Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 8/2/2013

(Sung to the tune of Siouxsie and the Banshees's "The Killing Jar")

Down where this Donist guy seeks his comic books
Amidst the shelves, lies The Wake
A merman cuts through the water
Slicing into scientist nerds

Then to my surprise Daredevil flies
Boxing racist thugs about their eyes
Simon and Sex, Sex and Simon
He's grasping for straws and I wish him well

Hulk don't sulk, smashes and bashes
Hands on great comic books
Hands on great comic books

Good morning/afternoon/evening, Donist World denizens. With the SDCC 2013 come and gone, Donist World CFO Obie (my friends' Boston terrier) has returned home for some much needed R&R. Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/villain-a-chillin' Tulip (Obie's sister and my dog) and I have also decided to kick back and relax a bit. It's time to read some comic books, and breathe in the fresh air available to us now that Obie is not around to give off the Eau de Polecat that was wafting off of him after his run in with a skunk a couple weeks ago. Don't get me wrong, Obie didn't reek all the time, just when he got hot after being in the sun, or after a grueling game of racquetball out at the Donist World country club. Being the "head honchos" of a Fortune 320,000 company is not easy work, but the three of us not only know how to work hard, we also know how to relax hard. So, while Tulip gets a pedicure and I get a refresher of this mojito before I apply a mud mask on each of us and lay the coolness of sliced cucumbers across our oh-so-weary eyes, have a look at what knocked our socks off this week. You know what time it is, it's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Wake #3
The Wake #3 - Written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Sean Murphy, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint. The Wake is the comic I wish I had written, yet at the same time I'm glad I didn't. The series has much of what I love and fear: the helplessness of physical isolation, undersea terror, ruthlessly intelligent monsters, science run awry, the ancient past, the unimaginable future. Truly the stuff that dreams are made of, but also the stuff that Donists are afraid to love. Whenever I visit a lake or go to the beach, I often wonder not just what treasures lie below the surface, but also what horrors lurk in the depths, guarding those secrets with tooth, claw, tentacle and spine. I've always been this way. There's a certain rush to uncertainty, but sometimes that rush can be halted by a memorable piece of fiction such as Jaws. Who hasn't had that movie replay through their mind when they dunk their head under the water. Now with The Wake, we have something else to worry about when our toes first touch cool liquid. I wonder how Murphy and Snyder feel about going for a dip in a lake nowadays.
We open with a glimpse into the past, 3.8 billion years ago or thereabout, when the oceanic planet, Mars, experienced its destruction. Back in the present, Lee is talking with her son. She's happy, content. Unfortunately, it's a lie, a hallucination caused by the merman, which is on the loose and eviscerating everything in sight. The situation is so dire that a wounded Cruz agrees to evacuate the underwater base, which all surviving members readily agree is the best course of action. All, that is, except for the murderous Meeks, who wants the monster's head to rest above his fireplace. The situation goes from bad to worse to abysmal, when Lee realizes that the monster's calls were not to its captors, but to its friends.
Where the last issue slowed the pace a bit, this month's offering kicked the action and tension into overdrive. Snyder starts by giving the reader a false sense of security, but by page five we are kept off balance from one terrifying moment to another. The momentum, however, slows abruptly once we reach the third chapter, as the captions run a bit long, but not enough to pull the reader out of the story. Then Snyder hits us with the final four words on the last page and we end with a cliffhanger that will leave you counting the days for the next issue.
Murphy's art is again stunning. Whether he is drawing a picture perfect bird on page four, a chilling scene of Lee saved just in time on the following page, or the fluidity of the creature diving back into the water to make its escape through a grate, his imagery glides the eye from panel to panel. I actually had to slow myself to appreciate the details of each panel and each character within. Speaking of characters, Murphy's Meeks steals the show. This old, bald, murderous psychopath was awesome, and I especially loved how his character was not the typical young, beefy, wisecracking blowhard that we've become accustomed to seeing in the movies. The final three pages leave us with a sense of dread at the scope of just how screwed the protagonists are...those pages are also dang pretty.
I need to call out Matt Hollingsworth's colors on this issue, which help to draw out Murphy's characters one moment and then push them back the next; the pink backgrounds during the creature scenes are a prime example. The blue tint to each characters' skin helps bring the reader to feel as if they too are experiencing the frigid temperature of the underwater rig. Hollingsworth's colors are a perfect complement to the art.
When I first read the solicits for The Wake, I was excited for the book and the first third of the series has more than exceeded my expectations. This month's cliffhanger also has me eagerly awaiting what will come next, but I guarantee that I will be reading issue four while peeping through the fingers of the hand covering my eyes; what's to come ain't going to be pretty. The Wake is a fantastic series fans of horror comics should be reading. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Daredevil #29
Daredevil #29 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Javier Rodriguez, published by Marvel Comics. Last issue touched a nerve by dealing with the subject of bullies as Matt met his childhood nemesis, Nate Hackett, and ultimately ended up aiding the uncharismatic man against false charges. Then the judge, a covert member of the white supremacist group the Sons of the Serpent  shoots Nate during the court proceedings. That is where this month's issue jumps off.
I'm not going to break down this issue other than to say it's fun, exciting and dramatic as one of Marvel's best titles mixes the usual superhero fare into a "they are among us" courtroom mystery. The story is a blast from start to finish. Daredevil's declaration that he is "going to clean house" on the institutions of the city that have been infested by the Sons of the Serpent spoke to my thoughts on the nut bags/corporate tools/racists/classists currently entrenched in our own political system and I can't wait to see what Waid has ol' Hornhead do next.
Javier Rodriguez is a perfect stand-in artist for the book with great acting and excellent action sequentials throughout. His colors also fit with the already established tone of the book, while maintaining his own style.
Between Daredevil and Hawkeye, I will be buying Marvel titles for some time to come, which is shocking as I was buying nothing from the "House of Ideas" just two years ago. When you bring someone like Waid to a series, the decision to pick up the book is not all that difficult. If you haven't been reading Waid's Daredevil then you best catch up on the first three trades here. You'll be glad you did. The fourth trade comes out in September. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sex #5
Sex #5 - Written by Joe Casey and illustrated by Piotr Kowalski, published by Image Comics. Ooooooohhhh...I said the "S" word, denizens. I'm in trouble. Wash my mouth out with soap, and send me to bed without dinner. The title alone tells you this is not one for the kiddies, and some of the contents of the book will definitely confirm this, but with us being more "mature," y'know, adults, Casey and Kowalski's not-what-you-expected title is a great book for the more open-minded crowd.
Simon Cooke's buddy, Warren, has the best of intentions. He wants nothing more than to see Simon snap out of his funk. He wants his friend to have a good time. Too bad excessive amounts of booze, bad cover stories, and two beautiful women won't be enough to bring Simon around. Meanwhile, Simon's old sidekick, Keenan, from back in his superhero days, has decided to do something about the rampant crime in Saturn City, and feels he owes Simon a heads up as to what he is doing; unfortunately his former hero is not in the most respectable of states. The story wraps as Warren decides to take another shot at lifting Simon's spirits by getting his friend access to the Saturnalia.
Casey gives us another glimpse into what it is exactly that is putting Simon in such a funk. We also learn just how traumatized Simon is over his decision to quit what he was born to do and of losing a loved one. Kowalski's art is beautiful, not just with his oh-so-lovely women, but mostly when depicting the emotions of a scene. The looks on Simon and Keenan's faces inform the reader of what is happening on each page, with Casey's dialogue and captions filling in the gaps quite nicely.
Sex is a well-told and beautifully illustrated (and colored) story for which I am completely uncertain as to where we are going. I am anxious to see Simon pull himself up by his bootstraps (gawd, I hate that phrase) and find what it is that will give his life not just meaning, but also enjoyment. I trust the creators to get us there. RECOMMENDED!

Indestructible Hulk #11
Indestructible Hulk #11 - Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Mateo Scalera, published by Marvel comics. If you take a look at the middle left of the cover, you will see three words that almost made me not but this issue. Oh, you don't have your magnifying glass to see what I'm talking about? I will tell you. It says, "Age of Ultron." Boom. There you have it. But then I started thinking...this is written by Mark Waid--we all know he rules--and the past 10 issues have been great. I mean...Waid took Bruce Banner and made him cool, confident even. Then toss in some super science with some impossible missions, and you have the makings of one heck of an entertaining book. So, yeah, I bought the book. I'm glad I did.
All you need to know about this issue, and the next, is what you see on the dag burned cover, denizens. You have a time traveling Hulk, who will inevitably run into some rootin' tootin' dinosaurs! Not sold? Okay, another vague snippet is that the Hulk is traveling with Dr. Bruce Banner. To find out how this is possible, you will have to just read the comic. For the "Age of Ultron" tie-in, my recommendation is to just ignore that, and focus on the Hulk attempting to clean up someone else's timestream mess and you'll be fine.
As far as Waid's super science goes, I have no idea whether or not he does much research, or how based in truth his plot lines are or not, but I will tell you that he could have Banner reconfigure a toaster to accelerate growth on an organically grown grapefruit tree and my reaction would be, "Wow, does that really exists." Fill-in artist Matteo Scalera is P-E-R-F-E-C-T for the book. The airport scene is so exciting and moved so fast from page to page that as a reader, the chaos and tension is impossible to resist and one that is guaranteed to get your heart beating faster. Next issue is cowboys and dinosaurs! RECOMMENDED!

Beer Brewin' - Not comics, I know, but one thing that goes great with comics (reading/writing/lettering/coloring) is craft beer. For eight months now, I've taken up homebrewing and this past Sunday I started up what is my eighth brewing session of beer. This is a five-gallon batch of a black IPA that came as an extract kit and my first one using a new water filter, and with rehydrating dried yeast. I also know that I need to upgrade to an outdoor propane burner and I also need to pick up an immersion chiller as well, both of which I hope to have soon. Homebrewing is fun and oddly relaxing, while requiring an incredible amount of attention to detail. I'm right now 7:7 on the beers I have made, and hope for this one to be my eighth success, especially since I'm a fan of the black IPA style. If you are interested in trying out the whole homebrewing thing, check out where I got this kit and you will be on your way. They also have a cheaper bucket-based kit available. If you decide to give homebrewing a try, then know that you will also need a 5-gallon pot and lid, and both distilled water (for the sanitizer if you wish to store it) and filtered water (for the beer itself). Check out the host of videos on the site as well. Salud!

Slice Into the Woods

My LCS Did Not Get the Animal Man Annual This Week - Grrrrrr...It seems like I always get skipped on at least one title every week. I know, I know, Donist excited for an annual?!? I'm as shocked as you, but I read a three-page preview and the Travel Foreman art coupled with a creepy-as-all-heck story left me eager to read this comic...I guess it wasn't meant to least not for a week or two. One good thing is that is that I finally received my Rachel Rising #16 from my heroes at! Now I have three issues of one of my favorite series to plow through this weekend. One thing I never really mention is that Donist World is a affiliate and that if you click on one of the comic images or hyperlinked comic book titles and buy something (doesn't have to be the title I'm talking about) then I get a small portion of the sale as store credit, which is what I used to buy the Rachel Rising and a host of other books I will soon be talking about on Donist World...probably while I wait to receive my missing copy of the Animal Man Annual.

Donist World FSoH/SitW Gonna Be Slightly Off Next Week - Sorry, denizens, but next week I am going to have some difficulty picking up my Wednesday comics in time for the FSoH/SitW post. I will still post something--possibly about Rachel Rising or a trade or two--and I might do a short-form follow up of next weeks titles on Saturday or Sunday. I'll have to see how things go, but at least I'll get you somethin' on Friday. Werd to the motha.


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