Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 4/26/2013

(Sung to the tune of Astrud Gilberto's version of "Fly Me to the Moon")

Let me read good books
Like ones by Quitely and Millar
A Superhero legacy
Of Jupiter's kids in bars

Good comic books, LCS
Good comic books, sock it to me

Fill my heart with noir
Blacksad will even up the score
Great story, stunning art
Are what I worship and adore

Good comic books, Sex is true
Good comic books, I love you

Wow, man, dig on that groovy "Fly Me to the Moon" video. Spock and that space lady were totally laying down the heavy tunes and Barbarella...yup, well ain't she just a cold soda pop on a hot Sunday afternoon? Hey, while your at it and I'm in the mood, check out this Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 video of "Mas Que Nada." Isn't that fabulous? How does that woman in the gold dress remain standing with those planet-sized earrings? How about that guy getting down with the shaker? Better times, my friends, better times. Anyhow, welcome to Donist World, folks. As always, I'm joined by our CFO Obie (my friends' Boston terrier), and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/planet-themed accessory merchant, Tulip (my dog and Obie's sister). It was thankfully a slow comics week, which means we finally get to talk about a few things we read some time ago. Next week is going to be ridiculous of course and I'm sure my missing Black Beetle #3 will come in as will the latest Rachel Rising (which always manages to show up the week AFTER release), just to make the comic book avalanche larger. I am also excited to say I am FINALLY going to get the Marshal Law Omnibus I have been wanting forever on Saturday. I loved Marshal Law since the first Epic Illustrated issue came out in the '80s and I was beyond happy to learn of the release of an omnibus at the 2007 SDCC. It never came out. Now the book is coming from DC Comics, which is very weird since Marshal Law has covered the comic book publishers landscape. The character has seen books release through Epic, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, Apocalypse, and now DC. Mind boggling, but now, according to USPS tracking, it is set to deliver tomorrow. Sure it will most likely be missing the issues with Savage Dragon (with Image), Pinhead (with Boom), and the Mask (with Dark Horse), but we'll see when it arrives. I hope to talk about the good ol' Marshal in future FSoH/SitW posts. Anyhow, Tulip and Obie have been mysteriously quite, so let me see what...oh. Oh gross. I'm gonna hurl. My faithful employees have put a heaping portion of mayonnaise in my Donist World food bowl <urp>, I think I'm <urp>...not funny...gonna dump it on your heads...have a look at...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

A Silent Hell HC
Blacksad: A Silent Hell HC - Written by Juan Díaz Canales and illustrated by Juanjo Guarnido, published by Dark Horse Comics. If you are unfamiliar with the character of John Blacksad, then please know that this book is the second hardcover released from Dark Horse Comics. Yes you can jump right on in on this volume, but I recommend starting with the first hardcover (I talked about that gorgeous book last year here). Blacksad: A Silent Hell is a bit slimmer with only one story, some eye-openning behind-the-scenes material, and a four-page short, where the first volume had three full stories and a slightly higher price tag. After reading this installment, I will say that the first is the stronger of the two storywise, but if you've read one, there's no way you can pass up the other. This book is a gorgeous thoughtful read regardless of page count that will easily satisfy the noir/mystery lover. In short, buy both!
It's 1950s New Orleans and John Blacksad (black cat) and his pal Weekly (fox) are on a case to find missing jazz pianist Sebastian "Little Hand" Fletcher (dog). They were hired by Faust LaChapelle (goat) a terminally ill record label owner and a supposedly concerned father figure to the famed piano player. Trouble arrises when Blacksad meets the recently fired private detective hired by LaChapelle named Leeman (hippo) and who won't take the hint he is off the case; Leeman does not react well to Blacksad refusing to work together. Blacksad then meets Lachapelle's son, Thomas (ram), who has been spending much time with "Little Hand's" pregnant wife.   During his search, Blacksad discovers that Fletcher's drug dealer was paid handsomely to sell the heroin addicted musician poison in an effort to prevent him from playing a new song he had written. When one of Fletcher's old band mates is killed and an attempt made on Blacksad's life, the terrible truth comes out as to who wants Fletcher dead and why.
What I love about all of the Blacksad stories is you were to split apart each of the components of writing and art you could have an equally great experience with each. The narrative would present a fantastic mystery/noir tale of a handsome detective dealing with the corruption and dark malice of the cases he accepts. I would gladly read these tales in novel form. You have interesting, yet flawed characters whose choices in life haunt them and lead the story along as their secrets and motivations become apparent. This includes Blacksad. During the moment (indicated on the cover) and shortly afterwards, we catch an all too brief glimpse into our hero as he reverts to a child while drowning before he is rescued by an orange cat who seemingly knows Blacksad and might not actually exists; a hint of more to come. The stories deal with actual issues of the times and the murders and conspiracies are all too real and intriguing, providing a great read in and of itself.
The art component stands strong on its own as well. Each and every single panel of every page is gorgeously hand painted in watercolor and is something to behold. Most striking of all are the larger paneled pages featuring a broad look at New Orleans with the maddest piece being the Mardi Gras splash on page 38. There's so much tiny detail hidden in each and every partygoer that every time you look at the page you see something subtle and the minuscule "Where's Waldo" Blacksad losing his suspect in the crowd. Page 13 ain't all that bad either and is one I would LOVE to have displayed on my wall. Guarnido's expressions of his characters carry the emotion and action from panel to panel telling a compelling story that is easy to follow. He also draws the most beautiful animal women I have ever seen. Cheetah lady? Oh my goodness gracious.
Combine both the writing and the art in this beautifully produced book and there is no reason for this amazing graphic novel to not hold a prominent space on your best shelf. Great to read, gorgeous to look at, Blacksad is a must own for those needing a break from the capes and tights. With hints of more to come, I very much hope a fifth story is in the works and that the rumored film finds its way to production. The creators are from Spain, but their main market is France, then Spain, with us poor chumps in the US being third in line. After seeing the intense amount of panel tests and color study from the behind-the-scenes section of the book, I know we are in for a wait for a third hardcover, but for this level of beauty I am all to happy to wait. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Jupiter's Legacy #1
Jupiter's Legacy #1 - Written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Frank Quitely, published by Image comics. Can you imagine what a disappointment it would be if someone who suffered through the Great Depression had to watch as nearly identical circumstances arose nearly a century later. Today corrupt bankers practically destroyed an economy as compromised politicians sat idly by. Next we are buried in war, income disparity is extreme, outsourcing and a multitude of other self-inflicted wounds threaten to bring the once great United States down. This is the situation the superheroes of Jupiter's Legacy find themselves, but they have other problems: namely their children. The children of the gods find themselves apathetic to their parents' cause, and find themselves behaving poorly, more interested in fame and fortune than doing what's right. Unfortunately, dissension also runs in the ranks of the earth's mightiest heroes as they discuss how best to fix the hole humanity has dug for itself.
Jupiter's Legacy is a very interesting look at how actual superheroes would handle watching the cycle of terrible events begin again, while also showing kids faltering under the legacy of their parents' greatness. Millar brings us quickly up to speed from past to present, while cleverly concealing the exposition in a way that is natural to the story, and leaving enough unanswered questions to carry the reader through to future issues. Quitely's style fits perfectly on this book, reminding me of his and Millar's work on The Authority from back in the day. Great drama, great action and a heck of a good start for a series that leaves me hungry for issue two. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sex #1
Sex #1 and 2 - Written by Joe Casey and illustrated by Piotr Kowalski, published by Image Comics. "Let's talk about Sex, baby. Written by Joe Casey." Was that how that Salt N' Pepa song went? No? Whatever, I don't care. I don't care much in the way that Casey and Kowalski's Simon Cooke doesn't care. You see, Simon was once the hero known as the Armored Saint, who protected the great Saturn City, until the day his mentor, a woman named Quinn, convinced Simon to give up superheroics for a normal life. Unfortunately, now that Simon has returned, giving up what gave his life purpose has left an empty shell of a person. He now watches idly as injustice spreads across what was once his city as he spends his time poring over corporate spreadsheets and attempting to feel something...anything.
Okay, this is not one for the kiddies, folks, but judging by the title you already know this. Yes there's nudity, yes there's sex, yes there's violence, but it is all portrayed in a manner as void of spirit as the lead character, but I suspect that's the point. I'm interested in Casey's Simon and the relationship he has/had with the Catwoman analog "Shadow Lynx" and to see what happens to a city when it's protector suddenly walks off the job. Kowalski's art wonderfully tells so much about the lead character's state of mind through the hollow expressions and lack of connection to anything going on around him. The sequentials clearly tell a fluid story and Brad Simpson's colors enhance the art and the mood of each scene, especially the sex club in the first issue. All in all, I'm glad I picked these up and I look forward to seeing Simon attempt to rejoin the land of the living and what it takes to get him there. RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Feelin' All Run Down and Stuff (aka...Stupid Mayonnaise) - Stupid mayonnaise. I'm pretty sure the half a chicken wrap I ate at the day job on Tuesday took me down. It had that mayonnaise crap on it and an hour after eating my brain felt as if it was swimming through...well...mayonnaise. I failed my saving throw. I was kind of a mess on Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday was also the day I wrote all of the above reviews, which I don't really remember writing, but nothing a bit of revising can't fix. Bottomline: Mayonnaise is gross, unless it is spike with a ton of tabasco sauce, then it's okay.
I've also been coloring over the past couple weeks a five-page comic I wrote, lettered and flatted (penciled and inked by the amazing Brian Gilman and you can see the art for an eight-page story called "Decision" I wrote on his page as well). Most of that time coloring has been spent researching how certain lighting and directions of lighting can cast shadows and highlights on a surface and being sure that I understand why. The face and hands are where most attention goes and where most of the time has to be spent. Thankfully, I'm down to only a couple panels left to finish and I will be done...until someone points out a shadow or color scheme is wrong, but those fixes are easy. Funny thing is that my coloring instructor, the tremendously talented and inhumanly patient Chris Sotomayor, just commented on twitter that he had a day and a half to color a 20-page comic. I've spent two and a half weeks on five pages! Of course the day job takes a lot of time out of the day, but coloring is a freaking difficult discipline to understand and master, so RESPECT to the colorists on your favorite comic books.
Anyhow, where was I? Oh yeah...stupid mayonnaise. Vote mustard!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 4/19/2013

(Sung to the tune of Def Leppard's "Photograph")

I'm outta luck, got the shaft
Missed my comic book, Black Beetle yeah
That kinda sucks, we got more
Stuff you need to read, stuff I adore

The Sixth Gun should fulfill your needs
Chew rocks the roost, fulfills your dreams
Daredevil see? You heard from me
It's all you want, your fantasy

Oh, just one quick peek you can't put it down
Oh Oh, look what you've done

Comic Book
You know you want this comic book
You know you need this comic book
If all you got's a comic book, you know it's enough

Hello there Donist World readers! I would usually say that I am joined by Obie, my friends' Boston terrier (Donist World CFO) and my dog, Tulip (Obie's sister and Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/hunter of crows), but they have both called in sick today in light of Obie's alleged Playdawg Magazine photo spread. I first learned of the news when my mom a reliable source informed me that she had been chatting on the Facemeet interwebs about how bundt cakes are lascivious and should be banned, when nosey-Mildred informed her that she had heard from her mail carrier that the Donist World CFO had appeared in a pictorial featured in Playdawg Magazine and that supposedly there was a pictorial featuring some sinful nudes. The group organized to ban the magazine, Apple supposedly refused to publish the issue, and Obie went on a tirade against censorship to which I joined--I was under the impression Obie's appearance in the magazine was a biopic about his rise to prominence as the first canine executive of a Fortune 230,000 company. I got mad. Obie and Tulip got mad. Mildred and her crew got mad. Everyone got mad. Then after a little looking, I discovered that Obie's nude pics were actually part of a Fumblr account that he had set up and sent specifically to Mildred. Apple was not involved, there was no censorship and the only foible of the situation was that Obie had violated Fumblr's rules of conduct clause and that Obie had lied to me again. When I asked Obie about the uproar and if he wished to apologize to Mildred, all he said before taking a personal day was, "To quote Robert Palmer, 'I didn't mean to turn you on." Okay...anyhow, in light of no perceived scandalous revelations in the comic book world this week, it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Sixth Gun #30
The Sixth Gun #30 - Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Brian Hurtt, published by Oni Press. I've said it before and I'll say it again, The Sixth Gun is a darn fine series. Before I picked up the first trade, I had heard about how great this supernatural Western is and that it is one all comic book lovers should be reading. So I read it. Midway through the first issue of the first trade I was hooked. By the second issue, I knew trade waiting was out of the question, but the series was already on the ninth issue, so I ordered all missing issues from my LCS, added the title to my pull and waited for the books to come in so I could continue reading in order. With 30 installments in my collection and the end of the series in sight, my enthusiasm for this amazing series has only increased. If any aspect of a phenomenal cowboy comic fraught with monsters and men of ill intentions sounds appealing, you owe it to yourself to give the tremendous The Sixth Gun a read. There's a reason why I consider this book one of my top three series currently being published, why an NBC pilot for a television show was ordered, and why I hope that a hardcover omnibus (or two) sees release so I can proudly display this book alongside my all-time favorite comics.
At the behest of her mother-in-law, the murderous Missy Hume seeks to locate the five sibling guns to the one that keeps her eternally young and healed. Meanwhile, the holders of five of the six guns, Becky Montcrief (one gun) and Drake Sinclair (four guns), along with their eclectic fellow riders (Kirby Hale, Gord Cantrell and the mummy Asher Cobb) have involuntarily joined an Indian war party. Unfortunately, Drake is not doing so well after his dealings with a wendigo, but he is tiptop compared to Becky, who recently used the terrible abilities of her gun inadvertently trapping part of her soul in the spirit world. Becky, unconscious and in the care of their new "allies," walks the spirit world where she encounters her spirit guide who briefly tells her about the guns before being shot dead by mystic invaders. Becky is not alone.
I thought I loved last issue when Becky used her gun's terrible powers to confront Missy Hume, but this month's offering managed to surpass even those stunning events with much less action. Bunn has stepped up the story by revealing and clarifying a bit more information about the purpose and nature of the six guns, cleverly hiding the exposition within the wonderful narrative that has been used since the beginning of the series. We also have some great and humorous (brief though they might be) character moments with Kirby Hale, and the last panel cliffhanger is somewhat terrifying. "Something's wrong. I can't wake up, Drake. I can't wake up, and I'm not alone," sent chills down down spine and desperate for the next issue. It's great to see Becky and Drake, two people forced together by perilous circumstances, become friends who rely on one another, while at the same time not becoming romantically involved. In fact, the only romance within Becky and Drake's group is the understandably ruined one between the scoundrel Kirby and Becky, who wants Kirby dead .
Hurtt manages to outdo himself again with this issue as can be seen in character acting scenes with Kirby Hale and also with the exhausted/dying Becky. The sequentials tell the reader everything they need to know about the story and lead the reader quickly from one panel to the next. Bill Crabtree, the colorist who gives this book its distinct look, gives us a bleak, dreary red and grey spirit world that pushes the creepy isolation of the plane to great effect.
What are you waiting for? If you are not reading this book, do something to change that. The Sixth Gun has it all: a great premise, great characterization, and a beautifully crafted story that keeps me anxiously coming back for more. Not enough people are reading this book! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew #33
Chew #33 - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image comics. Speaking of comics I love...we got Chew, babe. Reading an issue of Chew is like those magical days of the '70s when you would pore over the box of a Libbyland Safari Supper (two links here, folks) frozen dinner trying to find the hidden animals and the elusive hunter. Yes, the box art was kind of scary, probably drawn by someone registering in the "altered" range, but you just couldn't help yourself. Then comes the dinner, piping hot from the oven. You're excited. You're hungry. You dig in. Once you stop crying from the scalding the buttered corn gives you, you cautiously take bite after bite of the tasty chicken, savor the alphabet spaghetti and meatballs, ever-so-cautiously resample the napalm corn, and ponder the hows and whys of tater tots. But there's more. Beneath each delectable food-like product is a cartoon character embossed in the aluminum tray awaiting further magical discovery. Oh me, oh my, but hark the chocolate pudding product still awaits and it's cooled enough to both avoid the ICU and slide down your throat as a solitary, unified scrumptious mass. Now, you're full. You're done. You've done a good job. You've cleaned your metal tray and although you are passing out from either the joy of overeating or quite possibly the excessive amounts of "natural flavoring," one treasure awaits: you still have the Milk Magic! So, yes, reading an issue of Chew is exactly like that.
Applebee's making the most of his quality time with Agent Colby. Wine, hors d'oeuvres, and a mortified shoulder to cry on about the verbal lashing Applebee received from Tony Chu. It's a nice little evening, but after a reveal that Tony has been sent on assignment with the Navy--a rough and tumble yet impeccably fashionable bunch--the director of the USDA shows up and has the gall to call Applebee's Colby a two-timer. The situation gets real real. Meanwhile, Tony and his trusty seamen companions are tasked with the delicate task of bringing in the second-in-command of the terrorist egg worshipping cult known as the Immaculate Ova. There's one problem. They have to get through the terrorists's bodyguard, a ciboinvalescor, or rather someone who gains immense strength after eating. This looks like a job for the killer chicken Poyo! Too bad Poyo's on assignment elsewhere.
Dang if this issue was not a total hoot! Layman and Guillory continue to surprise with some great and amusingly touching moments between Colby and Applebee on the first page splash and each following page only gets better. The action scenes with Tony versus the bodyguard left me whipping through to see what happens next. I especially liked that abrupt halt in pacing to quickly tell the story of the superpowered bodyguard only to return after Tony has vanquished his foe. The Lettering on this issue--something I rarely mention--is phenomenal as it vanishes within the art only to leap out at the reader to become a grand component of the artwork.
I always love Chew, but something was goin' on this month as this issue was especially funny and riveting. But if you follow this book, you know this already. If you're not reading Chew because it's "too disgusting" or "too weird"--well, okay, you're right on both counts, but you're really missing out on the most unique and fun book currently being released. Chew is one of the reasons why I sitll love comics. It's Milk Magic! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
The Sixth Gun:
Sons of the Gun #3
The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun - Written by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt, illustrated by Brian Churilla and published by Oni Press. "The second gun spreads the very fires of Perdition."Drake Sinclair currently possesses the second gun, a gun he had to pry from the cold dead hands of the diabolical General Oliander Bedford Hume's loyal rider, Will Arcene. In the days of Hume's first death, Will took leave of his brothers in demonic arms to deal with some family matters, namely to visit his mother. Will believed he was the son of a wandering demon, which explained his never-ending hunger and thirst for foul doings. When he arrives home, he learns his mother has been busy while he was away at war and he now has many twisted siblings to share his mother's affection. But there's a problem: Bill wants to be the only one of import in his mother's life and he's unwilling to share with his monstrous kin.
Bunn and Hurtt give us yet another heck of a messed up individual, who managed to saddle up with Hume's group to the point of being trusted enough to own one of the six. Like the other two previous installments we follow one of Hume's lieutenants from the point after Hume's death and before their own in the pages of the first The Sixth Gun TPB. Bunn and Hurtt continue to provide a glimpse into the cruel nature and damaged lives of Hume's four men. We have not yet seen when they each received their guns or how they first came across Hume, but I hope that moment is coming soon as that is what I have been wondering since we first met these interesting characters. Churilla continues to provide art that fits wonderfully with The Sixth Gun look and style, and Bill Crabtree's colors (I'm a huge fan) only enhance Churilla's beautiful illustrations.
I neglected to mention issue 2 last month, but I will mention that I very much enjoyed its look at "Filthy" Ben Kinney, the once owner of the Third Gun which spreads a flesh-rotting disease. If you are a The Sixth Gun fan this mini-series should not be missed. If you are new to this series, then I must recommend that you start with the first four trades of the series proper and by then pick up the trade for the Sons of the Gun chapter, as this mini will hold less impact without knowing what happened in the main story. For fans I will say this book is RECOMMENDED!

Daredevil #25
Daredevil #25 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Chris Samnee, published by Marvel Comics. 25 issues already?! Didn't this book come out a year and a half ago? Whatever, it just means we get more Waid Daredevil and how can that possibly be a bad thing? Sure there were a couple of "crossover" "events," but they were mercifully short and in all honesty...they were pretty good. Left to his own devices, Waid's take on this loved character has been fun, exciting, tragic and triumphant and this issue continues the trend with the introduction of a cool new villain.
While at his friend and business partner's hospital bedside, Matt Murdoch is approached by a man claiming to have information on experimentation on inmates in an effort to reproduce the accident that gave Matt his extraordinary senses. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, especially of the trojan variety, Matt knowingly follows the man into a trap. What he finds is someone who knows all about his life: the toxic waste, his father's boxing robe, even his father's shaving cream. Ikari (Japanese for "fury") makes his presence known and appears dressed in an outfit reminiscent of Daredevil's first costume. This new villain also has most of Daredevil's fighting skills and abilities without any of the weaknesses. Ikari is also not the one who has been upending Matt's life, but a puppet working for mysterious master. Full Spoiler...Daredevil loses this one, folks.
Man, this was a fantastic action packed issue. Fight scenes are not easy to write, but Waid and Samnee have zero problem making this issue a page turner. With the final panel and Ikari's last word balloon, this Donist can't wait to see what happens next and to finally learn the identity of the one calling the shots. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Age of Ultron #6
Age of Ultron #6 - Written by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by Brandon Peterson (present) and Carlos Pacheco (past), and published by Marvel Comics. Yup. I'm still here and will be for the next issue. Hey, I'm as shocked as you.
Wolverine has gone back to the past to terminate Hank Pym before he can create the murderous artificial intelligence, Ultron. He quickly learns that he was followed by Susan Storm (Invisible Woman), the last remaining member of the Fantastic Four. She seeks to sway Wolverine from his dark mission, but as she discovers, even she is leaning toward removing Pym from the equation that doomed their world years in the future. Meanwhile, Captain America and his band make their futuristic move on Ultron to disastrous effect. Whether in the past or in the future, life is going to be very different for all.
All past comments about the decompressed storytelling of the previous issues is not a concern here. This issue kicks into high gear...almost too much so, especially with the scenes in the Ultron future. Losing Bryan Hitch is a bit jarring, and there was one clunky piece of dialogue that I had to reread a few times to kind of understand what was being said. Still, I enjoyed this issue and there were two particularly shocking moments that will bring me back to see how this story plays out. For an "event" book, I'm pretty darn happy with how this is turning out. RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

What the Hell Is Wrong With This Week? - I have really tried to keep my language on Donist World clean--just compare recent posts to some of my earlier sometimes you gotta cut loose. To quote a fictionalized piece from The New Yorker a while back, "Shit's some fucked up shit." If there is a better sentence to describe the past five days (not even five FULL days), I've not yet found one. Premeditated bombings at the Boston Marathon by a couple of psychopaths allegedly with a "cause" of some sort? A police officer shot and killed? Corporate greed loyalists in the Senate shooting down (deliberate word choice here) gun control measures wanted by a majority of Americans? It's all so ridiculous and shameful. I'm honestly stunned. Then I hear about even more corporate nonsense as loyal employees get kicked in the teeth this week and then I hear about businesses lowering employee hours to avoid paying them health insurance AFTER executives give themselves massive pay increases (Fuck you, Regal Cinemas). So, yeah, it's been an all around shitty week thus far and Friday has barely even started. Blah.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 4/12/2013

(Sung to the tune of Phil Collins's "Sussudio")

There's a book that has been on my mind
All the time, Sa-Sa-Saga bro, oh, oh
Now censorship is kind of lame
But this hoopla'll bring this book more fame, Sa-Sa-Saga bro, oh, oh

Ah, this book's still rockin' I must share
Sexy-time images? I don't care, it's all I need, all my life
I feel so good when I just give a read
Sa-Sa-Saga bro, just give a read, oh, Sa-Sa-Saga bro

Now there's more books that are so fun
Hawkeye and Batman are some, Sa-Sa-Saga bro, oh, oh
Ooh, Age of Ultron, Stuff of Legend,
and Thor all do transcend, Sa-Sa-Saga bro, oh, oh

Thank you! Thank you, Mr. Collins for not trying to escape from my mommy's basement visiting the Donist World corporate headquarters as part of your corporate outreach program to further the pursuit of the visual arts, namely comic books. Now, Obie (my friends' Boston terrier and Donist World CFO) and Tulip (my dog, Obie's sister, and Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/warden) have been helping Mr. Collins become acquainted with the joy that is comic books these past few months, with special attention being given to the Donist World favorite Saga. I must say, he's now quite the fan. Aren't you, Mr. Collins? Aren't you?! Yes, that's right you are. Anyhow, no Slice Into the Woods this week as I kind of included that in the Saga #12 review and the puppies and I have been slammed with Donist World cross-geo synergies. I will say there are couple books I have not yet mentioned (one old, one new) that I wish to write about, but those will have to wait for a lighter week. So, please have a look at all things heavenly while Mr. Collins has a look at the latest issue of The Stuff of Legend, after which he is allowed to go...and after he performs "Easy Lover" for us of course.

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Saga #12
Saga #12 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, published by Image Comics. Tallywacker. Pud. Donger. Pee-pee. We all know it by many different names and the news burning up the comic book interwebs were not so much about the previously mentioned little (uh...did I say "little?"...I meant average, slightly bigger than average actually) cuss, but more about what it goes into and which censoring company considered taking it out of the equation completely on Apple devices. Mark Waid posted a great breakdown on what happened here. Yeah, I got caught up in the mess and jumped to lay the blame at Apple for censoring a work of art when it was actually Comixology anticipating Apple's rejection of this issue of Saga for two postage-stamp-sized images depicting gay sex. Not to go too far into it, I'd like to say I'm sorry to Apple for jumping on the blame bandwagon. BUT, in the end Apple does have strict rules of censorship (you cannot buy the fantastic Image Comic Sex by Joe Casey through the iPad Comixology App for example), they take a 30% cut of every comic that is purchased through their apps, and they're a financial behemoth among many other things that can lead me off topic for hours (full disclosure, folks: I'm writing on my iMac, with an iPhone in my pocket, an iPod Nano charging off the iMac, and an iPad charging on the chair, all as Amy works on her MacBook Pro). So, kerfuffle aside, purchase your Comixology comics through the Comixology website. Apple doesn't get their cut, but the indie creators who sell through Comixology get a higher percentage of the sale, and I'm more interested in supporting the creators of what I love, as opposed to helping so old, white-haired, white guy extend the infinity pool of his fourth home. <phew> What were we talking about? Oh yeah, Saga still rules roost, my little chickadees. Teenie weenie penie HOOOOO!
We have not seen much of Prince Robot IV for the past few issues, but he is back and closer to finding Marko, Alana, Hazel and their group as ever. We begin with a flashback--and two much ballyhooed images--of a time when Prince Robot IV was shot and dying on the field of battle. If not for a kindly medic he would have perished, unfortunately, an illegal Wreath spell annihilates the medic moments later. Although haunted, IV has a job to perform and Landfall Secret Intelligence damn well wants to see it accomplished, but IV has a hunch the escaped parents are on their way to see D. Oswald Heist. Heist is author of A Nighttime Smoke, the book that brought the unlikely pairing of Marko and Alana together in the first place. Unfortunately for Heist, IV is in no mood for pacifism.
After all of the excitement of the past few days, was this issue worth it? Oh my goodness, yes. The opening splash is shocking in not just a fellatio kind of way. The use of a sexual image on Prince Robot IV's monitor as he lies dying amidst a war compounded with the vibrant colors of the soldier's peacock-like feathers and the blue blood painting the dull landscape only make the image more striking. The second page relaxes the tension of the first as many little deaths forebode IV's actual death, and fewer contrasting colors draw the eye as IV's life drains out of him. It's all rather powerful and fairly fancy-pants creativity, which is exactly what I expect in my favorite comic on the stands. Vaughan also knows when to fully utilize the silent panel(s) to bring home the emotion of a scene, and when to let the characters do the talking as he does when Heist and IV's discussion escalates the tension much in the vein of the incredible Inglorious Basterds opening.
With all the drama of the beginning and ending of this issue, the reader is given a brief reprieve with an adorable seal child in fisherman's overalls and boots, leading a walrus/hippo/manatee pack animal thing merrily across the shores near Heist's home. It's cute, calming even. Which serves as a perfect lead-in to the tense events that follow. Sex, violence, calm, or dread, the entirety of the book is beautiful.
Amidst the fanboy chaos, I read a few statements that the whole censorship thing was a ploy by Image, Vaughan and Comixology to spark sales, but c'mon...seriously? If you read comics, then you know about Saga, and if you know about Saga, then you know it does not shy away from being shocking...just ask Fard from his private flat on Sextillion <shiver>. One good thing to come of this is our sadly-small comic book community, although often quick to jump the gun--including myself--might have succeeded in bringing in a few new Saga readers through the discussion of censorship, whether it was true or not--looks like not. Regardless, I love this book and censorship, whether corporate policy or not, sucks rocks. Make mine Saga! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Hawkeye #9
Hawkeye #9 - Written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by David Aja, published by Marvel Comics. I've said it throughout the run of this book, "Clint Barton is a cool guy. Someone you want to hang with...y'know, someone you'd share a beer with. Someone you'd invite to the barbecue." Clint would make a good buddy. Of course he's the type of friend who has more money than you, has a much cooler job than you, and you'd probably hate his darn guts if he wasn't so down to earth. He's not afraid to stand up to the monstrous chump pushing you around for no good reason, he always brings something good to eat when he comes over, and he's down with watching Fast and the Furious for the umpteenth time. He's low maintenance. Crud, I think I have a man crush on the guy, but then you meet the girls in his life. Yeah, yeah, he gets ALL the fine Betty's and half of them are superheroes no less, but then you see how thoughtlessly he treats these women. That's not cool. Katie's crushing on him. Bobbi's really sweet. Natasha is...Natasha is scary and messing with her makes you dumb as a sack of bricks; let's just leave it at that. Jessica is fun, thoughtful and a knockout. Who in their right mind screws that up? I don't care how attractive...okay, the mysterious redhead is hot, but c'mon, Clint. Duh, man! I appreciate that you brought a case of Pliny the Elder over (really, really, really appreciate it), but I'm sorry, man. That was kind of a dick move and you know it. ... ... ... So now that you and Spider Woman are no longer a thing, do you think I could have her number? You know, to check on how she's doin'?
The majority of this comic is Clint Barton epic failing with the four women currently mixed up in his life. The Black Widow discovers he's been marked for death for his interference with the tracksuit Draculas. Mockingbird finalizes her divorce papers with him. Spider Woman ends their relationship after she discovers Clint cheated on her with a gorgeous redheaded stripper with a dangerous past, a redhead so terrified of the chaos coming for Clint that she is leaving town. Then there's the young sidekick, who finally acknowledges the disappointment she is currently feeling for the man she thinks she loves. Hawkguy's had a pretty darn bad day, but unfortunately he doesn't even realize how bad things are going to get, when a true pal pays the price for Clint's meddling.
That sucks! I was not expecting this ending at all. You know what? THIS is how you handle a character death. Not spoiled months in advance and not as a mandate from up on high to kill a high-profile character in an effort to spike sales. This was a minor supporting character, but one Fraction carefully lured the reader into caring about. This character was just an average Joe, but Clint liked him and through their interactions this reader liked him as well. The death makes sense and will of course snap the hero out of his funk, and man if I don't want this new(?) villain to pay. Dammit, Fraction. That was a low blow, but it was not a cheap shot and I thank you for that. Just leave Pizza Dog out of the crossfire and we should be okay. Capish?
David Aja's art in this issue is as spectacular as ever and I keep wishing Marvel would make prints of some of these pages available for purchase as I would buy a couple in a heartbeat. The action scenes of Black Widow chasing the redhead, Darlene, through the train station are riveting and the talking scenes between each of the women and Clint carry the emotion of each scene beautifully even without the fantastic word balloons. This is especially true of the pages with Jessica Drew where you feel her pain at the lack of consideration Clint has given her. Matt Hollingsworth's flats completely round out this already great book, with the colors of Jessica's dress and tall socks being a perfect choice for a hero in her civvies.
Every issue of Hawkeye has been fantastic thus far and with the events at the end of this book, I can't wait to see what happens next. To summarize: I'm upset. I'm disappointed in Clint's behavior and I'm pissed about what happened to a certain character, but I mean this in the best of ways. A Big 2 book moved me emotionally, which is something I didn't expect to happen from them and it's something I hope happens--organically--again in the near future. I suspect Hawkeye will again be the book to do so. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
The Stuff of Legend:
The Toy Collector #4
The Stuff of Legend: The Toy Collector #4 - Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson III, and published by Th3rd World Studios. I love this series. The ending splash on the penultimate issue of this chapter made me gasp. I wondered about this in the back of my mind when we first met the Toy Maker and although I love all of the characters currently in this book, there is certainly room for one more.
The dark toys have Monty (musical monkey) and Scout (a living puppy) right where they want them. If they want to see Max (teddybear) alive, and unharmed then the unlikely duo will gain the dark toys access to the bricked in Story Place. The Boogeyman gives Homer a promotion and reveals his plans, while pulling Percy (piggybank) into his schemes with the lure of immortality. We learn  a secret about the doll toys, such as Rebecca (queen of hearts doll), and an injured Jester (Jack in the box) sees something at the Toy Maker's (toy robot) shop that...nope, not gonna spoil this one.
Another fantastic issue that has me eager to see how this chapter wraps up in the next issue. Raicht, Smith and Wilson III have created a slew of characters who they expertly juggle, giving each time to tell their story. I care for both toys and living alike in this Donist World top five favorite series currently hitting store shelves and with the implications of the last page, I have no idea how this situation is going to be handled. This makes me happy indeed. I will say that I am confused by the "Toy Collector" portion of the title as the Toy Collector character has only made brief appearances in each issue, but maybe the rationale will become apparent in the next month or two. If you are not reading this tremendous book, then I must warn you NOT to start here. Start with the Omnibus and I guarantee you will be hooked on one of the most under-appreciated and highly-inventive comic books seeing print. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Age of Ultron #5
Age of Ultron #5 - Written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Bryan Hitch, published by Marvel Comics. We're at the halfway point, folks, and Age of Ultron still manages to keep me interested and on board for what's to come next. I still think that issue 4's reveal that the Vision is NOT actually the one in command of an army of deadly robots, but is actually a tool of an Ultron operating from the safety of the future...future...future (that's a mysterious echo effect right there) was a bit of an easy out. Again, I'm still enjoying an "event" book, which is saying something, and I mean to see it through to the end, despite the leaked news that a legally won character once at a rival publisher will see their Marvel debut at the end of the series...series...series...
Again not a whole lot happens in this issue. Tony reflects on the Vision. Nick Fury is found in the Savage Land (Secret Invasion tie in...blarg). Talking. Half of the group goes to the future to fight Ultron, the other half decides to go to the past and end the life of Ultron's creator, Hank Pym.
Can anyone tell me what the deal is with Tony Stark's glowing weird outfit? I'm guessing it's some sort of minimal, unhackable gear, but I must have missed its significance somewhere. Anyhow, again not much happens, but as a weekly book this isn't that bad and as I've said, I'm interested in what happened and how this problem is going to be fixed. If AoU was a Monthly, I would probably be out. Five issues in and I'm hopeful this "event" will pay off with more decent story than corporate mandate to boost profits through a team-up that "the kids want, y'know?" RECOMMENDED!

Batman #19
Batman #19 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics. It's still WTF month as a foldout cover reveals a major plot point of the contents within! Okay, granted...this one is not as horrible as the Green Arrow cover depicting and flat out stating who killed Green Arrow's father. This cover is actually reminiscent of that magical period known as the '70s when word balloons frequented comic covers enticing passersby to pick up the $.15 each back then why wouldn't you? Now, an additional $3.84 later, DC attempts the attention grabbing, headline style "WTF" on Batman and honestly this cover works in raising a Donist eyebrow and having me think, "Hey, a new Batman book that I was going to buy anyways because Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo totally rock the socks. Huh...Bruce Wayne with a gun pulled on Jim Gordon? Yup, still buying it."
Bruce Wayne is acting very un-Bruce-Wayney. Jim Gordon has him at gunpoint as the billionaire robs a bank, kills some bank guards and threatens to blow up a girl. Gordon also sees that the Gothamite is wearing a Batman shirt underneath his expensive suit. Meanwhile, the real Bruce Wayne, Batman, reflects on the life of his son Damian (aka Robin), but with something amiss at Wayne Enterprises, Bruce throws himself into his work. Clearly someone is impersonating Gotham's most noticeable citizen down to the last detail. Who else could it be but a powered up Clayface. Secondly there's a backup story by James Tynion IV with Batman and Superman joining forces to tackle a threat of the supernatural kind.
The look of this issue is different from all the rest. Not that it is bad, Capullo's art remains outstanding (could this ever be an issue with this guy?...I think not!), but a new inker gives Capullo's art a slightly different look than we are used to seeing. The story was fun and filled with thrills, a perfect break between extended storylines as the next arc prepares to begin with issue 21. I will say that I loved Tynion IV's short two-part story with a non-traditional threat and a team-up with Superman...another thing I loved from the '70s. This New 52 title's still got it. RECOMMENDED!

Thor God of Thunder
Thor God of Thunder - Written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Esad Ribic, published by Marvel Comics.  Although "Godbomb" sounds like a cocktail involving an energy drink mixed with Goldschlager, this issue is definitely NOT a hangover waiting to happen. We catch up with a young, traumatized, sexy-time Thor, as he struggles to deal with the horror he experienced at the hands of Gorr the God Butcher. Unfortunately, this is something he will be dealing with for the next few millennia. Present day Thor has traveled to the future and met up with his much older future self to bring down the slayer of gods. Lastly, we learn of what Gorr has been building in the future.
Man, there's a lot of jumping around through time in this book, and left in the hands of a less-skilled writer, the odds are pretty high that this story would be one jumbled and confused mess. Not so with Jason Aaron. Aaron has the reader move fluidly from one version of Thor to another, even to the point of bringing two of the three together (with the three destined to come together in coming issues) as they prepare to take the fight to Gorr himself. This book is tense, dark, enjoyable and despite ever thinking I would never love a Thor book post-Walter Simonson, Aaron and Ribic have given me pause to reconsider that notion. I'm off to do a 7:00 AM "Godbomb." Verily! RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods


Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 4/5/2013

(Sung to the tune of Iron Maiden's "Two Minutes to Midnight")

LCS, don't distress
I'm just as confused, son
Reveals spoil, make blood boil
What the heck's the reason?

I can read, why the deed?
Giveaway is treason
You got my dough, why ruin the show?
For Pete's sake already

Still, Green Arrow's cool, Swamp Things's no fool
Age of Ultron, the Hulk rock the brain
The Big Two ride, Donist tells you no lies
The creator-owned is worth a look

Gargoyle By Moonlight
A book to make you croon
Gargoyle By Moonlight
Monsters, magic to make you swoon

Inhale through the nose. Exhale through the mouth. Inhale through the nose. Exhale through the mouth. Breathe from the core. Now, bend forward and--oh. Hi there, Donist World denizens, you just so happened to catch us during our corporate mandated "Get Up and Stretch" hour. I'm joined as ever by Obie (my friends' Boston terrier and Donist World CFO) and Tulip (my dog, Obie's sister, Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/life coach) and we are just finishing up an enlightening yoga session to free ourselves from our bodies and minds so that Donist World can synergize our strategies and open up collaboration to levels unheard of...with the side benefit of being the best darn yoga-ers in the world. You see, I'm at a bit of a disadvantage here. Obie and Tulip have a leg up (poor choice of words when talking about dogs) on me as they are already pros at poses like "down dog" and "up dog," but I'm pulling myself up by my yoga mat surpass their serenity; you have to be barefoot to really perform some kickace yoga after all. Anyhow, I am now in shavasana, the corpse pose, as are my executives. My mind drifts as I let go of my worldly worries. I am opening and closing the drawers of my troubles and shutting the door on my...wait a minute. Dang it. Obie and Tulip raided the petty cash drawer again are out the door making a play for the food truck. As I prepare to "enlighten" my employees, have a look at...

Friday Slice of Heaven

*Possible Spoilers Below*

Gargoyle By
Moonlight #1
Gargoyle By Moonlight #1 - Written by Timothy Bach and illustrated by Brian Atkins, published by Moonrise Comics. With Donist World I've always been upfront that if I fail to enjoy a comic for whatever reason, then I will not feature it on the site, regardless of the creators involved. Disclaimer: I have known Tim for two years now through the amazing Comics Experience, where I've read some of the man's incredible scripts and received some much-needed help on my own. I read the first, finely polished script of this comic a while back and now holding the final work in my hands I am happy to see what was already a darn entertaining and well-crafted read has become even stronger in print.
Gary Doyle has an interesting pastime. You see, Gary is no longer completely human as a result of a terrible curse that transforms him each night into a monstrous stone gargoyle. Now, he prowls the darkest corners of the underworld beating the crud out of the supernatural monsters that terrorize the city's inhabitants all in the hopes of finding a cure for his condition. Thankfully, with the aid of a beautiful gypsy, he has a lead on a mystical tablet on display at a museum that can solve his problems. Unfortunately, an ancient golden mask is also on display, a mask that houses a vast evil set on bringing the world to its knees. Mix in a beautiful curator and an exceedingly unlucky custodian and the situation goes from bad to horrendous. Can the Gargoyle rescue the curator and the custodian, vanquish the evil, and finally remove the curse that has been afflicting him for the past few months?
Gargoyle By Moonlight is a darn fun read, pure and simple. Bach brings a modern touch to a story and character that could just as easily have graced the spinner rack alongside my favorite monster comics of the '70s. A touch of noir is added through Gary's narration and humorous moments pop up throughout, but then Bach takes moments to break from the nostalgia of the past to remind us that his damsel in distress can handle her own problems, thank you very much. One thing cleverly missing from the story is Gary's full origin. Instead of taking four or five issues to explain how Gary was cursed, and how he has dealt with the changes in his life, we are immediately thrust into the story. The reader learns everything he needs to know about the character within a few pages--what happened, what he wants, what drives him to action--with enough gaps left to keep the reader curious and interested to see the what happens next.
Before GBM, I was unfamiliar with Atkins art, but now I'm thankful to have him on my radar. Action scenes flow beautifully, and the storytelling tells the reader everything they need to know, clearly leading the eye from panel to panel. The emotions of each scene are clear, with great moments from the Gargoyle and from the Serpent King's mask which constantly changes while maintaining the appearance of being a static object. Juan Romera (shameless plug: who illustrated my story "Timber Tom" in Indie Comics Magazine #6) uses color to pull characters to the forefront and push the emotions of Atkin's panels ever futher.
Every aspect of Gargoyle By Moonlight is professional, well-thoughtout material. Compelling writing with fun characters, and striking art, inks, letters, and colors on this 36-page comic book make this an easy purchase. Give this creator-owned book a shot if you like the '70s monster comics, enjoy the supernatural, or want to read a dang fine comic by creators who love what they do. Available in both print and digital formats. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
*BONUS* - On the inside back cover is one of them QR code doohickeys that takes you to a double-page spread Gargoyle By Moonlight story that had me rolling with laughter. Love, love, love it and again brings me back to my childhood and the weirdest part of '70s comics. Nice!

Other Heavenly Items:
Age of Ultron #4
Age of Ultron #4 - Written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Bryan Hitch, published by Marvel Comics. Yup, I'm still digging this Marvel "event." I know, I'm as shocked as you are. In case you haven't been following for long, ol' Donist is quite the cynic when it comes to money grab "event" comics as many of them have left me with a less than satisfied feeling (with the exception of The Infinity Gauntlet, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Age of Apocalypse). Now we have Age of Ultron. 
In a post apocalyptic world humanity is on the brink of extinction and the hero population suffers even worse losses as simulacrums of Ultron patrol the streets and the skies in search of any and all threats. Last issue we saw that The Vision, or rather what is left of him, is running an exchange program--favor in exchange for captured heroes. Luke Cage and She Hulk seek to infiltrate this program but their plan goes horribly wrong. Some heroes die as the survivors struggle to beat impossible odds, but thankfully the Black Widow and Moon Knight just might have a plan.
A lot more happens in this issue than in the past three, including a couple high-profile deaths and the reveal of who is pulling the strings; it's the latter part that ultimately lowers the score for this issue. Last week's conclusion (spoilers folks, I warned you) with The Vision appearing to run the show as opposed to Ultron left me with a shocking degree of "whoa!" factor. I was completely onboard for a book were an unexpected and once trusted hero was the one calling the shots. Unfortunately, this issue quickly tore down that notion, explaining that Ultron was running the show from the future. My reaction changed from "whoa!" to "oh." Still this was an exciting and fun issue with more than enough mystery and anticipation for what is to come next. Despite my reservations about the whole Angela thing, this issue and the series thus far are still RECOMMENDED!

Swamp Thing #19
Swamp Thing #19 - Written by Charles Soule and illustrated by Kano, published by DC Comics. New writer, new artist, that is what the latest issue of Swamp Thing brings this month and you know what, my friends? Gosh darn it if these guys did not bring one heck of a good comic book. I've made it quite clear that Swamp Thing is a book that solidified my love of comics as a child (Wein and Wrightson) and again as a teen (Moore, Totleben and Bissette) and yet again as a...slightly-older-than-a-teen adult (Snyder and Paquette). Now after 20 ("0" and annual included) issues into the New 52 version of our hero, Swamp Thing is right back to where he was in the '80s. This leaves me scratching my head as doubt creeps in as to what's going to happen to my favorite muck monster, but after reading Soule's first issue, those doubts are gone with one glaring exception.
The Swamp Thing is out investigating anomalies in the green: an oasis springs up in the desert, a village plagued by hunger finds food abound. Something known only as the "Seeder" is tampering with the balance of things and Alec Holland seeks to discover who is behind the acts and why. Faced with the decision of stopping the Seeder or allowing him to tip the balance of the world to save lives, Alec seeks out the Man of Steel and instead comes across one of the Dark Knight's stray rogues.
You see, I was with this story like you wouldn't believe. Right up until the bit about Superman. Don't get me wrong, I like Superman just fine, but I don't buy Swamp Thing to read about the capes and tights crowd. I buy it for the monsters, the darkness, the things that lurk deep in the mysterious woods. I buy this comic for the terrible power of nature. This month we have new creators with an intriguing story to tell and we don't even make it through one issue without the high-profile "guest appearance." Soule and Kano have the potential to create a heck of a great comic, if only they can get a reprieve from the DCU proper. What's next? A guest appearance by Batman, the JLA, Constantine (a given, but that character's first appearance was in Swamp Thing, so he gets a pass)? C'mon DC, give these guys a chance so Swamp Thing doesn't share the "guest appearanceitis" fate of I, Vampire...this book has potential. RECOMMENDED!

Green Arrow #19
Green Arrow #19 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, published by DC Comics. Isn't this DC's WTF month? You know, the one they decided to drop? Maybe that's what the whole foldout cover (not "wraparound" cover, because of video game ad space on the back) that spoils the key reveal in both this issue as it did in Swamp Thing above. Yeah...WTF?Hopefully this is not a plan to reduce the already sparse 20-page comics down to a foldout poster with the rest of the book being ad space (the last three lefthand pages were ads). Anyhow, the book itself...
Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) finally arrives at Black Mesa where Magus has laid out a bow and arrows for him, and that's all we get of that. Flashback to Green Arrow plummeting to his death only to grab a ledge at the last second and the battle with Komodo and his creepy little murderous daughter begins. During the fight we learn that Komodo shot down Oliver's father's helicopter and then brutally murdered him (actually we learn that reveal on the cover, but whatever). Finally, Oliver is used as a human pincushion and decides to pull an arrow out of his leg the wrong way before passing out.
Not that I've been shot by arrows before, and I hope to never suffer the experience, but with a massive arrowhead like the one in Green Arrow's thigh, isn't it best to remove the fletchings and pull the shaft through that way? Anyhow, terrible cover choice, and arrow in the thigh choice aside, Green Arrow was an action packed thrill ride. I especially loved Sorrentino's page of Arrow and Komodo falling from the building as they fought the whole way down. Then again, Sorrentino is one of my favorite new artists with Marcelo Maiolo's colors only making each image more hauntingly beautiful. Lemire's story is still intriguing and one I want to see unfold at the pace he wishes to tell, but I do want to see what the deal is with Black Mesa and the creepy Magus. Hopefully next month the reveal of the issue is not spoiled on the dang cover. RECOMMENDED!

Indestructible Hulk #6
Indestructible Hulk # 6 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Walter Simonson, published by Marvel comics. Huh...this is kind of a reveal as to what happens in this book as well, but you know what, folks? It ain't that bad, I actually like this one. Thank goodness it doesn't sit you down a shout it's message at you. The big "WTF" aspect of Indestructible Hulk is that Waid has managed to convince this here Donist to buy, read, and really enjoy a Hulk book. Seriously, WTF! Best not to question it though, and just go with the flow, baby, go with the flow.
Bruce Banner has a pretty good deal going, or at least as good as one can have when they can turn into a rage-filled, green-skinned, engine of destruction. SHIELD pays him (handsomely) to use his abilities as the smartest man in the world to make that world a better place. In return, he lends them his alter-ego, the Hulk, to use as a weapon. This issue Banner and his team use a shard of the mystical metal uru from Thor's hammer to travel to Jotunheim, land of frost giants, to find a mystical liquid metal. They are greeted by a jovial Thor, but not the one Banner knows so well. Then the giants come to deal with the trespassers.
Alright, that was fun. This book satisfies both 10-year-old me with all the Hulk smashing bits and...ummm...the much older me with the interesting character bits surrounding Bruce Banner as the Jekyll and Hyde aspects of his personality threaten to tear down all of his triumphs. Simonson's art, which slayed me on his epic Thor run, does not disappoint on this issue (dig that first page splash of Hulk dropping like a rock, man!). Part of me wishes this was printed on the old newspaper stock with the old four-color (is that what they used on Simonson's books back then?) coloring scheme. RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Tax Season - Although my tax bill was not as bad as I thought it would be, it was still a bloodbath. I knew my fleeting hope of a pleasant surprise was, well, fleeting. Man, I really need to get on that 1%er tax rate plan.