Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 3/29/2013

(Sung to the tune of Huey Lewis and the News's "If This Is It")

I've been reading and believing
In this ol' heart, comics have a home
No second guessing, books are impressing
These comics rock and their so so strong

Tupes, don't try to swipe my Rachel Rising
Tupes, don't lie, is that my Black Beetle?
Tupes ain't sly, give back Where Is Jake Ellis?!
I can't believe you'd try to deceive

I said drop it, they're my comics, bro
Drop Age of Ultron or my top will blow
I said drop it, wait your turn, bro
It's comics love, baby, I said so

Yeah...we're a bit late today. I know it. Obie (Donist World CFO and my friends' Boston terrier) knows it. Tulip (Obie's sister, my dog, Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/rough night consultant) knows it. You see, we kinda had a rough night last night since Obie's owners--sorry, Obie objects to the term "owners" and wishes me to go with the term "housemates" instead--ahem...Obie's housemates are out of town for a couple days and have left Obie at the Donist World headquarters for a sleepover. Tulip, Obie and I have seized this opportunity to synergize our efforts and collaborate in an effort to establish Donist World in various cross-geo markets, namely getting my weirdo neighbor to stop peering through the fence and instead focus on Donist World and supporting the comic book industry (yes, Jonathan, we're talking about you, buddy, stop peering through the dang fence...gosh!). Anyhow, all we have collaborated on thus far is a steak burrito from Chicken Ranch and a lovely bottle of Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA. Then, after waking in the park out back this morning, we collaborated on some coffee, pumpkin pancakes with apricot jelly, and OHHHH! we're about to collaborate on the food truck that just pulled up. Synergy, folks, it's all about the synergy and telling the Donist World story. I'm off to get some chicken asada tacos and to work out the details of "Operation Donist World: Stop Peering Through the Dang Fence." Please enjoy...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Rachel Rising #15
Rachel Rising #15 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. For the previous issue of Rachel Rising my main thought was that very little occurred. This isn't to say I did not still enjoy the issue, I definitely did. Plus having an issue of a comic from Terry Moore where little happens is preferable to most of the superhero fare we see nowadays anyways. This week's release brings the story back to form with all the beautiful character moments, the humor, the weirdness and that building feeling of unease that things are about to go so very, very bad. I'm also suddenly hesitant to go into a darkened bathroom, even one in my own house. Now tell me THAT's not a return to form for this fantastic horror series.
Jet's dead. Or rather, she's dead for the second time, but her friend, the lumbering and shy Earl, is there to watch over her until such a time as she decides to come back to life...again. She does, but confused as Jet might be over the circumstances of her second death, her more pressing issue is that she has once again revived sans clothing in front of poor, shy Earl. Meanwhile, after barely escaping from deep underground amongst the bones of hundreds of women killed three centuries ago, Rachel turns to her mother for advice and support. The problem is Rachel's mother is dead and buried, but along with Rachel's reanimated body, comes the supernatural ability to burrow through the earth with ease and to gain insight from the dead at a touch. Finally, Manson suffers a bit of a rat problem...correction...Manson suffers a huge plague of rats problem.
Brrrrrr...There you go. Thems the type of willies I adore (ugh...that sounds wrong, but I'm goin' with it) and missed from the last issue. Moore leaves the reader still knowing precious little as to what exactly is going on in this story, but the strong characterization and the looming mystery of Lilith and Malus that he cleverly allows peeks and glimpses into keeps us coming back for more with each and every installment. The opening pages with Earl and Jet are phenomenal from both the dialogue and the silent panels where an expression, or a movement tells us everything about these two people. It's clear that Earl cares deeply for Jet, and despite her actions, you can see that, despite the words coming out of her mouth, Jet cares for the big lug as well. That's the beauty of a Moore book, you see when a character is being disingenuous to herself or to others, and although you might be in the dark as to what is happening in the story, you feel as if you are in on secret to which other characters are not privy.
Speaking of secrets, this book should not be one. Judging by sales numbers, more people should be and need to be reading Rachel Rising than currently are. There are tons of capes and tights comic books that retread the same old stories over and over again, yet those very comics far outsell this Donist World favorite. That should not be. If you are on a budget--who isn't these days--and you are buying certain comics out of habit, comics that you no longer actually enjoy, then consider giving Rachel Rising a shot. It's slow-burn horror storytelling at its best with some remarkable artwork, by one of the best creators in the business. Two trades are currently available. With any luck, we'll see a television show of this title in the near future. I wouldn't steer you wrong. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Where Is Jake Ellis? #3
Where Is Jake Ellis? - Written by Nathan Edmondson and illustrated by Tonci Zonjic, published by Image Comics. Good things come to those who wait...yeah, right. I should have received this book two weeks ago, but Diamond shorted my LCS (still invoiced them for the book, though), so I waited. The most important thing is I now have the this great followup mini-series to the exciting and creative Who is Jake Ellis? released in trade in 2011. Word of warning though...if you have not read Who Is Jake Ellis?, then do yourself a favor and skip this review, and read that before delving into Where Is Jake Ellis? Some crazy stuff goes down in Who and you'll miss a darn fine twist to this spy thriller comic. Plus, Where will probably be a shade confusing otherwise. Respect the reading order, folks. Respect!
The eyeless man, Dawid, who sees far beyond what even an eagle can perceive has Jake sedated and in the custody of a team of deadly mercenaries. Now they're gunning for Jon, the man oddly linked to Jake. Unfortunately for a woman named Mollie, being anywhere near Jon is a hazard to her health. Jon sends her away as a physically sedated Jake once again appears in Jon's head to provide the intel that will hopefully get the pair out of their predicament and out of Dawid's crosshairs. As Jon takes the fight to his pursuers, Dawid shows who is really in control.
Discounting the Diamond mixup, the wait between issues has been a bit long, but reading this issue, the events of the first two came rushing back with the fast paced action and tense pacing of the story. Edmondson does not miss a beat in this second volume of the Jake Ellis series(?)(I hope it's a series), and although we are now aware of the connection between Jon and Jake, the new mystery of Dawid and of who exactly is pulling his strings is more than enough to make me excited to know what's going to happen next. This is a plot driven book and although we know very little about Jon or Jake, the fast-paced action pulls the reader into their world and the exhilaration of each chase, each near slip-up leaves you concerned for their mutual wellbeing. That said, I would advise against reading this comic right before bed, as it will definitely get your heart a pumpin' and your brain a whirlin'.
Zonjic continues to deliver some fantastic illustrations with his panel-to-panel storytelling skills bringing a tremendous intensity to each scene. His art would fit right in on an issue of Hawkeye, but let's hope he continues to illustrate Edmondson's Jake Ellis tale. Also worthy of mention is Zonjic's striking, minimally rendered colors that only heighten the mood each scene.
I hope there are plans to continue with Jake Ellis after this volume concludes. With only two more issues for this chapter, and the uncertainty of the very bad place Jon and Jake now find themselves, the penultimate issue cannot come soon enough. Where Is Jake Ellis? is every bit as stressful of a read as Who Is Jake Ellis?, but darn if it's not a heck of a good read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Black Beetle #2
The Black Beetle #2 - Everythinged by Francesco Francavilla, published by Dark Horse Comics. Okay, okay, this one falls on my shoulders. It's on me. Back many moons ago, I was out at the local steak house, a real topnotch joint if you get my drift, and one martini led to another and I neglected to add this book to my pull list. I saw the solicits, I knew--and freaking love--the man's work, I'm a fan of the genre, and just the cover of the "0" issue alone is enough to make me want this comic. Now, I ain't no boozehound, and although the dame what took my order had gams to die for, I knew I needed Black Beetle. Yet somehow I got flimflammed; it didn't happen. Why wouldn't I put this on my pull? It don't even cost a fin, Jack. But I missed out. Issue 0 and 1 came and went, and I was in a jam. Thankfully the amazing Hypno Comics set me right on a copy of the first issue (I jaw about it here) they had stashed behind the counter. Then things began to finally hit on all eight as my LCS came through on this little beauty. I've learned my lesson and hope to have issue 3 on time. Well, I've been bumping gums long enough, I'm off for a stack of wheat and a cup of joe. Learn yourself something about The Black Beetle.
Last issue, The Black Beetle went to "The Fort," an island prison that makes Alcatraz look like a vacation resort, in order to question a man named Constantino about the deaths of two major crime families. The problem was Constantino was so scared of what waited for him on the outside that he willingly went to The Fort thinking he'd be safe. He wasn't. The Black Beetle saw Constantino murdered by a mysterious man who escaped and now the guards think the masked protector is responsible. Escapes, mysteries, clues and loads of vermin await you throughout this issue.
Man, I am loving this book. The good thing about being so late to the game on The Black Beetle is that the wait for the third issue won't be all that long. Yes, I could have waited for the inevitable hardcover, which will probably have the elusive #0 and probably some other fancy-pants items as well, but I will probably just double dip on this one, just as I did on the Detective Comics run (with Scott Snyder and Jock no less) which was my introduction to Francavilla's wonderful art. In The Black Beetle we also get to see Francavilla's skill as a writer, which perfectly captures the mood of a '50s crime caper through The Black Beetle's voiceover which draws us deeper into the mystery, leaving us anxious for more. The art, of course, is everything I hoped it would be, with a huge draw being his use of minimally rendered coloring that provides his unique style while drawing the eye exactly where Francavilla wants. I will be studying his use of color for my own work, but more than anything I hope there are some BB prints showing up for purchase like the ones he was selling at all of the conventions I was unable to attend.
So, yeah, I like this comic very much. It has a cool look, a cool story and overall is a lot of fun. I can't wait to see what Francavilla comes up with next and I will forever wish he would illustrate one of my comics. Just one issue. I have the perfect one in mind. Scott Snyder even critiqued the original version of the script. C'mon...please? Pretty please with sugar on top? HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Age of Ultron #3
Age of Ultron #3 - Written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Bryan Hitch, published by Marvel Comics. With the last page splash reveal, I almost kicked this issue into the HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! category as I was not expecting it at all. Not in the slightest. Wow and no I'm no going to spoil it here. Just know it was pretty cool and makes total sense granted Marvel history from way, way back. That said, I still feel that this issue as well as issues 1 and 2 could have been condensed down into two comic issues as opposed to three, but that's just me. Even without the reveal at the end, this was an interesting and fun issue, but my main complaint is the art seems a bit rushed in places to the point I was occasionally pulled out of the story. Still other pages were gorgeous and buildings and structures looked amazing in no small part to Paul Mounts's colors.
One bit of news that I will spoil here is that Neil Gaiman's character Angela (some sort of warrior woman from the pages of Spawn and a component of a huge legal battle with Todd McFarlane) is slated to appear at the end of the series and then throughout other Marvel comic books, which leads me to assume the appearance of another greatly contested character. This "other" greatly contested character from the the '80s is one whose comics I would like to own in a reasonably priced hardcover and not the rare comics that I am afraid to remove from their protective bags. This news, however, leaves me worried that AoU will fall apart and turn into the typical money grab "event" I vowed to never support. I sincerely hope AoU remains focused on telling a good story and not becoming a marketing vehicle to introduce new characters for short-term gains. Aside from my worries about the future of this series...RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Inside Job - Grrrrr...why did I watch this after having such a bad day at the the jobby? Am I a glutton for punishment? Yeah, apparently so. Inside Job is a great documentary about Wall Street, "too big to fail" banks, their cancerous ties to our government and the relatively small group of individuals who completely messed up our economy for their own MASSIVE personal gain, and all at our own personal expense. Narrated by Matt Damon, it's an informative and infuriating look at what happened, how it happened and why it will continue to happen. Not one of the lowlife criminally traitorous @#$%wads who caused this mess has as yet gone to jail or at the very least had their stolen assets seized.

No comments:

Post a Comment