Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 1/12/2013

(Sung to the tune of The Flirts "Jukebox (Don't Put Another Dime)")

So I saw it at my comic place
My resolve began to bend
I had a cry, it was such a disgrace
Sweet Tooth's coming to an end

Rot World creeps get pounded to goo
The Red, the Green oh what'll they do?

Now that we gotta go without Sweet Tooth
What's the next comic for us to score?
The world is better because of Sweet Tooth
That guy Lemire rocks for sure

Obie Convalesces 
Sorry...let me just finish these stretches. Ahhh...okay, good. This intro is going to be a bit short as I have been just slammed for the past couple weeks, but I've been slammed with mostly good things; hopefully you will get to see most of these things in the coming year. Anyhow, I'm here at my mom's basement Donist World corporate headquarters with Tulip (my Boston terrier pal and Donist World marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / hot pocket...huh?) and we are keeping the engines running while Obie (Tulip's brother, my friends' dog, and Donist World CFO) is out recovering from his pit bull attack. As you can see from his picture, he is getting along quite well, and has plenty of reading materials with a mountain of comics (not pictured) to keep him occupied over by his bed. Thankfully, from this angle you can't see his shaved butt, which was at his insistence; Obie is all about appearances after all. Also not pictured is the squeaky chew toy Tulip and I sent over in a care package to help him in his recovery. How many CFOs do you know that play with squeaky chew toys? Not counting the CFOs from Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and AIG of course. Too bad Obie didn't run those companies, I'm sure he could have done a better job. Anyhow, let's get on with...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Sweet Tooth #40
Sweet Tooth #40 - Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint. The comics world can be a difficult and frustrating place for reader. I can't tell you how many times a loved titled has been canceled and given a hasty ending, or even worse, no ending at all. If you're a longtime comic fan, then you've assuredly experienced a shoddy ending of some sort. What's bad for the reader must be exponentially so for the creator(s) involved. Thankfully, this is not the case with Lemire's fantastic post-apocalyptic tale of humans struggling to survive a disease ravaged world and the hybrid animal children set to replace them. Lemire takes this jewel of a series and gives it the ending he wanted, at his pace, and on his terms. We could not be more fortunate.
With the events of the penultimate issue, Gus has lost dear friends and mortal enemies and now it is up to the antlered boy to take charge and protect those who yet live. It's not an easy task. The world of man is on the brink of extinction and with each vehicle that runs out of fuel, with each gun without ammunition, man's fate is all be certain. This is the story of what happens after the events in Alaska. Very unexpected developments happen along Gus's family's journey from the cold of the north to their new home. We don't so much see the coming of new generations and the death of no longer relevant and unnecessary  ways, but we, as readers, experience them. Some desperately grasp to retain the old ways, but even that fades as a new world comes to exist. We are there for it all, thank goodness for that.
Huh. I want to cut the lights, play some mellow jazz--Bill Evans, perhaps--light some candles, pour a bourbon and soda, and just think about this book for a while. Maybe I'll give it an hour or so before rereading this issue. I want to really appreciate every subtle clue and explicit glimpse into the events of the decades that follow Gus and his family's journey after Jepperd's death. Gus's sons, Becky, Singh, Bobby the man (hells yeah!), relationship issues, Buddy; there's so much packed into this issue, yet Lemire let's the stories unfold and nothing seems rushed or overlooked. In truth, even though this is a double-sized issue with a $4.99 price, it seems like you get so very much more.
Essex County, Underwater Welder and now Sweet Tooth are all now complete and are an ever-growing crown of achievements for Lemire with more to come. On the Vertigo side of things Sweet Tooth is right up there for me with Preacher, Y the Last Man and The Sandman all of which have maintained a long run and closed with a tremendous finish. If you have not yet read this remarkable series, then I can say that I don't feel sorry for you. Rather I am envious that you get to experience what has been one of my favorite comics on the stand for the past few years with fresh eyes and not knowing what is to come. One thing you should know is that when Sweet Tooth ends, it ends spectacularly. This is a riveting story, a harsh story, a touching story. It is a story that comes VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Swamp Thing #16
Swamp Thing #16 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Yanick Paquette, published by DC Comics. This was the first comic I read this week. In fact, I didn't want to wait until I got home later that evening, I drove back to work and read it in my car before heading back inside to the grind. Doing this made me late, but hey, it's Swamp Thing; TPS reports can wait, dammit. After finishing this issue, I knew I had made the right call, but I will say that as much as I liked this issue, certain events came to a head leaving me so mad I could spit. Spit I tell you!
The closer Alec Holland, better known as the Swamp Thing, gets to Anton Arcane, the avatar of the Rot, the weaker he becomes. If he is to save his love, Abigail, and restore the Green to the world, then he has no choice but to push onward. Thankfully, he has friends in Gotham City. Barbara Gordon is one of those friends, and she has plans for Alec that Batman put into place before he too succumbed to the Rot. With a small army and his strength restored, Alec Holland stands at the edge of Arcane's castle. All he needs is for Abigail to hold on just a while longer.
Alright, Snyder, you didn't have to go there. I...arghh, I'm not going to spoil this, folks, just know that I'm disturbed and upset over what happens in this issue. You're just gonna have to go and read it to see why I'm so dismayed, but you can bet your bottom dollar--or rather hold the line at $2.99--that when issue 17 comes out, it will be the first book I read that week. Snyder brings his all in this book. The horror, excitement, conflict, defeat, hope, despair, it's all here in droves. In usual Donist style, I was apprehensive about additional guest appearances showing up, but the way Snyder handles Barbara Gordon and the reveal of what Batman was working on in preparation for Alec's arrival made complete sense. I cheered when I saw the...mechanical thingy (I don't want to spoil this one) and then cheered again on the next page with the use of the...other mechanical thingy (yup...ditto) that answered my question regarding Alec's weakening state. I didn't see it coming. I didn't see something else coming, either, but we're not going to talk about that, dammit.
Swamp Thing continues to be the book I was hoping for and is my favorite book of the New 52. I fully intend to continue reading the series when Snyder leaves the title after issue 18, but I will admit to being a little worried for what comes next. Then there's Paguette, who has equally made this comic so great and visually stunning. With scenes like Abby fighting the revolting Arcane--Paquette really delivers the gross and the beautiful at the same time--and Alec getting his groove back, I can only hope the artist who follows on issue 19 fits the style and tone this title requires. For now, we'll just have to focus on biting our nails in anticipation of the creepy conclusion to Rot World next month. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Animal Man #16
Animal Man #16 - Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Steve Pugh and Timothy Green II, published by DC Comics. First Snyder and Paquette announce they are leaving Swamp Thing after issue 18, Sweet Tooth ended (spectacularly as you've already read) and next issue sees the end of Rot World in Animal Man. As far as I know, Lemire and Pugh will continue to work on Animal Man--thank goodness for that--but with 18 issues mostly devoted to the world of the Rot, I'm curious as to where one of the best of the New 52 is headed. All I know for this issue...stars, baby, stars.
Buddy Baker (Animal Man) and his team have found Anton Arcane's imprisoned super weapon and that prisoner is none other than a Green Lantern. This Green Lantern is not one most people are familiar with, rather it is Medphyll, the alien sentient plant from galaxies away. With Medphyll's connection to the Green, Buddy's connection to the Red, and Frankenstein's connection to...actually, his inability to be affected by Rot, Green or Red, the heroes prepare to take the fight to Arcane. One problem. Blackbriar Thorn, a highly magical druid, has gone over to the Rot and wants his prisoner back. We also get a glimpse of before Rot World, when Buddy's daughter, Maxine, is faced with a terrible choice which she accepts, taking her to the side of evil. Finally, Animal Man's group stands against Arcane's gatekeepers, but they definitely did not expect what comes at them through the those dark twisted gates.
Now that is what I call an action packed comic. Pugh delivers probably his best issue to date, and the issues before were all stunning to begin with. Medphyll's release is dramatic, and the creepy Blackbriar Thorn (please bring this guy back later...more wood god = good) is fearsome with such attention to each detail of his beard I was reminded of Richard Corben at times. As revolting as this issue is, Pugh's illustrations are beautiful. Then Green II steps in for the Maxine flashback scenes and his pages shine during the confrontation with the hideous Hunters Three Two. Both artists' art has been great thus far, but I think someone has been slipping these guys bio-restorative formula or something, because this is a standout issue.
As for the story...this and the previous installment of FSoH/SitW have focused on Jeff Lemire (that's how the dice landed, folks) with good reason. Although I prefer Lemire's work on his own stories (Essex County, Underwater Welder, Sweet Tooth) as opposed to those of established superheroes, his mainstream work is still damn entertaining and worthy of many rereads. We have tension, extreme stakes, characters we care about, nods to many older underutilized characters, horror, and tragedy (someone bites it big time...maybe) to make this one hell of an exciting issue. I cannot wait to see how Rot World ends from the perspective of the Red. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items: 
Thor God of Thunder #4
Thor God of Thunder #4 - Written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Esad Ribic, published by Marvel Comics. I think Thor God of Thunder is the first Marvel NOW! book that I bought (assuming that Daredevil, Captain Marvel and Hawkeye really don't fall under the change ups of NOW!). It was the right decision to give this title a try. Aaron has taken the established character of Thor and not only created three stories around him (young, present and furture), he has tied them into on overarching story while at the same time broadening the role of "gods" to other worlds and galaxies. He's even fabricated fascinating new mythologies (many of which I would love to see more of) while making them all dependent upon Thor. Not an easy feat.
With this issue we gain slight insight into Gorr the God Butcher's motivations and possibly a clue as to his relationship to Shadrak, god of wine and waterfalls, a now mad god Gorr has tormented for countless ages. The ending finds present Thor arriving to deliver future Thor from his torment by the God Butcher's minions. Another great issue that is mostly lead up for what comes next, but one that should not be missed for the clues hidden within. Spot on storytelling as can be expected from Aaron and Ribic's art continues to be nothing short of astounding. RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Working Myself to the Bone! - Okay, this is not necessarily a bad thing as all the work I have been doing has been on the things I love. In the past two weeks I have sent in my novel submission (discovered an error after the fact, DOH!), submitted the script for a pitch, made adjustments to the pitch script after acceptance, received gorgeous artwork from the exceptionally talented Brian Gilman on another comic script, secured Brian to work on the previously mentioned pitch script, scored some new fonts, wrote a 22-page fantasy comic script, posted two FSoH/SitW posts, and I'm preparing to do some lettering next week. All this and tons of comics to read! to get paid to do these things...hmmm. Gonna have to think about this.

Have a fantastic weekend all!


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