Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 11/2/2012

(Sung to the tune of Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again")...joined in progress

An' here are comic books you need to own
Your LCS has 'em all it must be known
Rachel Rising's scary stuff if you're alone
Have you made up your mind?
Stop wasting so much time

Captain Marvel's gonna fly on to your rescue
A time travelin' gal oh can't you see
But then you got Swamp Thing
Pissed off about Rot days
Wanna know what it means?
Happy and Rachel are the indies of your dreams

No, you do not get to drink
from the Adam Warlock
superhero pint glass.
If one truth has existed since time immemorial it is that you do not drink from another man's Adam Warlock superhero pint glass. Nope. You don't do it. Not only is such a vile act a slap in the face, it's just kind of bad form. It's rude.
Speaking of rude, my apologies, I forget myself. Hello, folks, I'm Donist and welcome to Donist World. I'm joined this week, as ever, by my friends' Boston terrier, Obie, who is also CFO here at Donist World. I'm also joined by Obie's sister, Tulip, who is my dog and Director of Marketing/Party Planning/Administrative Assistant/Psychic (<sigh> seriously? time to change her business card again). Currently, Obie's here somewhere, but he's in hiding. You see, Obie poured himself a pint of dog water in my Adam Warlock superhero pint glass, and your guess is as good as mine as to where he got the dog water from (A toilet? A dog bowl? A puddle?). All I know is I'm once again dragging out the broom of reprimanding and having to correct my CFO for his behavior. My mom's basement The Donist World corporate offices are not that big, so I'll find him sooner or later and...HEY! Tulip! Bad dog/Director of Marketing. That's my Adam Warlock superhero pint glass. Drink out of your own dang bowl. Ugh...alrighty, broom of reprimanding for everyone then. While I take care of this insubordinate behavior, have a look at...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Rachel Rising #12
Rachel Rising #12 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. Shhh...quiet. Can you hear it, children? The questions, the curiosities, they're deepening. After the revelations of the past few issues, Moore's Rachel Rising settles and returns to the slower, tense pace of the first few issues, as new mysteries surface, and the creeping horror of the series grows. This is by design. Never fear. This is not Lost, with its boundless unanswered questions or "it's up to you to decide what happened" moments. No, no, no. Moore knows where this is all going and all will be answered in you fret, and worry, and gasp, and hesitantly turn the page until the next startling reveal. Rachel Rising is horror comics done right.
Ahhh...looky, looky who's awake. Good morning, afternoon and night, Zoe Mann, it seems you survived possession by the demon Malus and death by slit wrists only to be confronted by a dead woman risen. Too bad. It looks like the very demon no longer inhabiting your body had also been inhabiting Rachel's friend Jet, and she/he has plans for you once you're a teensie bit older. And Zoey? Don't worry about Malus, he's already moved onto a different body; you'd appreciate the humor of the situation if you only knew. Then there's the other dead girl, you know, Rachel. She's dug herself free from the ancient mass grave Lilith put her in and unearthed some answers about the witch in the process.
Okay. I have no idea what Rachel learned, why Malus was in Zoe and apparently also in Jet, or why Malus was happy after his conversation with Zoe in this issue, but you want to know something, folks? Who cares? We're not supposed to know, at least not yet. Moore has done a wonderful job of leaving the reader with just enough questions to keep them coming back for more, and then socking it to 'em with a barrage of startling revelations. The fantastic part of Rachel Rising is that the "truths" deepen the unnerving feeling that something is terribly wrong in Manson and each opened door strengthens that tension. The art and storytelling are beyond beautiful, and Moore's characterization left me sad over possibly losing a loved character--for the second time. You can't go wrong with Moore's intelligent and captivating take on the horror genre. Rachel Rising is not just one of the best creator-owned comics on the stand, it's one of the best comics period. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Swamp Thing
Annual #1
Swamp Thing Annual #1 - Ahhh...Now can you feel it, children? That cool breeze, a breeze that flows at the mention of a single word to touch an exposed neck and carries down a spine once rigid with resolve. You know the word of which I speak...say it with me. "Annual." That's right, that which has historically been Donist kryptonite has reared its head yet again. Riding in with a $4.99 price tag, but with 38 pages of material, I held my breath and took the plunge into that which has generally left me less than satisfied most of my comic book reading life. But hark! DC's New 52 has managed to break the curse of the annual, with the releases of Batman, Animal Man and the pretty darn good Swamp Thing. 
The book opens with a scene that has to come after next week's Swamp Thing #14, as we are in the middle of a conversation that is clearly happening after issue 13's to-be-continued battle with a Rot-infested Teen Titans and after Swamp Thing makes like the Jolly Green Giant. This minor detail aside, Alec learns from members of the Parliament of Trees (Carrotbeard, Knothead and Stewert...probably not their real names) that Abigail Arcane, the love of his life, is dead and the Parliament did nothing to stop it. From there Alec learns of an earlier meeting with Abigail that he no longer remembers as a result of exposure to an odd Rot flower. The Parliament ancients tell the tale of Alec and Abigail's love at first site and their brief time together before Anton Arcane makes his first attempt on Alec's life. We also get to see a brief panel--and second mention--of a vital character (and one who I would love to write a story about) to the Swamp Thing mythos. Tired of having his life tampered with in the past and present/future, an enraged Swamp Thing vows to destroy Anton once and for all.
Not bad, not bad at all. Even if this was a regular installment in the series, I would have very much enjoyed this issue. The jump in events did add a disservice to the overall story, and I suspect that it actually falls more after issue 14 than issue 13, so I'm confused by the timeliness of this story coming out on October 31st. But the clarity comes when you take into account that October was a 5-week month for DC and they needed to put something out to maintain a shelf presence. Still... Anyhow, Snyder and Tuft, aside from a couple of awkward dialogue moments, put together an interesting and well-told story that successfully dances between the Wein and Moore years of the series, while still maintaining its new take on the character. The real star of this book, however, is Becky Cloonan who beautifully illustrates a powerful Swamp Thing, a horrific Arcane, and a cute-as-a-button Abigail. After reading this annual, I would love nothing more than to see more of Cloonan's take of the Green, Rot and also the Red. With the Swamp Thing Annual, I have to adjust my view on annuals in general with this fun--although misplaced--addition to the Rot World storyline. A good story and the addition of Cloonan's art kicks this issue up to the status of HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Captain Marvel #6
Captain Marvel #6 - Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and illustrated by Emma Rios, published by Marvel Comics. Interesting character, check. Cool powers, check. Striking costume that is also functional, check. Extra helpings of ass-kickin' goodness, double-check. Captain Marvel is one of three titles that I currently buy from Marvel (Hawkeye and Daredevil being the other two) and after this stellar wrap-up to the first storyline, I'm definitely around for the what's to come next.
Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) and Helen Cobb have traveled in time to the exact time and place where Carol first received her powers via a Kree (humanoid alien race) "wishing machine." As the original Captain Marvel arrives to deal with rogue Kree operative, Yon-Rogg, Carol works out that Helen, the Helen from 2012, was the one who put her in the time traveling plane in the first place. 2012 Helen, wants Carol to decide if she truly wants the power and privilege of being Captain Marvel or to turn her back on it all to have a regular life as a pilot. A new-new Captain Marvel is born, and it's a race to take control of the time traveling plane. A note from issue one reappears to wrap up the story and a few questions are left to hang.
What a fun issue. DeConnick continues to let the character she is quickly making her own, Carol Danvers, define just who both she and her alias Captain Marvel actually are in the world. With the close of the first storyline, we're also left wondering if Helen Cobb still has a bit of the old magic or not and see why present-day Helen has been such a close friend and mentor to Carol. We also see what a tough spitfire Helen was back in her younger days. Emma Rios again provides the artwork and it is gorgeous, both energetic and full of emotion at the same time--dig that Captain Marvels fight page and that plane I'm not exactly sure if Rios is still on after this issue, but if not I hope to see her art on another book in the near future (I wish it was on one of my stories by golly). Captain Marvel continues to be an exciting comic that absolutely requires me to keep my foot in the Marvel door. If you're new to the series, I'm sure a TPB will be out soon, but why wait? If you can, track down the six issues, you have a month before issue seven hits the stands--or is it two weeks, this one double shipped in October, but who's complaining? Compelling, well-written storytelling. I can't wait to see what comes next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Happy #2
Happy #2 - Written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Darick Robertson, published by Image Comics. Grant Morrison's first creator-owned work for Image sees its second issue as Nick Sax seeks to escape from a mob hospital and avoid coming under the sharp knife of a sadistic interrogator seeking a certain password that Nick may or may not know. Enter Happy, the tiny, blue,  cartoony, flying unicorn that only Nick can see and hear, but who just so happens to know information Nick can't possibly know. As it turns out, Happy is the imaginary friend of a little girl named Hailey, and he seeks Nick's help in rescuing her from a deranged serial-killing Santa who is holding her captive. If Happy can convince Nick to stop putting himself in harms way for a second, the ex-cop might have a chance of doing some real good for once. Morrison and Robertson's expletive-ridden, crude, shocking tale continues to be everything I could have hoped for in a comic from these two amazing storytellers. Now at the halfway point of this four-issue mini, I expect things to accelerate to the crazy levels Morrison is known for, but with so much going on, I hope that two more issues will be enough to provide a satisfying ending to this disturbingly fun tale. Bah...who am I kidding? Given the creators involved, I know we'll be fine. Definitely worth checking out if you're fine with blood and gore, some good down-home cussing, and an engaging story. RECOMMENDED!

Gettin' Stuff Done - Lot's of stuff going on. I finished what is my final-final draft of my first novel and I will not be chipping away at it anymore, unless of course someone of influence tells me to take out the ol' hammer and chisel again; query letters to go out in mid-December. I will be back to putting the smack down on my kid's book in the next two weeks for a ruthless third draft. By Saturday I will have five five-page comic story ideas to narrow down for a pitch I was invited to make for a project that I hold in high esteem and on a subject that weighs heavily on my heart. Finally, another script I hold near and dear is about to be illustrated by an immensely talented artist you will all one day soon recognize. All this while working to define the color of my parachute (how's that for vague?). As always, very busy, but everything I have been working on for the past four years are nearing completion. Exciting times.

Slice Into the Woods

Voter Deception, Alabama Style -
Why is this nonsense not illegal? Flagrant misleading attempts by politicians and corporations to steer voters astray have been running rampant for decades, but these efforts seem to become more and more nefarious as election day draws near. In Alabama, a highly-deceptive amendment is on the bill to strip segregationist language from their 1901 constitution. I know, I know, "But Donist? What's wrong with that?" Stripping the ridiculous language is all fine and dandy--doesn't amount to much, really--but the deceptive nature of the amendment is that it puts back into effect language that says there is no right to free education in Alabama. This is clearly an attack on public education in the guise of "setting things right" despite how Amendment 4 sponsor, Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur spins his intent. Again, I fail to see how it can be legal to put clearly misleading Amendments and Propositions to vote. They should be required to be called what they actually are, like the "I Don't Want To Pay My Taxes, Even If It Means Only Rich Folks Like Me Get a Shot at a Fulfilling Education Amendment." I am fine having my taxes pay for children (of all socioeconomic backgrounds) who I will never meet to receive a public education, just as I received my public education. The crusade to privatize education (School, Inc.) and strip union protection for our teachers is an evil I will never understand.

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