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.

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