Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 5/24/2013

(Sung to the tune of Eddie Rabbitt's "I Love a Rainy Night")

Well, I love the Sixth Gun, bro
I love the Sixth Gun, bro
I love scary Westerns
Magic weapons
Drake and Becky are tops
You know it makes me feel good

Well, I love some Marshal Law
The violence's kinda raw
I love to see Suicida get beat down
It totes stands the test of time
Fear and loathing rules the roost

Daredevil and a helping of Sex
Right there's my perfect sunny day

Well, I love comics alright

Hi there, Donist World denizens. I'm Donist and I am NOT here today with anyone but me, myself, and I. You might be wondering where my CFO Obie (my friends' Boston terrier) and my marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/hide-and-go-seek recruiter Tulip (my Boston terrier and Obie's sister) are today and we would all be on the same page; I don't know where the heck they are either. Oh email I just sent to them came back with an out of office (OOO for those not in the business world) message saying that they have taken today as paid time off (PTO in case you are wondering) in celebration of their fourth birthdays. Okay. No one said anything to me about this, no  one requested the time off, and I thought we were celebrating their ACTUAL birthday, which is tomorrow. I'm also hurt because they left me to run our Fortune 320,000 company on my own and even more than that, I'm hurt that they didn't invite me to join in the fun with them. Waaaaaiiiittt a minute. I can see them from the window. They're at the little park out back. They're lying in the sun, there are comic books lying around them, and also what looks like bottles of beer. That tears it. I'm going to go crash this little soiree and have a bit of fun for once myself. Don't worry. You're all invited. Catch up on the books we loved this week and then meet us down at the park for a beer or two--IF you are of age to do so, otherwise it's coffee and Cheetos for you youngsters out there. Without further ado it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Sixth Gun #31
The Sixth Gun #31 - Written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Brian Hurtt, published by Oni Press. That's right...jerkfaces! No, Donist World denizens, I am not talking about the creators of the fine piece of art that is hopefully sitting in your hands. No. Nor am I talking about the publisher of this Donist World Top Five title. No. I'm talking about the television network that opted to pass on the pilot for The Sixth Gun series. Instead we will be graced by a bunch of cop shows, some "reality" TV, situational comedies, a reboot or two of established properties, vampires, and Parks and Recreations (which rules and is the only diamond in the very rough landscape). <sigh> I guess I should be happy that the awesomeness that is The Sixth Gun DID NOT make it to network television. If it had, the show would run the risk of a bunch of rich, white-haired, old dudes more concerned with maximizing ad revenues, and sanitizing material to reach a broader demographic while caring little about quality programing with the potential to carry on for multiple seasons, could possibly have damaged the story beyond recognition. Oh well, maybe AMC? HBO? Showtime? Cable's where it's at, so maybe a little more time is in the best interest of the show appearing in a manner befitting the creators' vision of the work and one that doesn't have a goofy sidekick or something equally horrendous added to the script as dictated by those holding the purse strings. There's a reason why the Donist household cut the cable ties about five years ago. Furthermore, I can't--wait a minute. What the heck are we talking about again? Oh yeah, The Sixth Gun #31! It's really, really, really good and goofy sidekicks to be found anywhere in these pages; thank goodness for that.
Becky Montcrief ain't doing so well. Not only is she trapped in the spirit world, without a guide, and unable to return to the waking world, she is being hunted by three murderous "skinwalkers" as set upon her by the diabolical Missy Hume. Maybe Becky shouldn't have threatened her so publicly...paybacks a witch. Drake Sinclair is barely standing himself after the hell he has been put through and implores his Indian captors/protectors to do better in saving Becky. A plan is made to hunt the hunters. Becky whups on some skinwalkers, and finds the spirit world has its own breed of horrors. A new and familiar (?) spirit guide in possession of an all too familiar weapon makes an appearance followed by a quick disappearance and a startling (and dang cool) shift in location.
All my annoyance over the pilot not being picked up aside, this issue is a blast. Bunn has grown Becky from an uncertain, hesitant character to one who is confident and eager to make her own path. Gone are the times of indecisiveness and hiding behind her friends. Now, despite being hopelessly outmatched, Becky has no qualms about meeting her hunters head on and it is an exciting thing to see, especially when she ambushes her pursuers, punching one square in the nose; I couldn't help but cheer. Above the occasional moments of individual triumph, it's the group dynamic where Bunn focuses his attention. All of Becky's friends (friends being a loosely fitting term when you factor in the scoundrel Kirby Hale and the mummy Asher Cobb) are desperate to help her as the team splits off, for she would do the same for them...with the possible exception of Kirby, but such is the way of a heart betrayed; she'd probably still save his worthless carcass anyways. I'm still waiting for more background on Drake--we actually get a couple hints about him in this issue--but I'm sure more will come in time.
Hurtt's art only improves with this issue, which is a difficult thing to imagine as his sequentials and character acting have been nothing short of rock solid since day one (after this I'm going to check to see if he has pages for sale...dare to dream, Donist, dare to dream). His sequence of Becky attacking the skinwalkers is intense and left me cheering for her, only to be left stunned with the appearance of a "hungry one" on the following splash page. Speaking of splashes, how about that final double pager? Wow.
I always have to mention Bill Crabtree on this title as this is a spotlight issue for him as well. His storytelling and mood from the darkness of the evildoers, to the purple-hued anguish of Becky struggling to free herself from the spirit world, to the shocking (in a great way) light in the giant teepee that transitions from a rich bright yellow to a dreamlike blue instantaneously, all contribute to driving the story forward and giving the comic its signature look at the same time. Its all rather lovely.
So, I might not yet be getting the television show that I so desperately want to see (so long as it is done right), but the wonderful comic that is one of the best titles currently being published continues to fill me with gasps, chills and thrills and anxious for the next issue. The comic book is where it all started and the comic book is where all the excitement will happen first until we reach the concluding issue. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Daredevil #26
Daredevil # 26 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Chris Samnee, published by Marvel Comics. Reading Daredevil has been refreshing to say the least. This is the title that brought me back to Marvel after I had dropped every single one of their books, and it even took me until issue 8 and hearing over and over again how great this comic is that I took a newly received gift certificate and bought all 8 issues. I read one. I immediately read the next. I then contacted my LCS and told them to add Daredevil to my pull list and I then read the next six issues and began the painful monthly wait. Since then I have loved almost every issue, with the issues I was less thrilled about still being better than most of the normal Big Two fare. This installment was pretty damn incredible and man, was it nerve the best of ways of course.
The mysterious ninja version of Daredevil, the warrior known as Ikari, ruthlessly beat Matt Murdock and is determined to let the hero suffer before ending him. Bruised and bloody, Daredevil retreats to bandage himself up, but something is dreadfully wrong. The "man without fear" is terrified and with anyone on the street being a potential agent of Ikari, he has good reason to be scared. Meanwhile the man pulling Ikari's strings (the Cocktail Tumbler as I've called him) is revealed as is another accomplice and it is up to Daredevil to pull himself together and take this surprise villain down, before he or Foggy Nelson wind up dead.
Criminy that was a roller coaster of a ride. Waid takes our favorite hero, grinds him down and leaves both Daredevil and the reader nervous and dreading what's lurking on the coming page. Just read up until the guy in the elevator makes that one little comment to Matt Murdoch and tell me you didn't get the heebie -jeebies. Man! Then he does it again with the syringe and...ack...I'm reading the page and then looking over my shoulder. It's totally messed up. Then you have that final panel and...<brrrrr>. Samnee's art is gorgeous as always and Javier Rodriguez's minimally rendered colors set the tension and release of each scene to great effect. It's all beautifully done. Then, don't miss out like I almost did, after the final panel, turn a couple pages for a truly touching 8-page story of Foggy Nelson attempting to deal with his cancer while speaking to the children's cancer ward patients. *Note to Marvel...mind where you put the ads as I almost did not continue through to the back up story. I'm just sayin'*.
If you are a fan of the capes and tights, but have been feeling disillusioned with many of your once favorite titles, then do yourself a favor and start grabbing up Waid's Daredevil, I promise you will be glad you did. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sex #3
Sex #3 - Written by Joe Casey and illustrated by Piotr Kowalski, published by Image Comics. In case you haven't noticed, I tend to joke around a bit. Usually on something with a title like Sex, I make a joke to lighten the mood, but I'm not going to do that today. There's too much sex negativity in the good ol' US of A, thanks to an overly vocal minority of knuckle-dragging whack job politicians. Thus we have Sex and I'm sure if the sex negative knew of its existence, many would be appalled, outraged, possibly incited to a good old fashioned book burning with talk of moral decay (most before the book has even been opened). Some would be so outraged as to keep a copy or two stashed away, remind themselves over and over and over again, in the privacy of their own home, of just how outraged they are by the very existence of this comic; they also can't wait for issue four.
Enough with theories concerning the nonsense of others. I absolutely love this cover. Gorgeous sexy lady aside, the use of a stark red gradient with a blue hued window cannot help but draw your eye, and the effect of the woman's dress melting into the simple background while having rendered purples in her skin and stockings bring all the elements of colorist Brad Simpson's design together. Discounting the lovely lady (thank you, Kowalski), the colors alone demanded mentioning.
Sex isn't just about the striking cover, there's also some stuff inside the comic book worth checking out. Casey still has Simon Cooke existing in the world under a cloud of deadening indifference. Whether Simon is sitting in the boardroom, being given the "gift" of a prostitute (last issue), or talking about the past with his friend Warren, Simon continues to be subdued. But there's a change from the previous two books. In this issue, Kowalski's art clues the reader in with subtle changes in Simon's facial expressions and body language that the lead character is figuring things out about himself and the world he has recently rejoined. We see a spark of life returning to this walking dead man. The evil groups (The Alpha Brothers, the Old Man) who have been up to no good after the absence of the Armored Saint (Simon's old alias...or is it the other way around?) are beginning to escalate their violent ways. With Simon back in town, Annabelle Lagravenese remembers the good times, the exciting times of being a villainess pursed through the night by the Armored Saint, but that hero is as yet no where to be found. Simon might have promised his dying mentor he would abandon super heroics, but he still wishes to save the city from devouring itself.
With the story in full swing after two introductory issues, I now know the players and see where our "hero" is coming from and what he is up against: primarily, himself. With a great story, beautiful art and colors, the only thing I am uncertain of is the lettering choice to highlight in changing colors, words that would otherwise be bolded, which is a tad distracting and not what you want with a comic's lettering; I'm sure there is a reason for this of which I am not yet aware. Sex sells--as it should--and this installment has moved an interesting comic to an intriguing one. I'm curious to see what Casey and Kowalski have in store for us next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Flashback Friday:
Marshal Law:
The Deluxe Edition HC
Marshal Law: The Deluxe Edition HC - Written by Pat Mills and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill, published by DC Comics. Dagnabbit, you kids. I thought I told you to get off my dag burned lawn! Y'see, I got your numbers, I know all of you: Tommy, Sam, Mikey and especially you former President George W. I'm going to call all your parents and let 'em know what you all been up to. Heck, I might just make some stuff up while I'm at it. Yeah, that's right, how do you like them apples? Now if you don't want that, you best stand right there on the sidewalk and let me tell you a little somethin' about a hero hunter named Marshal Law and what happens to bad boys like yourselves. One boy in particular who thought he done hit the jackpot only to find himself dead at the hands of someone he thought was a hero. You understand what I'm sayin'? Georgie W, stop them dag burned waterworks--your a big boy--and listen up. Maybe you might just learn something.
The Private Eye, a dark vigilante of the night is stalking San Futuro's criminal element and "operating" on them until they see the errors of their ways and it's up to Marshal Law to stop the excessively violent menace. The problem is that the Marshal kind of doesn't see a problem with the "hero" or his methods. The Private Eye as it turns out is none other than billionaire Scott Brennan, who at one point in his youth witnessed his parents' murder...of course few know that young Scott was the one who hired the hit men. Now decades later, Scott Brennan seems to have not aged a day and is in tip top shape. He's also in the market for a young ward. Many boys want to be a boy of wonder, but one in particular has caught Brennan's eye, a boy named Tommy. Tommy is perfect for what the Private Eye needs: athletic, spry, bright-eyed and bushy tailed. The boy is just what the surgeon of the night is looking for, a veritable fountain of youth. The Marshal's partner investigates the matter, but things go...poorly...and an enraged Marshal sees the Private Eye for what he truly is: a mad dog needing to be put down. Unfortunately, the Private Eye won't go down easily and the psychopath might be more than even Marshal Law can handle.
All right you kids, hit the bricks. Go on. Scram! Stay off my lawn or I'll do worse than call your parents, I'll call the Private Eye and tell him y'all are new recruits! Okay. Now that their gone, let's get real-real on this book. Marshal Law: Kingdom of the Blind was originally released in 1990 under some publisher known as Apocalypse Ltd that I had never heard of before. I originally found this standalone issue at the third location of my childhood LCS, Andromeda Comics. I had no idea a new issue was out and never even knew that a follow up to my much-loved Marshal Law series (I talk about it here) and the equally adored Marshal Law Takes Manhattan (check it here) was on the horizon. Lucky day and an equally lucky night after I read the double-sized one shot. Kingdom of the Blind had everything I had come to love with the series: brutally violent, a brutal critical look at Big Two comics, with smatterings of social commentary. Take a guess as to which hero comic this one takes pot shots at. Let's see, this issue focuses on a billionaire "hero" whose parents were murdered, who loves having a sidekick in shorty-shorts, who beats the crud out of criminals, who has crazy gadgets, and has a running monologue in his head that never stops. Heck, there's even a tiny little panel of a lightning bolt bisecting the night sky as a silhouetted Marshal Law stands in the foreground--this panel appears after the Marshal beats the bejesus out of Suicida with a plus-sized personal massager (yeah, that kind). What's not to love. Mills and O'Neill also smack the reader with the death of an important side character that despite all the gratuitous violence and extreme parody, you can't help but feel remorse for. It's harsh and it's rough, but unlike many of the deaths in today's Big Two comics, this death made sense even if it bums you out.
If you enjoyed the stories that came before this one, I'd bet you a dozen beefilla burgers you'll be just fine snuggling up with this little gem. Just having the mini-series and the two one-shots that followed is more than enough to justify the purchase of this beautifully produced hardcover. Next time: Marshal Law: The Hateful Dead and Marshal Law" Super Babylon. Both this collection and the Marshal Law Kingdom of the Blind one-shot within are VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Still Missing my Rachel Rising Issue From Last Month - Poopies.  

No comments:

Post a Comment