Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 3/1/2013

(Sung to the tune of Creedence Clearwater Revival "Bad Moon Rising")

I've seen a Red Moon GN
Mox and Daeden I gotta say
Capes and tights? Fur's happenin'
This book just made my whole day

Don't go out tonight
Read Black Beetle alright
Pulp noir goodness. Out of sight

Last month, hurricanes were blowing
Now Hawkeye gets a redhead storm
Fraction, Aja kick ass knowing
The best Big 2 comic to keep you warm

Bad employees! Bad, bad, bad employees. I want you both back in my mom's basement the Donist World corporate headquarters right now!
Hello there Donist World purveyors of the (un)known. I'm Donist and right now I'm trying to wrangle my CFO Obie (my friends' Boston terrier) and my marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/herald of the apocalypse Tulip (my dog and Obie's sister) back into the office so we can actually get some darn work done.
You see, the dogs just finished reading Red Moon by David McAdoo and now they are out at the park tormenting the crows, trying to get a potato bug to talk to them, and foretelling the destruction of life as we know it with the coming of the red moon. Of course the bug isn't talking and the only visions Obie has come after he has had double dinners after sneaking into the kibble bag, and those visions are mostly just of him hoarking all over the new Donist World rug (we're fancy here like that). Tulip however did point out that there was a full moon and that I was acting particularly moody this week, and that the sequester is a sign of a mini apocalypse; I need to restrict her Game of Thrones and "news" watching habits. Obie's reaction to Tulip's vision of financial doom was to stop chasing the crows, head back inside so he could see about getting in on that sweet-sweet $83 billion subsidy going to the too-big-to-fail banks. Maybe I should encourage them to go back to harassing the crows. Ugh...anyhow, while one dog pretends to foretell a financial apocalypse and the other sets about trying to make it happen, I just want to talk about some comics. So, I will ignore Tulip's prediction that I will be apocalypsed if I don't feed her some of my pizza, and ask you kindly to please enjoy...

Friday Slice of Heaven

Hawkeye #8
Hawkeye #8 - Written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by David Aja (with cover pin-ups by Annie Wu), published by Marvel Comics. I think Aja and Fraction have a dare going between them. I'm not sure what the stakes are, but the dare involves squeezing as many panels on a given page as possible. This does not include the beautiful "covers" featured throughout this issue, but needless to say there're quite a few 15-panel pages and something like one four-panel page covering the lower end of the panel count spectrum. Now, given to lesser hands, I would expect word balloons to wage a fierce battle against characters and scenery, and that the story progression would be along the lines of "and then this happened, and then that happened, and what's really cool is this happened, and..." This is not the case with this gorgeous issue, that succeeds on every level, with the 15-panel pages being some of the most riveting moments of all.
There are certain times you don't want the girl you knew was all wrong for you to show up. You know, times like a family member's funeral, during an important business meeting, or when you are at the Avengers' mansion playing "blind man's bluff" with a sexy spy (one you were once involved with and kind of a "bad girl" herself), your beautiful ex-wife, and your gorgeous you are very, very, very good friends with(?). Welcome to Clint Barton's (Hawkeye's) life. It seems Cherry, or Penny, or whatever this gorgeous redhead's real name is, has found herself in trouble. She has shot her husband and needs to acquire a small safe that only Clint can help her secure. The problem is "Penny's" husband is a card carrying member of the tracksuit Dracula squad, one of Clint's many nemeses. He knows what Penny has asked him to do is wrong. Kate Bishop (Hawkeye as well) knows it's wrong. Penny just wants the safe. Unfortunately, Clint just can't say no to a lovely, manipulative, conniving, lying, self-serving lady in trouble.
If I was allowed to buy only one superhero comic (which this might not qualify as one)--as good as many of them are--there is no question it would be Hawkeye. Fraction has taken a well known and loved superhero and made him completely relatable. Heck, I see myself in this character (minus the abs to die for, the muscles, the skills, the bank account, the line up of sexy spys and superheroes and bad girls, the sidekicks, the somewhat respected status, and the list goes on and on). We watch in dread, as Clint makes one mistake after another and all we can do is slap our hand to our forehead. He (and we) knows he needs to steer clear of this girl and the trouble following her, but still he tries to help anyways. See! He messes up all the time...I mess up plenty, too! I AM Clint Barton (uh...minus all of the stuff that makes him so cool as previously mentioned). Anyhow, this issue has wonderfully humorous and serious moments that blend together perfectly. Speaking of characterization, the three panels with Kate Bishop left me rolling and are alone worth the price of admission.
On to the 15-panel pages...Aja again out does himself on this issue. With the very first page, what should be a smashed up mess, turns into a cinematic moment of static images giving the impression of movement and action. The scenes at the strip club, although not 15-panels each, also have the illusion of motion as Clint beats and pounds the tracksuit Draculas and Penny makes a play for the safe (an amazingly gorgeous page I WISH I could display in my home, especially the panel of Penny peaking into the office). Matt Hollingsworth's colors/flats only heighten Aja's stunning art and they leave me amazed at how something perceived as so simple as color choice can result in something so brilliant and eye-catching.
So, yes, this month's Hawkeye was kind of, sort of, beyond fantastic. If you have not been buying this series--it's only eight issues in--then whatever your reasons might be, they are wrong. Boom! There, I said it. But do not worry, my child, if you have deviated from the course or not yet begun your journey, for there is salvation! In a couple weeks' time you can pick up the first five issues in trade format, which means all you need to buy are issues six, seven, and eight. Hallelujah! If you are already reading this fantastic series, then I'm preaching to the choir and you already know this comic comes VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Red Moon OGN
Red Moon OGN - Everythinged by David McAdoo, published by Cossack Comics. I heard about Red Moon on a podcast a while ago...not really sure which one, I'm thinking 11 O'Clock Comics (great podcast btw!), but I could be wrong about that tidbit. Anyhow, my good friend Rob Anderson, writer of the fantastic Rex, Zombie Killer comic book mentioned the Shadow of the Red Moon Kickstarter campaign. It ended recently and I soon had in my hands this gorgeous signed graphic novel from 2011, a signed poster for the the new series, a sticker of the art for the new series, and a variant cover of the first issue of the new series. Not a bad haul. After receiving the goods, I realized there is also a prequel called Red Moon "The Rising" that I now need to find, which should be a hint and a half as to what I thought of this must-own OGN.
Mox the dog doesn't understand exactly why he's being punished, but apparently that wasn't a chew toy he destroyed, but rather his owner's very expense golf glove. Next thing he knows, he's outside for the night, and completely alone. That is until his friend Daeden stops by for a visit. Daeden is a free dog: no owner, no collar, no fence. In fact he's already taken the liberty of providing a hole just big enough for Mox to slip through. Now free, the dogs have the whole world available to them, but their joy is short-lived. Mox begins to have terrible visions of a moon turned red as humanity falls to ruin. To make matters worse, the pair meet Krigg, a crow who wants nothing more than to watch the humans burn while the crows reclaim the world. Mox and Daeden then embark on a journey to seek out great and powerful animals to help Mox understand his visions and hopefully prevent a great cataclysm. Unfortunately, Krigg intends to see his "vision" for the world come to pass and killing Mox and Daeden just might help his dream become a reality.
Don't worry, I only gave you about the first 10% of the story and there is plenty more that goes down afterwards. At 200 pages, Red Moon is a dense book, but prepare yourself to be conflicted. The gripping story will leave you racing to get to the end, but every beautiful page will give you pause to linger and absorb all the details. Still, you must know what Mox and Daeden will do next, but then you also have to be sure you study ever bit of the majestic yet terrifying Colotal (nope, not giving you this one, you have to read it). This is the best of problems to have with a book and McAdoo handles all components brilliantly.
The character designs of the dogs instantly grabbed me with how--I hate to use the word--cute they are, but within five or six pages, I began to forget that these characters were dogs. They became far more than just cute animals. I began to care for them, their quest, and I was worried for their wellbeing. Krigg on the other hand became far more than just a crow. McAdoo turns this bird into a true terror, a ruthless killer with a passionate drive and a wickedness that sends chills down your spine. The ticking clock nature of the book will make you nervous with each turn of the page and Red Moon does not pull any punches.
There are no "This is good, but..." moments for this fantastic OGN. I loved every page of it and if you don't exactly classify yourself as an animal lover--like I do--there is plenty to enjoy in this imaginative series. The best part after reading Red Moon is that I have a prequel to hunt down and the first of ten issues in the followup series waiting to be read. You need to check this out. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Black Beetle #1
Black Beetle #1 - Everythinged by Francesco Francavilla, published by Dark Horse Comics. I first became aware of this Francavilla cat with his work on the brilliant-on-all-levels Detective Comics (on sale for $11.99 for the TPB?!?!) with that little-known writer (sarcasm, folks) Scott Snyder. I was an instant fan. The action of his sequentials, the deceptively simple color palette that helps his imagery leap from the page into your brain, the emotion conveyed in each panel...I was floored. A year or so later, I then saw Francavilla's art on a single issue (I wish there were more) of Swamp Thing #10. I'm done. Game over. Now I need to pickup all of his past work I've missed, but never fear Donist World readers, Francavilla has some creator-owned work at Dark Horse and I was lucky enough to grab the first issue at the amazing Hypno Comics store in Ventura.
In The Black Beetle we have no idea of the identity of the masked man stalking the city's crime bosses or his motivations for doing so, but that's okay, that information will come. What's important to this noir thriller is the story, which begins with the Black Beetle failing in his mission to take down each of the mob families, as a mysterious third-party blows them all to kingdom come. All but one of the criminals die ugly, and that one has decided to turn himself in so he can enjoy the "safety" of an impregnable prison. What has this villain so scared that he retreats to a jail cell? Can the Black Beetle get to the man before the killer can get to him? ***side note...awesome helicopter backpack page!
The worst thing about this book is that issue two was released last week and my store ran out. BOOOOO! Anyhow, it's on order and I hope to have it by next week. I also do not have the "0" issue, which pains me to no end. Every bit of this book oozes old crime novels/comics and Francavilla's efforts to make it so are wonderfully clear. Great story, gorgeous art and colors that still dazzle make this comic a welcome addition to my pull list. The second issue can't get here soon enough. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

The Wrath of Con - <sigh> Many of my friends are at Emerald Comic Con right now and I am not. Nope, while they attend panels, meet creators, buy truckloads of stuff and generally have a hell of a good time, this Donist will be manning a a an all grey and khaki environment...listening to the drone of the white noise CD...all the while dreaming of con food, crowded showroom floors, and the glorious madness that only a comic book convention can provide. Have fun all. Tip an ounce to me and take plenty of pictures. <sigh>

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