Went to my shop last Wednesday night
I bought many books, that set the world right uh-huh
It is a huge thing
Hawkeye's rockin and Black Beetle is rad
Before these comics I was feelin' sad uh-huh
It is a huge thing
I Went to my shop last Wednesday night
I told you that story so listen up, aiight? uh-huh
It is a huge thing
But I know what I like
Hulk's a book worth readin', too
And I know what you should like
Green Arrow's kinda bitchin' you see
Read 'em once
Read 'em twice
Come on pretty baby read 'em deadly
Yeah...I'm not really certain what the heck "read 'em deadly" means, but I'll be darned if that doesn't sound pretty (Obie came up with that one). Hello there, Donist World deadly readers, I'm Donist and I'm joined by Donist World CFO Obie (my friends' Boston terrier) and Tulip (Obie's sister and my dog) who is Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/costume designer. It a special day for us today, as it is for many of you, as we put on our Friday best and prepare to
Friday Slice of Heaven
Kate Bishop (Hawkgal) is taking a much needed break from her "boss," Clint Barton (Hawkguy). Unfortunately, spending the evening at her wealthy father's party, surrounded by his old rich friends--did I mention they're old?--is barely better than dealing with a self-destructive, sad sack like Barton. Her night kind of sucks, until she sees...him. "Him" is Kazimierz Kazimierczak, a handsome, intelligent foreigner, who instantly catches Kate's eye and the two spend the evening chatting and not bothering to hide their attraction to one another. Too bad "Kazi" was hired by the tracksuit Draculas to put Clint Barton down once and for all. The issue ends where issue 9 also ended, the death of a barely-known, but much-loved character. Yeah, I'm still pissed about that one, Mr. Fraction!
Fraction gives us an interesting glimpse into the man who is about to become a major player in Hawkeye's world. We gain a look into a person whose life is marred by tragedy and turns to revenge to right the wrongs perpetrated against him and those he cared for. We also see the point where "Kazi" fulfills his need for revenge, but is so dead inside that he has no problem becoming a killer for hire. He's kind of another form of the Punisher if Frank Castle had lost his commitment to his "mission"...that and if he wore greasepaint on his face. Fraction gives us just enough insight to initially feel bad for this character, but then we quickly revile Kazi for messing with Kate and for killing a certain character. The little shred of history we get in this issue is enough to make me more interested in this new villain, while at the same time making me hate him all the more. Still...Mr. Fraction is a mean, mean man.
Francavilla...yeah, if you've followed Donist World for any length of time, you know what I think of this guy. I mentioned above the Swamp Thing guest artist spot, but I need to clarify just how stunned and overjoyed I was to find his art in that book. It was a complete surprise--come to think of it, I need to go in the Closet of Doom and excavate that issue this weekend. Just last week I learned that he was guest artist on Hawkeye this month, and although I was expecting to see his art and his oh-so-gorgeous colors in the book, I still had plenty of "WOW" factor going on when I cracked this book open. Let's hope Marvel has Francavilla on speed dial for whenever a "special" or "annual" comes around.
So, yes, all the grumbling at the beginning of this review was 100% made up. Through the course of these past 10 issues I've learned that a filler issue or a guest artist on the best book currently being published by Marvel is not something to fear. Hell, Donist World denizens, it can be something to look forward to. Fraction's driving. He's got this. Just sit back and enjoy the ride, whatever road you might travel. Bring on the Pizza Dog! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
|The Black Beetle #3|
The Black Beetle is incognito, dressed as a civilian to investigate the murders of two crime families (blown up in issue one) and starts his search at one the mobster's entertainment establishments, the Coco Club. While there the Black Beetle, posing as business man Ray Steves, is enchanted by the club's beautiful singer. Unfortunately the moment is ruined when BB spots Fierro, a man who by all means should be dead. Leaving the songstress behind, he rushes off to chase the man down, but instead is greeted by the very-much-living criminal's thugs. The man gets away. BB makes a quick trip to the morgue to confirm the corpse on file is not Fierro and begins his hunt for the man.
Criminy this issue was a blast. Every single moment of it. The scenes in the club very much set the cigarette smoking mood I mentioned above and although I still have no clue who the Black Beetle actually is, I would have been fine just having the mysterious character hang out at the Coco Club partially flirting, partially digging for information from Ava Sheridan. The whole scene provides a touch of humanity to BB to pull the reader in, while the fantastic use of colors makes key characters pop panel to panel. As I said, I could stay there and be perfectly content, but then we get to the tremendous fight scenes where Francavilla really outdoes himself. The art would be striking as black and white, but it is the colors in these seven pages that blow me away. Images shift from contrasting color schemes, to monochromatic, to silhouette and it all works to ratchet up the intensity of the fight, reminding me of the near psychedelic imagery of the old Ralph Bakshi Spider-Man cartoons from the late '60s--I would love to know the soundtrack Francavilla has for these pages, but that's something else entirely.
The story is strong, the art is phenomenal, I love this book. With one issue remaining, if you are just now learning of The Black Beetle, then I would probably wait until the hardcover collection lands near the end of August, as you might have some difficulty finding some of these issues including the #0 issue. Or you can grab the digital version from Darkhorse.com (I believe the first issue is free, but I'm not sure if that is still the case, I did buy the #0 issue there and still need to post a review for it...yes, it ruled). If you're sensing a "I love the work of Francesco Francavilla" vibe from these two reviews, then you are completely correct. Next week can't come soon enough. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Other Heavenly Items:
|Indestructible Hulk #7|
The Hulk now wields the power of Thor's mighty hammer, Mjolnir. Or does he? We see the smiling, jovial thunder god of days long past (don't get me wrong, I still love Aaron's moody take on Thor, too), but things take a turn for the worse when the portal to Earth is destroyed, stranding Banner and his scientist friends in Jotunheim. Thor and Hulk unleash hell on scores of frost giants and it is brutal. A weird ice cricket/cow/thing makes single panel appearance (man, I love Simonson), a deception gets put in play, and Banner's biologist, Patty, makes a disturbing confession.
Holy cricket cow. This book is nuts. Waid of course gives us a highly entertaining read and delivers a startling twist to a new character (Patty) that I will not spoil. Simonson is a very welcome addition to this Asgard-based tale and seeing that fifth page panel of Thor laughing brought back all of my fond memories of his run on Thor from back in the day. Together they made this issue a heck of a good read. Grab a goblet, pour yourself some mead and get ready for some Asgardian excitement. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
|Green Arrow #20|
Oliver Queen continues his trek across the desert (started in issue 17) and he arrives at a tent housing none other than Magus, who promises to provide answers to the bewildered archer...but not in this issue. We flashback to a week earlier where Komodo has been ordered to back off of Queen by another mysterious and malevolent warrior. Komodo should work on his listening skills. Instead he uses Queen's friend, Naomi, as bait at the Queen family mausoleum. A fierce and one sided battle occurs, but Green Arrow wins the day with some luck. It's off to Black Mesa, Arizona.
I'm not sure exactly what the heck is going on or why, but this confusion is all part of the plan. The reader has barely more insight into what is happening than the protagonist and that is where Lemire wants us to be. We also get a possible allusion to the aforementioned Longbow Hunters book as Lemire removes a villain (for now), introduces another, and hints at more to come. I'm excited to see more of this Magus character and what he knows. The art is stunning as usual and a joy to see, with Marcelo Maiolo's fantastically moody colors. A good book and I'm just glad that the cover (SPOILER here, folks) didn't say, "In this issue a fight is fought, a damsel saved and an enemy stuck in the frickin' eye with an arrow!!!" I know, get over the WTF cover from last month, Donist. Just go with the flow. RECOMMENDED!
|Age of Ultron #7|
I still enjoyed this issue and I'm curious to see how the next 3 issues tie things up while introducing Angela to the Marvel Universe, but the whole "event" worry is sneaking in something fierce. We'll see. For now, RECOMMENDED!
Slice Into the Woods
Did I Imagine This? - I was going to just let this week's SitW go, as I read some of my Marshal Law Omnibus, watched another great episode of Mad Men, sampled a great Black IPA that I brewed, tried the tasty Bear Republic "Black Racer IPA," and received some new home brewing gear. I am also very close to finishing the coloring on a story I wrote and lettered as well (hope to be able to promote soon). What wasn't to love about this week? Then I found a post on Twitter (I can't remember who posted) that had a side by side image of a DC Kirby comic and a recent (?) DC rerelease that had redrawn art. Is this a real thing? Did it just happen? I have no idea, but I hope this is a old--make that very old--instance of a company making a bad decision. You don't redraw the "Mona Lisa" and solicit it as the original deal, and you don't do that to Jack Kirby. If someone knows more about this then let me know on twitter, or maybe I really did dream it all.