Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 9/7/2012

(Sung to the tune of Midnight Star's "Freak-A-Zoid")

Fugitoid, Hawkeye
Please pick up at your comic store

Have you read Fugitoid
It really winds me up
You must read Fugitoid
Yes it'll wind you up

Hawkeye's my bow, baby, Kate's my arrow
You gotta check it you see
'Cuz Swamp Thing's rockin' and Animal Man's cool
Sate that Donist World need

C'mon, Obie, get more fuel on that fire! Get them flames up, by golly! We need power, more power! I...crud, here let me do it. Oh, hi everybody. Happy Friday. I'm here with Donist World CFO, Obie, who's also my friends' Boston terrier.  We have been hella busy for I don't even know how long, and running on fumes. So we need more power not just to keep ourselves running like the slick, shiny, pristine machines we are, but we also need to keep the electricity going so we can get all the power we need to our computers, iTablets and doohickey gadget thingies that provide us the means to tell my mom all about the coolest comics around...oh, and you might find something of interest too. So as Obie drops more coal in the fire--man, his tongue is turning black...sick!--let me tell you about some shreddin' books that came out this week. Boy-howdie, it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Hawkeye #1

Hawkeye #1 and #2 - Written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by David Aja, published by Marvel Comics. I can't begin to tell you how bummed I was to not get a copy of the first printing of Hawkeye #1. I was a huge Immortal Iron Fist fan and rank Fraction, Brubaker and Aja's run as one of my stranded-on-a-desert-island books, it's that good (read a very old Donist World about it here...). So, what better news than finding out that 66.67% of the writers and artist involved in making Danny Rand awesome again are reunited to tell the story of Hawkeye and are now responsible for bringing the total number of Marvel books that I read up to three. My main concern was whether Fraction and Aja could make me care as much about Clint Barton as they did with Danny Rand. After reading two pages of the first issue, I knew there's nothing to worry about.
Clint Barton is an Avengers known as Hawkeye and is one of the world's best marksmen, which is great, but unfortunately being able to shoot a target with a tremendous degree of accuracy doesn't provide him the same protections as say his more armored, magically endowed and super-powered team members. He tends to get injured...often. This is mostly a result of non-Avenger time spent righting the wrongs that tend to get overlooked when cosmically powered madmen come to conquer the world. Take, for example, the problem of the residents in his apartment complex being evicted by some tracksuit draculas. Outnumbered and outgunned, Clint just doesn't give a damn and he aims to set things right. Hey! Did that guy just kick a dog?!
Hawkeye #2
Issue two has young Kate Bishop, a member of the Young Avengers and expert bowman, teaming up with Clint to attend a fancy shindig and performance that finds in attendance practically every scumbag from the Owl to Tombstone to the Kingpin himself. The problem is that the evening's performers are not on the up and up themselves, with a fellow student of Clint's teacher, the man who taught him everything he knows, on the scene and ready to cause trouble. Can Clint and Kate find out what the villains have in store for the other villains and will the two heroes be able to escape the Cirque du Nuit with their skins in tact? Will Pizza Dog (Lucky) have to come to their rescue? Read and see, Bro.
What a fantastic ride! Even though I had to wait to buy this book, the wait was worth it just to read these issues back to back. Fraction immediately pulls the reader into Hawkeye's character, leaving you feeling as if you've known the purple archer for years and that he's someone you'd actually want to hang out with. Barton is both relatable and admirable as he spends his time helping those with the smaller scale problems, the kind of unjust toils that only a hero willing to take a few lumps can set right. Fraction knows his hero and puts his heart and soul in his development and it shows. Then there's the art. David Aja blew me away on The Immortal Iron Fist with his unique style and he continues to layout gorgeous sequentials with an incredible eye for design; 24-panel page anyone? Then there's the Matt Hollingsworth's colors, which are essentially flats that succeed in making Aja's art really stand out. Not only that, if you use Spotify, visit Aja's blog to listen to a soundtrack that he put together for the first issue; Dizzie Gillespie's "Fire Dance" fits the tone of the book perfectly. All of this together make one hell of an amazing package. I always thought Hawkeye was kind of cool, but after reading these issues, he is up there with that Iron Fist character this team elevated to greatness a few years ago. I can't wait to see what comes next. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

TMNT Micro Series #8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro Series #8: Fugitoid - Written by Paul Allor and illustrated by Paul McCaffrey, published by IDW. I honestly haven't thought about TMNT for years, decades actually. As a kid I scrambled to get ahold of the magazine-sized original issues and loved the grittiness of the series, both story and art. Then came the movies (*sigh*"...go ninja, go ninja, go" seriously?) and the cartoon show which I enjoyed despite the sharp change in tone. Now, here I am buying a TMNT comic book as an adult and loving every minute of the return to the more serious side--if such a thing can be said--of the characters that I loved growing up.
Professor Honeycutt, an alien from a distant world is working on technology that allows him to project his mind into the body of a robot, allowing him to conduct tests in the most extreme environments. One such test involves developing an alloy for General Krang, a pink invertebrate alien housed in a humanoid exoskeleton, who Honeycutt eventually learns has less than admirable intentions for the alloy. The Professor decides that science in the name of evil is not a life that he wishes to live and he and his family flee to join a resistance movement, but their freedom is short lived. After a terrible attack by Krang, Honeycutt finds himself trapped in the body of his robot and he is transported to the planet Earth where he is on the run from Krang and his forces. If the Fugitoid hopes to take down the evil general, he's going to need help.
This is the exact return to the TMNT world that I used to know and love. No cowabungas. No pizzas. No eye-sore turtle vans. I bought this issue not because of the character or the turtles, but because of the creator, Comics Experience alum, Paul Allor, who is also a contributor of the Brutal Circle and a friend; it's also a damn good comic book. Allor does an excellent job developing Professor Honeycutt as a conflicted character whose forced decision ultimately makes his life worse. A story of good and evil, living with the loss of one's family, and doing what's right provides everything that makes a compelling story and keeps the reader anxiously turning to the next page. McCaffrey provides beautiful sequentials and is especially adept at capturing a character's emotions with each panel; you feel the doubt, stress and fear. Colorist John-Paul Bove's striking colors only heighten McCaffrey's already lovely art, especially with respect to glows and lighting. Reading this single issue after so long a break from everything Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I'm left wanting not only to pick up IDW's recent reprints of the books I used to love, but also wanting to catch up with what's happening now. For more of Paul's amazing work, be sure to check out his Clockwork page and definitely give this book a read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Swamp Thing #0
Swamp Thing #0 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Kano, published by DC Comics. I'm not all that keen on a place holder comic appearing to interrupt the anxiously awaited "Rot World" crossover with Animal Man. It kind of rings like the annual or a "special issue" that has nothing to do with the series as a whole, but instead of bringing in a fill-in writer or a pulled-from-the-vault story, we get an origin tale (of sorts) that both satisfies and torments the reader as they wait for the main show to begin.
The Green has had many avatars throughout history, but there is a reason why there have been so many. Swamp Things have been created and dispatched by the Rot's champion, Anton Arcane, for some time and the putrid monstrosity loves nothing more than laying siege to the Green and the Red in new and perverse ways. As one Swamp Thing is murdered, we jump forward to Alec and Linda Holland for a new, revised origin tale that is both sinister and enigmatic as Alec is somehow resurrected by the Parliament of Trees despite Arcane's attempt to stop the creation of what will be the Green's greatest warrior. On to "Rot World."
 I didn't know what to expect from my first "0" issue from the New 52 besides an origin story of sorts, which is what we got. However, this is not only a brief origin of Alec Holland, but also a glimpse into Anton Arcane's war on both the Red and the Green. Snyder's first few pages are a fantastic misdirection as to what this story will actually be and I was left wanting to see more of Arcane stomping through the Green as well as wanting more insight into Snyder's version of this evil creature's story. Kano, fill-in artist for Yannick Paguette, delivers some horrifying imagery and some great moments of Arcane's cruelty, while maintaining the look and style of my favorite New 52 release. This book ultimately reveals more questions than it provides answers, but with Snyder helming the series I trust those answers will eventually come. With this being the first "0" issue I have read, I'm hopeful for the others being released this month before we jump into year two. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Animal Man #0
Animal Man #0 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Steve Pugh, published by DC Comics. My second "0" New 52 issue was a good read and provides further evidence that Anton Arcane, the Avatar of the Rot is a total dick. In this issue we learn of how Arcane has murdered an Animal Man from five years ago and although the Red already has a replacement, Maxine Baker, she first needs to be born. The Red's HR department determines there's an immediate need to bring in an outside contractor to hold the fort until the true Avatar is ready. Thus the Totems of the Red devise a crazy plan to to turn Buddy Baker into the next Animal Man, but will he be able to deal with Arcane when the monster finally makes his move? Another great issue of Animal Man that fills a couple of holes in Buddy's backstory and that leads well into the much-anticipated "Rot World." RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Wait, Where's My Sweet Tooth? - Dang it. My LCS told me that they did not get Sweet Tooth this week despite being invoiced by Diamond for the books. Now it looks like I will get my copy a week to two weeks later. Booooo Diamond, this seems to happen all too often.

Dirtbag Cyberstalkers - Before I ever read any of the comic news websites and before I even understood what a Twitter was, I never really knew that there was such a thing as cyberstalkers for comic book creators and journalists. Of course I knew about cyberstalking and cyberbullying from the news, but those were generally students tormenting each other or psychotic ex-spouses being...well...psychotic. Until the last year or two, I was unaware that there were lowest-common-demnominator "humans" who were threatening the women who share in the love of comics whether they were rabid fans or were actually involved in the industry of making the very art form that has been a huge part of my life since I was a child. This weekend I was appalled to learn through Mark Millar's Twitter that some a-hole had been threatening and actively intimidating women (creators, bloggers, fans) for quite some time in a pattern of escalating menace to not just the women but also to their family members and friends. Millar, incensed by what he was discovering, launched a campaign meant to expose, humiliate and hopefully deliver actual penalties (jail time and/or fines) to the deranged jerk causing the problems. Whether you like his work or not--I love his original Ultimates run--it was refreshing to see Millar and the community rally against a possibly violent individual whose only goal was to scare and intimidate others because they love comic books and had opinions about them. Millar requested legal advice, pushed the matter and according to a posting had police visit the 50+ year-old man living in San Diego, and Millar also also offered to cover the legal expenses to prosecute the guy. This is fantastic and hopefully shows that free speech only goes so far when you're threatening to rape someone online. As great as it was to see this misogynist taken down, it is sad that it took someone with money to actually get law enforcement to take the matter seriously.


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