions so you can catch up on the most unique book on the stands and a true Donist World favorite. KAW!
This Chew special, is about everyone's favorite killer, the chicken who doesn't want to be recognized, Poyo! As Poyo lies dying on an operating table, his brief stint in H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks does not go well--for the occupants of the underworld that is. When he awakens, he finds that he is an all new chicken with a thermonuclear microfusion transventricular cardiopulmonary bioengine heart, mechanized eye, and other deadly enhancements. Now under the employ of the US and British governments, it's Poyo's mission to take down mad scientist Dr. Albrecht Regenbogen and end his plot to hold countries for ransom or suffer a rain of farm animals. This looks like a job for Poyo.
Okay. What the hell did I just read? Criminy, but this issue was a load of fun and had me cracking up by the second panel of the first page. You really have to wonder what goes on in Layman's head, but I'm willing to keep wondering so long as he continues to give us thoroughly enjoyable books like Chew. Guillory, of course, showcases some of his craziest visuals to date and with this particular special he has plenty of opportunities to push his work to the limit...that "SPLOOIE" headshot has to be seen to be truly appreciated. Most important, the reader leaves this issue with the understanding that even a homicidal chicken needs friends. You never know what you'll get with Layman and Guillory's Chew, but if you're into this series, you know that you will be happy camper after each issue. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
The Shade #10
The Shade #10 - Written by James Robinson and illustrated by Frazer Irving, published by DC Comics. Egyptian "gods," an unappreciative great grandson and his verbose friend, powerless while tied to a chair; the Shade has had more encouraging days. But an immortal has little to fear when they have their rapier wit intact and a calm demeanor to properly assess the situation, but turning that situation to one's favor while saving London...not such a simple task.
Another great issue of The Shade and we are but two issues away from the end of the year-long journey. It has been an interesting and welcome read with this glimpse back to the character who, after Jack Knight of course, made Robinson's Starman series so enjoyable. Also Irving provides more of his gorgeous artwork especially where the "gods" and the Shade are concerned and I honestly want to see the man illustrating all of my favorite comics; I believe he also illustrates the next issue. With any luck The Shade will continue to exist in the New 52 and be handled correctly as a rich, complex character who operates under his own rules, outside the definition of heroes and villains. RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

San Diego Comic Con 2012 - Yeah, I'm not there for the third year in a row and it is bumming me out a bit, but I have my sight on the Emerald City Con or C2E2 or at the least Wondercon. As much as I love SDCC the waits and inability to get into some of the more popular panels could be frustrating--not stab-someone-in-the-face-with-a-pen frustrating (was that last year or the year prior?)--but frustrating none the less. I will miss not being able to meet up with some of my Comics Experience colleagues and meeting my favorite creators, but whatchagonnado. Maybe next year.

Air Travel in the US - I know I griped about this recently, but what has been going on with this industry? When I was a kid, flying was a class act, something to be looked forward to, but now US airlines are a symbol of frustration and anger on both sides of the counter. Deregulation of the aircraft industry was one of the worst decisions ever made. Loading ourselves into rickety silver tubes that launch through the sky is an incredible innovation, but over-worked and under-paid airline workers who suffer cuts in benefits, loss of jobs and cuts in pay so an airline CEO can make millions while cutting corners on services, using knockoff parts, and outsourcing maintenance to increase share price is not the way to go. It doesn't exactly instill confidence when you see duct tape holding the carpeting together (my flight two weeks ago, btw). The reason I bring this up is because a Comics Experience friend is traveling across the country to go to SDCC and suffered a laundry list of delays and endless customer service lines that greatly hampered his trip. Oh yeah, he flew on United like I did. Returning to methods that used to work is the way to go, we all don't have private jets now do we?
Here's a great Fresh Air about this very thing:

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 7/6/2012

(sung to the tune of Hall and Oats's "Maneater")

Some comics are out of sight
Donist World treats you right
Wednesday brings the books to get at your store
Animal Man's rocking
Buddy's body's new, he gives the Rot a good what for
Wanna know what else to read? The Goon's so weird, it's whatcha need
The comic is wild, see Franky get tamed by a burlesque dancin' star
Sweet Tooth's more dire, The end's comin' quick, see Singh in a lab gone too far

Oh, here they come
Watch out boy best not miss 'em
Oh, here they come
They're a crowd pleaser

Thank you, thank you. Hall and Oats everybody. Thank you. Okay, simmer down. Thank you. Quiet down now. Dang it, Mom, I said QUIET. Okay, that's more like it. I'm here with my cohost, Donist World CFO, and my friends' Boston terrier...Obie! Give it up for Obie. Thank you...Mom, c'mon, we just talked about this. Anyhow, we have some good news tonight. Obie has recently be exonerated of the charges brought against him, so no way has he embezzled $47.38 from the Donist World coffers. No way has he been engaged in any sort of shareholder voter suppression or just flat out pocketed my health insurance premiums so that he could buy a larger bag of potato and duck kibble. Not guilty!
Anyways, before we get to the good and the heavenly, we do have some sad news this week. It seems that Obie and I STILL have not received our copy of The Sixth Gun #23. I know, right? Issue 24's going to get here before 23 does at this rat. It just ain't right. It makes me feel like the below video, only swap out "spy camera" for "Sixth Gun" and swap out "lady" for "LCS Man." Tragic.

Don't let our dreadful, horrendous plight give you pause though, Obie and I are doing just fine as we wait for our issue of one of our favorite comics to arrive. You see, we have some other great books to occupy us until it finally shows up. Y'all ready for this? It's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Animal Man #11
Animal Man #11 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Alberto Ponticelli, published by DC Comics. For closing on a year, fans of the Red and the Green have enjoyed the double one-two punch of Lemire's Animal Man and Scott Snyder's Swamp Thing, but not in July. This week, Animal Man stands alone, but is it enough to keep Donist and Obie happy when they're already down a comic book they were expecting? Yeah, sure, you betcha.
Buddy Baker is thanking his lucky stars as the Red has decided to give him another go at being Maxine's protector. They have even decided to let their meat tailors--a couple of long-headed, alien-looking, yellow-skinned siblings--build Buddy a new body. He's also offered a 4th of July special to upgrade his powers to more adequately deal with the threat of the Rot. Meanwhile, Cliff is in the company one of the Hunters Three, who has taken up residence in Buddy's old, and dead body. Socks horrors-up to take on the challenge of the Rot, but it is not enough. Can Buddy and his new powers get to Cliff in time to protect him from the menace of the Rot, and just who exactly is the Rot's Avatar? Hint...If you've been reading Swamp Thing you already know.
Upon opening this issue to the first page, it was clear that Steve Pugh was not illustrating this issue. Instead, Lemire's old collaborator, Alberto Ponticelli of Frankenstein Agent of SHADE, stops by to fill in for Pugh. This is an odd decision as this marks the conclusion to the current storyline, but Ponticelli is a good fit for drawing the grotesque world of the Red and the Rot. It also doesn't hurt to have Lovern Kinderzinski's wonderful colors on the title. The story itself wraps up the Hunter Three threat--I think--to lead into a search for the Avatar of the Rot. As much as I am loving this title, and its sister book, there are inconsistencies in the last few pages that left this reader with some confusion. For instance, Buddy tells Ellen that he has to "be the hero...just this one last time" then heads off to rescue Cliff. He then squashes the Hunter, literally, which has never worked at killed the creatures in the past. He learns that there is a champion of the Rot coming for his daughter, which causes Buddy to state to his wife that "It's over. Really over this time." Now he's either lying to his wife to keep her chill, or he totally forgot that the worst is yet to come, neither is a very slick move on the character's part. The story ends with Cliff uttering the name of the Rotten One. The book has also felt a shade long on this story arc, possibly in an effort to maintain timing for the big Swamp Thing C-word (crossover, folks...but a crossover I can't wait to see), but that does not mean the past six issues have not been a blast to read. Animal Man and Swamp Thing continue to be my favorite titles of the New 52 and hopefully next month will see them being released in the same week as they have been for much of the last year. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sweet Tooth #35
Sweet Tooth #35 - Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC comics imprint. *Sigh* The end of one of the best series on the stand looms before us with only five issues of Lemire's amazing Sweet Tooth remaining, but at least it's been a good ride, right? Wrong. It's been a great ride, but at least there will be a proper ending and with this issue the answers are starting to flow in.
Singh has arrived at Anchor Bay, Alaska in his search for the truth behind the hybrids and the plague. What he discovers is that Gus's "father," Richard Fox, and his "bible" may not be the most the most reliable sources of information as to what happened. But, that does not mean that Singh cannot put together what occurred, especially when he pries "The Journal of Dr. James Thacker 1911" from the grasp of a corpse fallen at the Fort Smith base. His investigations lead him to increasingly more bizarre discoveries until he climbs down a ladder and into the very tomb that Thacker discovered a century ago, only strange and advanced equipment has been installed in the cave. His investigations lead him to some amazing discoveries...including that he is not alone.
Again, I must stress the *sigh* portion of the beginning of this post. It's always sad to hear that a series you love is going to end, but we need to look at the positive side of things. Lemire is not having the rug pulled out from under him and leaving this fantastic comic in an uncompleted limbo. He has nearly a year to wrap up his series in a manner that is acceptable to him, the publisher and with no doubts one little ol' Donist. That said, the rapidly approaching conclusion should not be looked upon with a sense of sadness, but more with joy. A joy that a great work will not outstay its welcome and a timely, fitting ending will leave another "must-read" series for people to enjoy, much as they have enjoyed completed series such as The Preacher (my all-time favorite comic), The Watchmen, and The Sandman. Aside from all of that, this issue continues this fantastic series and is...HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Goon TPB Vol. 10
The Goon Vol. 10 "The Deformed of Body and the Devious of Mind" TPB - Written by Eric Powell and Evan Dorkin, and illustrated by Eric Powell, published by Dark Horse Comics. Huh...fancy that, Fancy Pants. I just did a quick tag search to see when I talked about my first Goon TPB and saw that it was back in September 2, 2010. After reading that perverse, monster-ladened, noir tale of everything a Donist could ever love, I spent the next month or two scooping up each of the trades and bought each subsequent volume the day it was released. Can you guess what came out last week? Let's see, we have a "very special episode" of The Goon where he has a chat with some pretty boy, sparkly vampires. Then there's some circus folk, an organ grinder and his monkey pal locked in a trunk, sausage stealing hobo scum and there's one other thing...what was it? Oh yes, lovely Burlesque performer Roxi Dlite stars in a chapter as well, plus there's a whole lot more.
If you've liked past volumes of Powell's The Goon, and I was a bettin' man, then I would wager you already got a copy of this here funny book in you mitts already. If not...well, you're a no good lousy palooka, who I reckon ain't got the brains god gave a squirrel. If you have not read this book you are missing out on a fun story with some of the most unique characters and some of the most beautiful comic art out there. When superheroes start to become ho-hum and you're feelin' the need to diversify, then The Goon is the cure for what ails ya. I'm off to pull out my trade collection for a much needed reread. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Tidbits:
Amy and I are Celebrating our 8-Year Wedding Anniversary - I know you're probably asking, "What the hell is wrong with that woman?" and I would answer that I've often asked myself the same question. You see, Donist doesn't have the body of a sparkly vampire, or the charm of an honest politician, or the spontaneity of a 1%er attending a foam party in Cabo. All I know is that I must have done something right, because it sure ain't the big bucks that coerced her into my life. All I know is that having her in my life makes it all worth while.

Drinks and Food for Our Pre-Anniversary Night - We actually celebrated our anniversary on Tuesday since we both had the Fourth of July off. I just need to mention some of the mind-blowing culinary delights we had.
1) Milk and Honey - We stopped by here for drinks and appetizers, but the winning number aside from the fire-roasted peppers and kale chips was the Spicy Cucumber Margarita (Hornitos tequila infused with habañero chills, fresh muddled cucumber, lime, homemade sweet and sour). Talk about opening up your
2) Cielito - Okay, I ate one of the best things I have ever eaten in my entire life. Don't get me wrong, EVERYTHING was fantastic here, but the Tiradito de Atun (Hawaiiasn Albacore seared rare, watermelon radish, Asian pear, pickled green papaya, cilantro habañero-passion fruit sauce) reigned supreme. I've never had anything like it. Also tremendous was the "Gone-a-Rye" cocktail (bulleit rye, arbor chili + honey syrup, lemon juice, peychaud's bitters and a blackberry spear garnish) that also opened up mind and the taste buds. It's nice to know we have Cielito in our town for all of our important events (anniversaries, birthdays, gardening, breathing, thinking, any day actually).

Slice Into the Woods

I Read One of My Earliest FSoH/SitW Posts - I'll keep this brief, but I read one of my first FSoH/SitW posts and was stunned by how much the format has changed over the past (almost) two years. It's actually kind of neat, but then I came to the SitW portion and read about something I was complaining about back then that I have done precious little to change in my life. That's not good, and something I need to remedy ASAP. Man, I wonder what else I've talked about in the past, maybe it's time to have a look.