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:

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