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.


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