Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/25/2013

(Sung to the tune of Bonnie Tyler's "I Need a Hero")

What are some of the good books, cuz?
What are the ones you need?"
Ones that thrill and are oh so chill
Help fight through what to read

Suzie and Jon, another dose of Sex Criminals please
Pretty Deadly give it a spin
Books of my dreams just what I need

I need a comic, I'm holding out for comics
That are out of sight
Fury MAX is strong
Satellite Sam is a gas
And Daredevil will set you right

Good morning, afternoon and evening, denizens, and welcome to the ever-spooky, spine-tingling experience that is Donist World. Okay, maybe not as scary as last week's post (here) where I talked about the amazing The Upturned Stone, which has still been at the top of my mind for the past two weeks (do yourself a favor and buy a copy if you want to read a gorgeously illustrated and hauntingly told story that more than stands up to the test of time and one that is perfect for Halloween). Back to business...I would like to say that I am joined by Donist World CFO Obie (my friends' Boston terrier) and Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/mistress of the dark (she made me say that) Tulip (my dog, Obie's sister), but the puppies have been a tad overly excited about Halloween and have been in costume--and character--for the past week. Obie, or rather "The Bat" as he wishes to be called, has been dressed as the Dark Knight and has taken to frequently turning off and on mom's basement the office lights and sitting in front of a flashlight so that it casts a shadow on the wall that makes him look like, well, Batman. He also has taken up the habit of flinging his cape about him anytime I tell him to do something and saying "The Bat does not do cost analysis projections" and speeds away. Tulip, on the other hand, is dressed as a dragon and insists on thrashing the office while shouting "Gojira!" I honestly don't know how I can take another week of "The Bat" and "Gojira" or how we can maintain our status as a Fortune 320,000 company; I will just have to look at this nonsense as a "challenge" worthy of my time. Anyhow, while I give "The Bat" and "Gojira" a stern talking to, have a look at this week's not all that scary, but no less amazing...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Sex Criminals
Sex Criminals #2 - Written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Chip Zdarsky, color flatting by Christopher Sebela, published by Image Comics. Fraction and Zdarsky had me after the first page of the first issue (see review here). I absolutely loved the first Sex Criminals, and when I saw the newest issue was coming out this week, I knew what I would be reading first when I got home from work. I did have a slight worry, though. Could the follow-up be just as fun with the all-too-relatable experiences (E.T. the Sex Movie...amirite, denizens? C'mon, right?...Uh...never mind) and cleverly placed jokes that only enhance the interesting characters? Let's just say I had absolutely nothing to worry about with this new Donist World favorite.
Last month we learned how Suzanne discovered her bizarre ability to briefly stop time after having an orgasm. The problem is that when she stops time, she literally stops time...for everyone else but her. It's a lonely life, until the day she meets Jonathan who she discovers shares her ability when they first come together. This issue, we follow Jonathan as he first discovers his ability during his early teens. So, after doing the math you would expect the following: young teen boy + ability to stop time after masturbating = said boy's parents would see their son transform into a 20+ year-old man overnight. Not necessarily; that's not how Jonathan's powers work. Let's just say that Jonathan spends quite a bit of halted time at an adult store called "Cum World" and that he manages to get himself into all sorts of trouble. It was, however, an awkward and lonely life until the night he met Suzanne. Now, as adults, there's no end to the trouble the pair can get into, but unfortunately it looks like some rather odd individuals are not affected by Jon and Suzie's ability to freeze the world around them. Things are about to get really interesting.
Dang, denizens...I love this comic. As I mentioned at the beginning, I kind of had my doubts as to how Fraction and Zdarsky would be able to keep this series going for an extended run, but page three answered that question with the glimpse of a trio in white--especially that dude in the zipper-crotched latex bodysuit...whoa nelly. This issue is filled with all the humor from the first as well as the ridiculously awkward teen moments that even as a grown ass man left me blushing with recognition. Throughout Jonathan's touchingly-cute frank discussion with Suzanne about his early years, I could not help but think "This is exactly what I would have done if I had those power." With great power comes great responsibility, but if those powers involved freezing time and the one responsible was a teenaged boy, then no good would ever come of it; Fraction and Zdarsky know this. To be honest, If I had had Jonathan's powers, I fully expect I would have run across both creators "time-freeze-style" over at the Adult Store on State St...a quick nod of acknowledgement, a brief "Sup" and we'd be about our business. It's refreshing to actually see what drives youth and no amount of abstinence only education (I use the term "education" loosely) will ever erase or conceal that.
Every moment of Fraction's dialogue rings true. The time spent with Jon and Suzie's heartfelt conversation in the bedroom is so tender, so fascinating I noticed I was smiling a warm, knowing smile. Then we get to "Cum World," both the adult store and what Jonathan calls his frozen time, and I don't know whether it is Fraction or Zdarsky or both, but I was cracking up over every aspect of the adult store's posters and movie titles. The ridiculous thing is that many of the awesome bits in the background are not that far from the truth seeing as how I worked at a music store with an impressive amount of adult videos--Edward Penishands...I kid you not, denizens. Also..."porn in the woods???" How did Fraction know???
Zdarsky's art continues to slay me with this issue and I hope, hope, hope he posts either a video or reveals some of his process in the letters column as I would love to see how he comes up with these final pages. They are gorgeous. The character designs are amazing and he perfectly captures the terrible, bone-crushing awkwardness that is adolescence (I'm looking at Jonathan as a teen and as an adult and comparing him to myself here...<brrrrrr> so cold, so very, very cold) and shows how adulthood kind of smooths out the rough edges. The artwork stands on its own, but when Zdarsky adds his colors, especially the magical glows of "Cum World/The Quiet" it is something beautiful to behold.
No nitpicks from this Donist. Fraction and Zdarsky have something special here and I simply love this funny, risqué-yet-charming comic. Definitely not a book for kids (duh!), but definitely a book for us adult comic lovers. I cannot wait for what happens next! Oh, one more thought...get the issues for this one, as the letters column is looking to have some nutty and wild comments going on that will most likely not make it to the trade. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Fury Max: My War
Gone By Vol. 2
Fury MAX: My War Gone By Vol. 2 TPB - Written by Garth Ennis, illustrated by Goran Parlov, colored by Lee Loughridge, lettered by Rob Steen, published by Marvel Comics. Alrighty, if you haven't read the first trade, but intend to read it, then by all that is holy in guacamole, skip this mini-review, see what I have to say on the first trade here, and then get yourself a copy. Heck, you might as well buy both volumes denizens, trust me, they are worth the purchase and the read. Now that that is settled, did I like the second--and regrettably final--collection of the Fury MAX: My War Gone By series? Let's see: Garth Ennis, author of my favorite comic books series ever (Preacher...I wrote about it when I was but a wee Donist back in 2010 here) writes it; Goran Parlov continues as artist; the story centers on Nick Fury; the story itself is expertly told and is based around actual events. Well, if it's here on Donist World, then, yeah, I guess you could say I liked it.
Nick Fury has many wants: the girl, victory, the war. Guess what he chose. His decision has definitely not made him a happy man, but he only feels truly alive when willingly thrown into the midst of war; sometimes this realization sickens him, hence sitting alone in a hotel room with nothing but a bottle of bourbon, a gun and a recorder to keep him company. With such a devotion to war, you would expect Fury's longevity to err on the shorter side, but the man is a force of nature, a survivor, and will outlast everyone who has had the misfortune of loving him. In this volume, Fury's thirst for war will take him to Vietnam--with an assignment alongside  a man named Frank Castle--and finally to Nicaragua where he meets the horror show of a man named Barracuda.
As I said with the first trade, I have never really been a war comic guy. Yes, as a kid I loved the DC Weird War Tales books, but mostly because of the monsters and supernatural elements. Fury MAX is the book changed that. Now, I have Ennis's Complete Battlefields high on my want list and a hope to see the creators return to the character of Fury some day in the future.
Ennis gives each character their own distinct voice and personality to the point if you read a passage of dialogue on a blank page you would know who was speaking. He also predominantly focuses on dialogue to tell this story with the rarely seen caption boxes being the portions where Fury explains various situations into his recorder, but never once does any portion of the writing come across as exposition. Ennis also takes the guest-appearance/crossover--something I usually dislike--of a young Frank Castle and fits the character perfectly into Fury's world while making his appearance organic and crucial to the story being told.
Again, Parlov has some fantastic and intense action scenes, but it is the character moments where he shines. A look on a character's face tells you everything you need to know about what the character is experiencing emotionally, even when the character is attempting to conceal their feelings. Shirley, for instance, acts tough around Fury, but when his back is turned, or he has left the room, you see her pain and feel her heart breaking. Frank Castle is another matter. Parlov shows no emotion with him at all. Nothing. Zip. As tough a customer as the artist depicts Fury to be, the cold, calm Castle is unnerving in his devotion to the mission, the task at hand. Also of note is the amount of slight aging Parlov gives the characters with each chapter: lines appear on faces, bodies begin to sag, hair recedes.
So, yes, another war-themed comic centering on Nick Fury and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Actually, that's not completely true. Rather I could not put the book down. Fury MAX is harsh, and difficult to watch certain events unfold, and definitely some character interactions are cringeworthy, but not because they are poorly developed, but because they are done so damn well. This is a great comic that is oftentimes uncomfortable to read, yet is oftentimes eye-opening to the motivations and factors behind war. Ennis and Parlov have given us something great. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Pretty Deadly #1
Pretty Deadly #1 - Written by Kelly Sue Deconnick, illustrated by Emma Rios, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered by Clayton Cowles (hey, I know that guy!) , published by Image Comics. I had no idea what to expect from this title, but all it took was knowing the creators involved and this damn fine cover to bring me on board. I'm glad I took the plunge on what is the second supernatural Western on my pull list.
A blind gunman named Fox and a girl possessing differently colored eyes and dressed as a buzzard roll into a sleepy town to put on a show. They tell of a woman who caught Death's eye and of the child named Ginny born to them. It's a tragedy, but the town folk like it, including the lecherous sheriff who touches the buzzard girl, Sissy, in an improper manner. She in turn steals a small binder from him, that puts the sheriff at odds with a deadly woman named Alice, who in turn focuses her attention toward Sissy and Fox.
I'm not completely certain I understand what's happening in Pretty Deadly, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Reading Deconnick's words is like reading a grand fable where the moral is yet to come. It's poetry, really good poetry and I am eager to see what comes next when Ginny, Death's daughter, comes to right the wrongs of the world. Rios's art is stunning even before Bellaire's colors (I love the pinks and blues) take the gorgeous lines and bring the images to life. The character designs of Death, Fox, Sissy the vulture girl, and of course Ginny each caught my eye and gave me pause in my reading to fully absorb what i was seeing.
That's it. I'm in. Image Comics has done it again. The world and the mysterious characters who live there are all fascinating and leave me curious to know more about each person. Deconnick and Rios have created something magical that looks to hold both beauty and a cold malevolence. If what we see in this issue is any indication of what's to come, then I definitely cannot wait to see what follows. Buy this one, denizens. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Satellite Sam #4
Satellite Sam #4 - Written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Howard Chaykin, lettered by Ken Bruzenak, published by Image Comics. Huh, well would you lookie there...three killer Image titles, three comics from the Fraction/Deconnick household, and four comics that are not for the kiddies (there is a Marvel book referenced somewhere in this post, remember?), and I'll be darned if they aren't all amazing.
As Michael White and the lovely Kara Kelly continue to search for the women pictured in Michael's deceased father's impressive photo collection, the dealings both on and off the set of the popular television show Satellite Sam become increasingly dysfunctional. We have directors chasing skirts, studio execs battling the FCC, a wife of the studio exec sleeping with the FCC, and plenty of alcoholic urges, but the show must go on!--it just happens to be quite popular.
Fraction and Chaykin continue to bring this period piece to life at a slow pace, yet the story remains compelling. Fraction's dialogue is absolutely outstanding with each character having their own unique voice. Chaykin's storytelling and drama are cause to linger on each panel as there is just so much to take in and see. I'm still enjoying this series quite a bit, but I can see the creators are playing a long game, so I'm interested in rereading the first five or six issues again back-to-back. If you are looking for yet another great comic that has nothing to do with capes and tights, and would be fine with a well-written, beautifully illustrated '50s drama--like I am--then this is the book for you. RECOMMENDED!

Daredevil #32
Daredevil #32 - Written by Mark Waid, illustrated by Chris Samnee, colored by Javier Rodriguez, lettered by VC's Joe Caramagna, published by Marvel Comics. Oh...a superhero funny book somehow got mixed in with my smutty more-adult-oriented comic books this week. Whatchagonna do? When it's Daredevil by Waid and Samnee, the answer is that you're not gonna do a dang thing except enjoy the ride; it'll be a fun one. Don't believe me? Just take a gander at that cover.
Someone (the Jester) is trying to mess with Matt Murdcock (Daredevil) as he investigates just how deep the racist organization known as the Sons of the Serpent has engrained itself into New York's justice system. However, a criminal mastermind the Jester ain't. Foggy helps Matt find a clue as to the Sons' origins that leads him to a mystically inclined friend's house and finally to terror of a land known as...Stone Hills, Kentucky.
Okay, I'm a bit behind on things, but are the monsters on the cover an actual group called the "Legion of Monsters" or something? I kind of remember that being a series at one point, but it's not one I ever read. That's okay, the grouping of a zombie, mummy, werewolf (yay, Jack Russell), a Frankenstein monster and a vampiress/demoness in a revealing getup had my interests right away. Even more so was Daredevil's interaction with Dr. Strange, which tells me two things: Waid needs to write a Dr. Strange series/mini, because it's apparent he would excel at it; Samnee needs to illustrate a Dr. Strange comic with Javier Rodriguez coloring, as these two have the look of the character and his environment down. As you're reading this particular issue, you might be thinking that the whole premise of Daredevil meeting with the Legion of Monsters is a bit hokey, but if that is the case, then just remember that you are reading a comic book about a blind lawyer who goes around beating the bejesus out of elaborately costumed criminals and the leap isn't really all that far. Daredevil continues to be one of Marvel's best offerings and one you should be's a link to the first four trades...get to it! RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

I'm Still Upset About the Opposition to Health Care For All (ACA) - Just this week a very kind coworker--as well as a few others--was fired, and I won't be seeing her around any more, which is kind of a bummer as she was always a pleasure to talk to and Tulip simply adored her. She never outright told me, but I had heard her husband is not doing well--you know, cancer. The thing is, being employed she had access to insurance which I'm assuming is what she used to cover her spouse since he is unable to work, but now that she has lost her job (companies are definitely NOT people, my friends), without the ACA and once COBRA ran out, she and her husband would be shit out of luck. Thankfully, with the ACA, she will have a chance of helping the one she loves without being completely financially ruined by the screwed up insurance/medical industry. This is good, but the ACA could have been so much more. I am glad, however, that the ACA looks to be able to help people with job mobility as they will not necessarily have to stay working at jobs they hate...maybe that's where some of the opposition came from. I will miss working with her, and wish her and her husband well.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/18/2013

(Sung to the tune of Kenny Loggins's "Danger Zone")

Fillin' you with tension
Many new books a floodin' oh no
Here's some I should mention
Beggin' you to read let's go

You must read The Upturned Stone
After dark when you are all alone

Readin' you some Hawkeye
The Sixth Gun will set you right
Animal Man oh what the heck
Books kickin' into overdrive

You must read The Upturned Stone
After dark when you are all alone

Hello all you happy people. You know what? I'm Donist and I'm joined, as ever, by Donist World CFO Obie (my friends' Boston terrier) and by Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/take-it-to-the-MAXimizer Tulip (my dog and Obie's sister). This week, we've been kicking things into high gear around my mom's basement the corporate offices as we prepare to embark on a couple new projects and do whatever it takes to guarantee our standing as a Fortune 320,000 company (No, Billy-Bob's Chicken Feed Emporium, you will not kick us down to position 320,001, ya dawg gone idjits!). Now that I've worked my way through the coffee withdrawals we are focusing on the endorphin rush of this spicy-as-all-heck salsa Amy, the Donist World intern ( wife) made to take us to the Xtreme. Now, sweatin' like a Tasmanian devil playing dodgeball on hot asphalt, we are pumped, we are happy, we are...gonna go eat some more of that diabolical salsa that hurts so good. Anyhow, while Obie heads out to get more chips (from Mom's kitchen cupboard) take a peek at one of the best things I have read...ever! It's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Upturned Stone
The Upturned Stone HC - Everythinged by Scott Hampton, lettered by Tracy Hampton-Munsey, published by Heavy Metal/Kitchen Sink.  When was the last time you read an older book and upon finishing wondered how you could have gone for so long deprived of the experience you just had? For me, it was two nights ago with Scott Hampton's The Upturned Stone. This 64-page graphic novella was originally printed in a 1993 issue (or issues?) of Heavy Metal Magazine, and was collected into its own hardcover by Heavy Metal/Kitchen Sink. As far as I can tell, this book is out of print, but both (marketplace vendors) and are selling copies of the $14.95 retail book for $29.99 and up. I'm going to let you all in on a little secret...if you click on the link or the cover of the book to the left, then you will be taken to the Heavy Metal website where they are selling copies for $5.00 plus $4.00 shipping (if that is the only other item you buy). $9.00, denizens. You can't beat that price for a 20-year-old book that is now one of my favorite graphic novels of all time; it's also a perfect read since Halloween is creeping up.
It's 1969 and Pete's mom has tasked him with bringing home the largest pumpkin $2 can buy. When Pete's friends--George, Dave, and Mark--mention to him that the biggest pumpkin in existence can be found for free, not too far from where they live, the boys can't help but investigate. They soon find themselves in a North Carolina cemetery, where they indeed find the grandaddy of all pumpkins, but it is growing from the grave of a unknown boy who was found dead and buried in the woods; it was an unsolved case and quite the local legend. After much worrying over bad luck and haunted vegetables, the boys agree to take the pumpkin. Pete's mom is overjoyed and the boys have a grand time trick or treating in the neighborhood. When they return back to the house, Pete's mom has a surprise for them...pumpkin pie. That's when everything starts to get weird and a sequence of events unravels that will change their lives forever.
Again, I need to stress just how much I loved this story. Hampton's beautifully painted art is both reminiscent of what I have seen from Jon J. Muth (Moonshadow) and Kent Williams (Blood: A Tale), yet is very much its own style. It is gorgeous, and dark, and ethereal with every expression perfectly captured depending on the scene; hesitance has never felt so real, and the fear is completely tangible. Hampton also paints one of the best pumpkins I have ever seen with a burnt orange pushed to the forefront of the panel by the deep earthy-toned background. I do not want to spoil anything, but the imagery of the woods and the ancient house (both inside and out) gave me the willies; I could practically feel the cool crisp wind whipping about as well as hear every creak of the ancient home settling, all while turning up my nose at the musty smell contained within. <brrrrrr>
As visually stunning as the artwork is on its own, Hampton's story is everything I could ever hope for in a spooky tale ripe for a late night campfire reading. Each boy is fully developed, especially Mark--such a screwed up life--and every bit of their dialogue and their actions rings so very true for kids that age. Pete's narration is equally compelling and I was wholly onboard after finishing page one. I will admit to fretting that the story would not stick the ending, but I have never been so happy to be wrong. I had no idea where the story was going and near the end, things began to move fast with the epilogue closing out the story perfectly; hell, three days later and I'm still thinking about this book. Truth be told, I don't have a single nitpick of this amazing graphic novella outside of availability issues.
The Upturned Stone is going on my favorite shelf, right where I can always see it. I want to easily be able to pull it down to read this time next year, or possibly even sooner. If you are a fan of horror stories, not that blood and guts nonsense, but intelligent, well-told tales that will hopefully affect you as much as this book affected me, then you cannot go wrong with The Upturned Stone. If it helps, think of this as an exceptionally spooky twist on Stand By Me. This is one to own, denizens. I would suggest ordering quickly as who knows what quantities remain at Heavy Metal, but there is another out-of-print option called Spookhouse Vol. 1 to get The Upturned Stone story plus additional art by Hampton that I is now on my "must find" list. Still don't believe me? Then take a gander at this sample, from a Comic Book Resources article by Brian Cronin that contains the first 22 pages. I also read on wikipedia that the story/screenplay was optioned twice, but nothing has come of it yet; here's to hoping. Better (two-decades) late than never, this graphic novella is a wonderful surprise. I couldn't be more pleased. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Hawkeye #13
Hawkeye #13 - Written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by David Aja, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Chris Eliopoulos, published by Marvel Comics. Okay, on to the monthly(ish) comics, or let's just call it this week's new comics as I believe the last time we saw my favorite Marvel title was back in July...three months ago. Don't worry, denizens, I'm no hater. I'll gladly sit back and wait--I have twelve older issues and an annual to pass the time. However, I will admit that seeing Hawkeye pop up on my Comixology Pull List app every single week prior to this only to have it vanish each Tuesday stung, but whatchagonnado...we have it now.
This issue fills the gaps from the annual, the Pizza Dog issue, the Barney Barton issue and the issue that saw Clint's tenant and friend, Grills, murdered by the tracksuit Draculas' assassin. Clint also finally learns Grills was killed and takes it on himself to inform his friend's father of the man's passing. Can he shed the guilt of bringing this predicament to his tenants' doorstep, and decide how to stop the gangsters once and for all?
There is no action/fighting/confrontation in this installment. Not once do we see Clint (or Barney for that matter) throw a punch or fire an arrow. We are also better for it. Fraction and Aja continue to bring a human element to the character of Hawkeye that is incredibly touching (the scene with Grills's father) and at times relatable as we watch Clint barely coping after his string of being beat down both emotionally and physically. Fraction also gives us a painfully frank moment between Kate Bishop and Clint that shows just how much he takes her for granted. The scene also solidifies in her character what happens when she sheds her tough, sarcastic facade to put her heart and emotions on the line; it's brutal.
With this issue, Aja goes with a strict nine-panel grid layout and does not once detract from this style, which is good as this layout works exceptionally well for each of the character moments this issue needs. Doing this allows Aja to focus on the needed facial expressions and the body language to drive the impact of the scene. Clint's slumped shoulders as Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman) walks by standing tall, refusing to acknowledge the man, clearly tells anyone looking at this one single page the following: these two had some sort of involvement, Clint was the one who screwed up, Jessica has not forgiven him. Aja gives this level of attention to every panel in the book and it is precisely what draws me to his work. I also love his inking style of slightly thicker outlines on his characters with a finer line on the details. When you add Hollingsworth's phenomenal color palette you have pages I wish were hanging on every wall of my house.
So, yes, a three-month wait for talking and emotions and stuff was well worth it. Heck, if this was all Fraction and Aja gave us with this series I would cheerfully grab up each and every issue and reread them as often as I could. I'm still pissed that Grills was killed, and I will say that I am ready for Clint Barton to win a hand or two and give these tracksuit-wearing a-holes the smack down they deserve. Hawkeye is still the best Marvel book seeing release. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Sixth Gun #35
The Sixth Gun #35 - Written by Cullen Bunn, illustrated by Brian Hurtt, colored by Bill Crabtree, lettered by Ed Brisson, published by Oni Press. The "Ghost Dance" chapter comes to a close and Becky Montcrief will never be the same. Then again, being in contact with four of the six guns will damn well insure that Drake Sinclair will never be the same again either. With the Skinwalkers defeated and Missy Hume and her forces on the run, what happens when Griselda, the Grey Witch and Missy's mother-in-law, demands answers for the failure to bring her the prize of the sixth gun?
This was an exciting issue with a startling ending that I'm not completely sure I yet believe. With Bunn and Hurtt's amazing supernatural Western you can never be sure, what's coming next, but you can count on it being grand as is the case with the "Ghost Dance" storyline. Bunn's dialogue and captions consistently ring true and the confrontation between Becky and her potential self is a fascinating part of this issue. Hurtt and Crabtree's sequence with Nahuel, Nidawi, Gord, Asher, Kirby and Screaming Crow (I love, love, love that a major character is an immensely powerful shrunken head) fighting Missy's evil forces in the rain, especially when Nahuel takes on the Skinwalker leader are intense, exciting and had me cheering for these fantastic characters.
The Sixth Gun is a series I have loved since the beginning--okay, near the beginning as I bought the first trade and then went issue-to-issue--and it remains one of the best comics on the stand. There's a reason why this series has been bouncing around for a possible television series (please, please, please...if done right). If you are behind on this title, it is readily available in trade format with a hardcover becoming available in that I will be double-dipping on for sure. Great art, great characters, a compelling and unique story, The Sixth Gun is a fun read and something you will gladly revisit often. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Animal Man #24
Animal Man #24 - Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque, colored by Dave McCaig, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, published by DC Comics. Daaaannggggg, denizens. Stuff be gettin' all real up in the Red. Totems fraggin' Totems, Brother Blood putting the smack down on the Parliament of Limbs, Maxine running for her life, and a bunch of Red Skull skinless bastiches wanting to serve up Animal Man's head on a plate. Yup, Buddy Baker is having one heck of a bad day, but, hey, at least he and his wife are speaking again...there is that.
Albuquerque steps in for Mike Pugh on this issue and his particular style is perfect for this not-quite-yet-almost-a-Vertigo-title title, especially when showing the Parliament of Limbs and the betraying Totem. The heavy inks are perfectly tailored to the look of the Red and McCaig's crimson colored backgrounds with mostly warm colors on all of the characters creates a tense, hostile world. Albuquerque's Totems are also just plain scary.
I like that Lemire has reunited Buddy with Ellen as this horror title (let's call it what it is and I'm glad for it) has been about family from the beginning, which is what makes Buddy such an endearing and interesting character. Lemire has always been a writer who was able to thaw my grumpy frozen heart through his creator-owned work, and I'm glad that he is able to do the same with his superhero book as well.
To be perfectly honest, the Rot World "event" almost pushed me out the door. But when Lemire is allowed to tell his story outside of the confines of crossovers and what have you, the results are noticeable. Don't get me wrong, Rot World was fine--it was definitely no "event that shall not be named"--but the creators shine when the human aspect and the horror aspect of the story merge into something compelling. Now that we are two years in, I'm happy to say I am still enjoying Animal Man and I'm excited to see what happens next. RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

The Government Shutdown Is Over!!! For a Month or Two?! - Yeah, not really a cause for celebration as the ones who shutdown the government in the first place are only going to do it again in the next few months. It's kind of a "Yay, they released the hostages" situation. Yes, it's good things are up and running again, but this should not have happened in the first place. Man, I wonder how much in "campaign contributions" have been funneled into the Tea-D-Baggers' coffers. Their attempts to defund the Affordable Care Act directly impacts many of the work-for-hire creators listed above who don't have a spouse who can include them on their (overly expensive) medical plan. How many of the individuals who we all know and love and whose works we wish to keep enjoying are but one medical emergency away from financial ruin? I hope Bill Mantlo (you know, creator of The Micronauts, Rom, TONS of other great comics, and co-creator of the soon-to-be-movie-star Rocket Racoon) is able to receive assistance through the ACA now that it is up and running. These Tea-D-Baggers need to be voted out of office at the very least.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/11/2013

(Sung to the tune of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger")

Risin' up, off of the couch
It's Wednesday, it's new comics
What should you buy? Well we got some ideas
Of some books that will thrill, in you dive

These books totes rock, they're over too fast
But you can expect lottsa glory
Let's take a trip with a glimpse of the past
Chews the one that returns Toni to life

Then there's Rachel Rising, that little kid's got a knife
Thor steps up to challenge a dark elf rival
Time travel cop, Rocket Girl, beats up cops on the street
And When Batman punches Red Hood in the eye, best get it, tiger

Hello there, Donist World denizens, and welcome back. If this is your first time stopping by then welcome. Pull up a beanbag chair, grab a cup of coffee and relax. I won't be having any coffee, since I quit this past Monday. Don't be alarmed if I seem to have a case of the irritables, that's just a side effect of the piercing headache and the feeling of icepicks digging behind my eyes that're making me grumpy-wumpy. It'll subside. Now...sit...down. There, that's better right? Say it's better, dagnabbit. Anyways, I'm NOT joined this week by Donist World CFO Obie (my friends Boston terrier) and Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/coffee withholder Tulip (Obie's sister and my dog) as they are nowhere to be found. Where are my loyal employees? No idea, probably hiding in fear of my having another coffee rage, but like I said, it'll subside. Any day now it'll subside, yes, it'll subside. Anyhow, I have been quite productive over the past week as I sent off my first novel to a publisher who takes blind submissions for sci-fi and fantasy novels, which I mailed on my birthday, and I finished the polish on my second novel and have to consider the next steps. I'm pretty proud of it all and I'm eager to start my next book, as well as hit up some artists to illustrate some comic scripts so I can begin posting some stories here on Donist World. Man, I want some coffee. Hey, when using my Donist Vision (binoculars) I can see Tulip and Obie out at the park and it looks looks like...they're drinking cappuccinos... <grrrrrrrr> Okay, while I go steal a sip of coffee from the dogs, have a look at this week's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Chew #37
Chew #37 - Written and lettered by John Layman, drawn and colored by Rob Guillory, color assists by Taylor Wells, published by Image Comics. Okay, I'm not going to  bemoan the fact that Chew is 61.667% over. Nope, been doing that for a while is what it is. Instead, let's celebrate yet another grand issue that continues the trend of making me laugh, wince in disgust, come to various conclusions, and dare I say almost shed a tear. If The Walking Dead is the first book to put Image Comics back on the map in 2003, Chew is the the second title to do so back in 2009. In the past two years, Image Comics is exploding with "must read" titles, but the good news, denizens, is that Chew continues to be a strong title in Image's stable and a heck of a lot of fun to boot.
Agent Colby has a date with a very high-profile inmate at the FDA Supermax Food Prison: Mason Savoy. Even after the beating Colby gave Savoy a few issues back, the two have much to discuss. Meanwhile, Tony Chu prepares to sample the toe of his dead sister, Toni, so that his cibopathic powers will tell him everything that she saw before her death. The odd thing about Toni is that she had the ability to predict the future of anything (or anyone) she ate or tasted; she knew both how and when she was going to die. The even more odd thing is that when someone who can see the past consumes a portion of someone who can see the future (and has accepted their fate), an interesting method of communication can be established. In this issue we are also introduced to a new food based power, the eroscibopictaros <giggle>, but you'll have to read this issue to know <giggle> what that's all about.
Man, there's a lot of storylines and plot points floating around for this title and only 23 <sniffle> issues remaining. We have the following and possibly more: the ban on chicken because of the bird flu, the space writing, the vampire(ish) cibopath, Colby's love life (dude...just...dude), chogs, chicken flavored space fruit, corruption in the FDA(?), Savoy's motivations, Poyo (who rules!), and one more thing...what can it be?...oh yeah, revenge, sweet revenge. I'm not worried though, I'm positive all will be answered, we'll get there.
Layman and Guillory have come up with a creative use of the main characters' food based abilities that I never saw coming. Through Guillory's fantastic drawings and color, the experience of Toni speaking to Tony post-mortem is both striking and well within the boundaries of Chew's world. It is especially fascinating to see Tony experiencing his sister's memories per the normal capacity of his ability (as seen through a jumble of many yellow-colored tiles), but when his vision goes from yellow fragments to a unified orange image of Toni we know something important is going to happen. It does. The double-page spread following the sequence is startling and actually caused me to gasp and utter a Keanu Reeves-style "whoa." The drama and action scenes flow perfectly and Guillory's storytelling never pulls you out of the story with the above mentioned sequence being a highlight of the issue.
Yup, I'm still loving this book. Layman and Guillory's Chew continues to be the most unique comic on the stands, yet remains one of the best. I upgraded to hardcover editions on this one--I love it that much--but there are plenty of inexpensive trades (start from the beginning, young denizens, start from the beginning) that will bring you up to date on one of Image Comic's sparkling jewels. Just remember...eroscibopictaros <giggle>. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Rocket Girl #1
Rocket Girl #1 - Written by Brandon Montclare, illustrated by Amy Reeder, published by Image Comics. Ahhh...Kickstarter. I love least some of the times I do. Take for instance the second Kickstarter (the first being for the wonderful Halloween Eve, review here) from Montclare and Reeder. With Rocket Girl, I received a signed and numbered copy of the book (59/100 actually), a Halloween Eve bookmark, and a double-sided Rocket Girl print. With this particular book, the creators were actually picked up by Image midway through the Kickstarter campaign, so noow everyone can get a hold of one heck of a darn fine comic book.
Dayoung Johansson is a 15-year-old cop from the not-so-distant future of 2013 (you read that right), who has time traveled back to the year 1986 to investigate crimes against time. Then she faints. Unfortunately, the scientists of Quintum Mechanics don't quite know what to make of the girl with the rocket pack who desires to uphold the law regardless of what year she happens to be visiting. Plus, for a 15-year-old, she sure knows how to handle herself, if only she can save her new scientist friends from their latest invention, the Q-Engine.
Criminy, that was a lot of fun. Before I even began to read this comic, I was blown away by the vibrant colors accentuating Reeder's lovely cartooning. The story itself is fairly lighthearted and upbeat, with a hint of something more menacing beneath. The creators' vision of the future (2013 according to page 3) with kids running the show is interesting and something I look forward to exploring more in the next few issues. The action works well and is easy to follow with some exciting scenes of Rocket Girl flying through the sky. The character designs are also beautiful, especially Dayoung and her cool costume, and Montclare's dialogue and captions all ring true with each character having their own voice. The one thing that pulled me out of the story was the lettering where caption boxes and word balloons had far too much empty space or the words were not centered...but I'm particular about those kinds of things. <If y'all need a letterer, let me know!>
Sure enough, Image has yet another really good comic to add to their roster. As far as I can tell, this is an all-ages comic book series; if you don't mind shit like the occasional swear word. Rocket Girl is bright, it is fun, it is exciting, it is everything we tend to forget comics can be. Pick it up. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising #20
Rachel Rising #20 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. This comic is always over way too soon, denizens. Which kind of makes sense given that there are only 18 pages of actual material. But you know what? I don't care. Yes, I would love to have the good ol' days of 24-page comics, but with Rachel Rising, so much is packed into each page that this comic is well worth the price of admission.
In this issue, Zoe and the priest talk about her new friend "Jack" and some of "Jack's" history, which is creepy as all get out. Jet/James wakes up after being poisoned by Carol, and we already know that Rachel/Bryn Erin is awake--in more ways than one--but Carol and Aunt Johnny barely have their souls clinging to them. Thankfully, Rachel/Bryn Erin has a plan to save one of them, but that plan unfortunately involves the family dog...uh-oh. Finally, Zoe let's on that she knows who the priest really is, and that she knows what he has in store for her; she expresses her disproval.
I don't believe I've ever seen such a stone cold killer as Zoe Mann. Moore expertly draws a little girl with pigtails busily working at her arts and crafts at a table out in the cold, only the project she is working on is "Jack" her special knife. She calmly, methodically files the knife to her liking as she explains her rationale for doing so, and the whole sequence is unnerving. The priest is equally disturbing as he practically drips with malevolence in one panel and the next gives a brief smile that contains both wisdom and his approval of what Zoe is doing.'s three pages of total creepsville, and Moore's dialogue only makes the scene more tense. The priest's explanation of "Jack's" history doesn't help matters, but it is rather clever. Moore is a master of drama as can be seen in the pages where James awakens in Jet's body, and his/her ensuing panic is all too believable, and a bit comical. The bird's eye view of Carol and Aunt Johnny dead on the floor is striking and a cool use of perspective that throws you off balance before bringing you back in with points of view.
I've said it once (or rather 19 other times) and I'll say it again: I love this horror comic. It has Moore's signature art, wit, storytelling, drama and action, while showing the creator has no problem jumping from one genre to the next for each series. If you are looking for a grossout fest, then this is not the title for you--that last page though is kinda close--but if you are looking for a well-told, beautifully illustrated story with a foot in the horror realm, then this is the comic you've been waiting for. So very good. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Thor God of
Thunder #14
Thor God of Thunder #14 - Written by Jason Aaron, art by Ron Garney, colored by Ive Svorcina, lettered by VC's Joe Sabino, published by Marvel Comics. Yup, I still love this comic. Even though the great "God Butcher" 11-issue arc is over, I am definitely enjoying this storyline. Then again, the Walt Simonson The Mighty Thor issues with Malekith were ones that I can still picture reading on the couch as a kid a couple decades ago. Today, Aaron's take on the evil dark elf brings me right back to that happy time.
The queen of the dark elves seeks refuge with the ever-crude dwarves, for Malekith wishes her dead. Meanwhile, a light elf, a dwarf, a troll, a giant, a dark elf, and an Asgardian (Thor) all walk into a grove--no this is not the beginning of a joke--and agree to travel as the League of Realms to aid the dark elf queen. The League is an impressive group, but are they enough to stop Malekith's murderous rampage?
Despite the seriousness of the story, Aaron infuses much humor into this issue, mostly where the dwarves are concerned. He expertly teeters on the edge of going too far to show just how vile and blunt the dwarves can be. But when he needs the story to be serious, the shift comes fast. Garney's illustrations are phenomenal. Whether he is showcasing the character designs of the League of Realms, or depicting an intense sword fight, you can't help but be pulled into the moment. I especially love the page where we start from afar, come in closer, and then watch Thor smash through the Dwarven gates. Garney is the perfect artist to pick up after Esad Ribic's fantastic run. A brighter color palette from Svorcina shows that we are no longer in the cool blue of space like in the previous arc, but in the lush green of an actual world. His command of color to push backgrounds back and bring characters to the forefront is without compare.
With only two issues into "The Accursed" storyline, much is possible and I'm certain we're in for a wild ride. If you did not read the past 12 issues (and you should have read them, by golly), then you can easily use the previous issue as a jumping on point and have no problems in following what's going on. I will definitely say that this book is worth picking up as Aaron's Thor God of Thunder succeeded in bringing this decades lapsed Thor reader back into the fold. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batman #24
Batman #24 - Written by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Greg Capullo, inked by Danny Miki, colored by FCO Plascencia, lettered by Nick Napolitano, published by DC Comics. When I first picked up this issue I almost dropped it. I wasn't expecting the extra heft from all of the additional pages contained within. Then I saw the $6.99 price tag. I stroked my chin as I bit the inside of my cheek and I studied the cover. No 3D cover, no 24.1 or 24.234 for the issue#, the creators are listed clearly on the front and they are who I wish to read (Batman is only as good as the creators working on him), and otherwise nothing out of the ordinary listed. After I read the book, there were no backup stories and no tie-ins to an event, no previews for something else. Huh...fancy that, a more than double-sized book that was everything I wanted to see that was not a money grab gimmick. Thanks DC Comics...I'm sure the creators pushed for this after last month's volley of interruptions, but someone from up high had to let it fly; I'm glad they did.
Batman is here. Bruce Wayne has finally made his appearance as the Batman and the Red Hood Gang have no idea what to make of him. But when Bruce uncovers the mysterious leader's master plan, it's going to take both of his personas to put an end to the Red Hood's evil scheme. Just when you think the terror is over, a new villain emerges to usher in the second half of Zero Year, a mysterious...forget it, it's the Riddler. The Riddler's the next baddie, but that should have been clear from the previous issues and last month's villain's book starring, surprise-surprise, the Riddler.
One thing I notice while just flipping through Batman #24 is that there was a ton of words on many pages; man there are a lot of words. That said, after reading the whole issue, Snyder's sentences blended into the art. I was so engaged from beginning to end that at no time did the words seem like heavy-handed exposition or fall into the pattern many of my beloved Bronze Age comics did (You know, "Red Hood's firing a gun at me! I must dodge the bullet aimed at my heart, but I must first leap this rail!!!" with the art showing exactly what was stated). Snyder is a damn fine writer and everything flows perfectly, making the experience deeply immersive through to the end while providing both history and characterization.
Capullo continues to be just tremendous on this series. His sequential storytelling is without equal with every single page being a delight to see. The acting and settings have never been stronger, but it was the insane chaos of the action that is the huge draw this month, and although justifiably wordy in parts, Synder knows when to let the art do the talking and Capullo shines. Of equal importance on this issue are Miki's tight, precise inks and Plascencia's gorgeous colors which push the emotions of each scene with contrasting warm and cool colors moving the story forward. My favorite page is the splash page looking up from the bottom of the tank at the Red Hood, floating in the green liquid that will give rise to his next incarnation. Even the final ten pages of this issue were great, where James Tynion IV joins Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque takes over for Capullo, but it was a startling shift from the previous 43 pages
This issue is beautiful in all regards and a fine end to the first half of "Zero Year." You get 54 pages of comic book greatness at a $6.99 price, as well as nothing but the story Snyder and Capullo wish to tell, so again, thank you DC for allowing this book to happen. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Gravity (the Movie) - Okay, Donist World denizens, if you haven't already seen Gravity, I'm giving you permission to call in sick today. I want you to call in sick (give a couple coughs while you're at it),  head out to a nice lunch (far away from your work...I'm just sayin'), have a delicious beer, and go see Gravity. No, no, you need to do this, not just for me, but because you owe it to yourself to go see it. You deserve a day off to do something awesome. I'm not going to review this movie, I don't have the proper words, but just know that every aspect of this film was magic: the cinematography, the sound, the actors, everything. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock are phenomenal in this movie, and you can expect to be properly thrilled from beginning to end. Dang, now I want to call in sick and see it again, this time preferably without the moronic "new age traveler" couple having their stupid, moronic fight during the first half. Gravity is one of my all-time favorite movies, period. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

I'm Missing Out - I am missing both the New York Comic Con and the Great American Beer Festival, both of which are going on right now. Oh the pain, the pain. Two of the best things in the world are happening and I am attending neither. Instead, I will be having a signing (checks to pay various bills) and doing a tasting (of water and bread as I sit glumly in my cubicle). I wish all my friends a good time at both events and I await the day that comics and beer finally marry into one convention here on the West Coast...nothing would stop me from going to that. <sigh> Shit.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/4/2013

(Sung to the tune of Stan Bush's "You Got the Touch")

You got good books, you got the Power!

After all is said and done, Lazarus rules
It's hella fun, it's a winner
Trillium grooves, it hits the beats
Time lost love, it's got heat, it's pretty darn cool

Don't stop to rest this here art's got the stuff
Pope done gives you his best, Haggard's death sure is rough

You got good books, you got the Power!

<PETWEEEEEEET> That, denizens--in case you could not tell by my awesome sound effect, is a party blower as trumpeted by Donist World CFO Obie (my friends' Boston terrier) and Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/pancake tester Tulip (my dog and Obie's sister). The reason for the festivities, is that I am celebrating my 17th 26th birthday <PETWEEEEEEET>. Uh...thank you, Obie, now knock it off. Anyhow, my actual birthday is on the 5th, but why not start the festivities early and end them late, like on Wednesday or something? Gosh darn it, let's get this party started. Oh my, lookee there, Tulip gave me a bottle of Stone's Sublimely Self Righteous Ale and the second trade of Fury MAX. Awww...thank you, little puppy, you shouldn't have, but I'm glad you did. Oh! Obie, too! Okay, let's see, what do we have here...a monstrous bag of Acana Pacifica All-Fish Kibble, a rubber chicken squeakie toy, and a travel and expense report for reimbursement for his expenses...umm...thanks? While I figure out what to do with Obie's gifts that keep on giving--to Obie--have a <PETWEEEEET> look at this week's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

Lazarus #4
Lazarus #4 - Written by Greg Rucka, illustrated and lettered by Michael Lark with assists by Brian Level, colored by Santi Arcas, published by Image Comics. Oh...what do you know...another tremendously amazing Image title...<yawn>...whatever happened to the collector's coverpocalypse of the '90s when titles were super late, deconstructed to the point of obnoxiousness, and loaded with T&A shots to conceal the fact that there was really no story? Just kidding, denizens, I am glad those days are gone--gosh darn that time sucked. Now, finding a well-told, visually stunning story is no longer like finding a needle in comic stack. Heck, if you threw a rock at an Image Comics spinner rack, you can't help but hit something that's at the worst decent, and at the best...well...Saga, Chew, East of West, Satellite Sam, Sex, Sex Criminals or this week's Lazarus (those are just my favorites, there's plenty of other really good offerings, too). As comic readers we should celebrate this Image Comics explosion of great creator-owned works of art. I win, you win, the creators win, Image wins, the industry shifts (huge win), and the only loser in this equation is your bruised and beaten wallet. I can live with that.
Dr. James Mann and Dr. Bethany Carlyle are concerned. Forever Carlyle, the nearly unstoppable Family Carlyle protector or Lazarus as she is called, has not moved for quite some time. Then her vitals go completely haywire, and the only logical conclusion the computer system's readout can confirm is that Forever has been attacked. She has. Thanks to Forever's duplicitous siblings, Jonah and Johanna, she and the Lazarus from the Family Morray, Joacquim, were almost destroyed. As far as Forever and Joacquim are concerned, some heads are going to roll.
For the majority of this issue, I was in a state of shock. Compared to a certain high-profile comic book television show that aired this past Tuesday, this is how action is done right. Rucka and Lark take a relatively calm moment and punch it into high gear. Through Lark's letters and Arcas's gorgeous color shift, the creators have the calm of a computer room visually change to a calamitous emergency of alarms and "code red" immediacy that immediately pulled me into the book and got my heart pumping. Then we cut to Forever. It's calm. The attack has already happened, at least the first wave has. But the tension builds. The enemy is coming, she's healing, but will she heal in time. When things look the most grim...we cut to a scene with Johanna and we calm again. This escalate, deescalate, escalate storytelling continues through to the end of the book in a The Pixies loud-quiet-loud sort of way that refuses to let you go. With the intensity of this issue and the tremendous stakes involved, there was nothing that was going to tear me away until I finished reading. When I did finish, I was still pumped and had to literally get up and walk around and proclaim to my wife (Amy, the Donist World intern) how awesome this issue was. She smiled and told me to water the plants...she hasn't read Lazarus yet. All of this said, writing an action scene is difficult, but the creators here know what they are doing. They know when to begin and when to cut a scene, which is what made the action scenes of this actual comic book so much more engaging than the action in the high-profile comic book show that steadily lost my interest.
Everything in this issue hit its mark dead on. The dialogue and story flowed seamlessly with each individual having their own voice and personality, even down to the serf scrub who saw his debut--and also his grisly demise--in this issue. Lark's art and storytelling is equally flawless. One moment we get intense action that leaves our heart racing and the next we relax a little until the drama and emotion involved in a scene continues to keep us on guard and off balance. Arcas also keeps us off balance as we jump from red (computer room) to purple (Forever and Joacquim's battle) to yellow (Johanna's decision) and finally to blue (Jonah watching his plan completely fail); his colors succeed in compounding, and also relaxing, the intensity of the story with each harsh cut to a new scene. The issue itself works on every level.
The thing about Rucka and Lark's Lazarus is that even when you finish the issue, you're still not off the hook. In the margin of the letters column, we have a timeline that bridges the gap of today's world and the world of Lazarus. These revelations are terrifying in their cold "history" lesson breakdown, to the point that when you actually think about it, the progression of events is not all that far-fetched and is well within the realm of possibility. <bbbrrrrrrr>. So, if you are fine reading an emotional roller coaster of a sci-fi comic book title that will get you thinking--and possibly worrying--about the future, then this is the book for you. It's also one hell of a damn fine read. A trade of the first four issues releases in the next week or two, but I am unsure if the timeline I mentioned will be included. If not, then scaring up the individual issues is definitely the way to go. I love this book. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Trillimu #3
Trillium #3 - Everythinged (almost) by Jeff Lemire, colored by José Villarubia, lettered by Carlos M Mangual, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint. I'm still enjoying Lemire's Trillium quite a bit. If you've read any of Lemire's creator-owned work (and you really, really should: Essex County, Sweet Tooth, Underwater Welder, etc.) you know you can expect a story that will resonate emotionally, one that rings true. It matters little whether you're reading about a kid in his back yard pretending to be a superhero, or a hybrid animal boy struggling to survive in a post apocalyptic world or experiencing a man's near magic realism struggle with the impending birth of his son, it'll probably end in tears...yours. Not quite at the halfway point, Trillium's story of time and star-crossed lovers looks to be more of the greatness I've come to expect from Lemire's stunning work.
Nika awakens upside down in a quantum bath and missing her hair, and we see a glimpse of her past when as a girl she was separated from her father as what's left of humanity flees the Earth (I think it's the Earth). Back in the past William meets the only other survivor of his recent expedition's slaughter. William wants to get Nika back after she disappeared into the temple. Nika wants to stop her people from raiding the alien culture in possession of the the trillium flower, which might be able to stop the Caul, an intergalactic, possibly-sentient virus set on destroying what is left of humanity. When events cause the temple (in both timelines) to reactivate, Nika and James are reunited, but unexpected results raise some problems.
Lemire is an excellent storyteller. His art and the situations he creates immediately pull you into his story and characters. For example, take page one, panel one of this issue, which tells a story in and of itself. The angry mob, the spaceships flying through the sky, the desperate terror on young Nika's mother and father's faces all tell you what you need to know. Lemire utilizes cool colors to drop the mob back and warm colors to pull the family forward to the desired effect of having the reader share this horrible moment, whatever it may be, along with Nika. You immediately both empathize with the character(s) and have a burning curiosity to know what the problem is. So it goes with a Lemire book, and again, this is page one, panel one of book three.
My one dislike of this issue is the fact that when the story jumps from Nika to William, you have turn the book around to read William's story, BUT from there you have to read the page and then flip the page to the left as opposed to the right, then turn the book back around when you jump back to Nina and proceed as normal. I honestly had no idea whether or not I was supposed to read William's portion from back to front (like a manga) and right to left, or if I had to start from the back/front and...criminy, I have no idea what I'm trying to describe, which should convey my initial confusion. I figured it out after a minute or two, but I did have a fear of accidentally reading the pages out of order (yes, denizens, I'm one of those types). I'm all for playing with format, as Snyder/Capullo did to fantastic effect with Batman #5it just didn't work as intended here. Confusing layout aside, Trillium continues to be a fascinating read with two characters I care about and desperately want to see come out of this story intact...this is a Lemire book though, so I fully expect to have my heart broken as I thank Lemire for doing so. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Invincible
Haggard West #101
The Invincible Haggard West #101 - Everythinged by Paul Pope, published by First Second. I hate to admit this, but my first experience with Mr. Pope's work happened quite recently and it was through Big Two superhero properties: Strange Tales, Batman Year 100. My initial reaction to reading those books was that I loved his style of art, which is a mixture of modern and classic (I know, that makes little sense), and that I felt like I was back in the '70s, reading my favorite Swamp Thing and Micronauts books. Then I started to see his work mentioned everywhere. Heavy Liquid, 100%, One Trick Rip-Off / Deep Cuts, and finally the soon to be released Battling Boy TPB; I got some stuff to buy.
The Invincible Haggard West is the first and last issue of a series that never existed (although I really, really, really wish it did), and is actually a one-shot comic book that serves as a prelude to next week's release of the Battling Boy TPB. In this exciting, spectacular issue, a gang of hooded mummy/monster men and their leader Sadisto attack a group of children playing in the street and attempt to spirit them away for their diabolical ends. In comes Haggard West to the rescue. He saves the boys and chases Sadisto, but little does he know it's all a clever trap to which he falls victim (not spoiling anything, have a look at the word thingies on the cover). At the funeral, Haggard's daughter receives the hero's prized ring, which holds an incredible secret.
Gorgeous art and a fast-paced story do the job of grabbing my attention and leaving me wanting more. I have no idea what Battling Boy has in store for us, but this weird semi-futuristic world is one I am eager to revisit. Whether we flashback to Haggard or move forward with his son (?...I think that is who Battling Boy is...we'll find out soon enough), I liked the Rocketeer/Buck Rogers-styled hero, the evil monsters, and the implied history of this now deceased hero. Pope's art is its own living thing and each panel flows fast yet gracefully from one to the next. Even his sound effects are a vital part of the scenery and action, with his predominantly flat coloring lending to the classic look and feel of the book.  The Invincible Haggard West is a exciting ride from beginning to end that reminds me of why I love comics.
If you are not familiar Pope's work, then this is one heck of a place to become acquainted with him. After this issue I will definitely be picking up Battling Boy as well as his other past titles. With the little exposure I have had, it looks like I have a lot of catching up to do; thank goodness for that. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Breaking Bad Has Ruined Television For Me - Don't worry, denizens, I'm not going to spoil anything here. This Monday we watched the series finale to Breaking Bad, and it was everything we hoped it would be. If you've been reading Donist World for any length of time, you will know I like a good story, world building, strong characters who make decisions, and that I want to exist in a world where creators can tell the story they wish to tell in the manner in which they wish to tell it. It doesn't matter if we are talking about novels, comic books, television, video games, or movies, we've all had that "WOW!" moment after finishing a good story; Breaking Bad is one of those "WOW!" moments.
"If that's the case, Donist, then what the hell are you griping about?!"
I'll tell you. Since completing Breaking Bad, we have watched three other television shows, all of which were good, but nothing even came close to that amazing series. I am an optimist, I'm sure another show/book that rides a high note for the entirety of its run will come along some day, and I will be eagerly awaiting that day. For now, though, nothing currently holds a candle to Breaking Bad. 

Federal Shut Down - What complete and utter T-Bags, sorry, D-Bags. Can't these assholes--who are still being paid, mind you--be investigated for some sort of conflict of interest in regard to shutting down the government? I'm sure there are at least hefty contributions to various members' campaigns for enacting the shut down in opposition to the ACA. I am 100% for the ACA and I am 100% fine having my taxes fund the program. I currently have no plans to use it, someday maybe, but not currently. I have health insurance through the day job, and I'm actually double insured through my wife's work; gawd knows my insurance saved my ass almost two years ago to the day. I am mostly thinking of the millions of Americans who are one medical catastrophe away becoming impoverished. It shouldn't be this way. With the ACA, many of the people I talk about and love so much here on Donist World now have access to health insurance, where they might not have before. I am talking about the majority of the comic book creators we all hold so dear. Almost all of them are self-employed under their own steam, or they are work-for-hire under the bigger comic companies, which allows the companies to not pay for health insurance. Before, if such creators were not on a spouse's health plan, then chances are they were totally boned. Now, they have a chance. Too bad a bunch of six-figure-making, tremendous-insurance-having, dick-waffle-serving takers wish to continue profiting off our collective inevitable health problems. It's all rather shameful.