Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 11/15/2013

(Sung to the tune of Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It")

You should read great comics
Yes, you must read great comics
You should read great comics you adore

Strange Nation's great to choose and
Sasquatch, cult, alien confusion
That Rocket Girl's got it goin' on
Batman is way scary, cuz
Doc Death is quite horrendous
Thor God of Thunder, we'll sing your song

You should read great comics
Yes, you must read great comics
You should read great comics you adore

Smiles everyone, smiles and welcome to Fantasy...errrr...welcome to Donist World. I'm joined as ever by Donist World CFO Obie (my friends' Boston terrier) and Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/post-apocalyptic preparation specialist Tulip (my dog, Obie's sister). We're kind of laying low today and we've taken to skulking about the house silently, so no one knows we're here. When we do actually have to go outside, we stick to the shadows and hide behind trees and bushes all while gathering vital supplies. Why are we doing this? Well, we've been playing The Last of Us video game--I allow myself one or two console games per year--and the puppies my executive team has been watching me. Needless to say, we are totally freaked the heck out now. We're not yet finished with the game--currently at 89%--and I can say it is one of the best written, best voiced, best acted, visually amazing, and possibly my all-time-favorite game. Thus we crouch and creep around the house, ever mindful to keep clear of any and all mushrooms that...oh, our sausage, olive and mushroom pizza is here for our 11:00 AM meeting on maintaining our Fortune 320,000 status. While we sneak out the back and around the front to be sure the pizza boy is not a clicker, have a gander at this week's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Rocket Girl #2
Rocket Girl #2 - Written by Brandon Montclare, illustrated by Amy Reeder and published by Image Comics. You know what, denizens? I'm starting to think it's me. Remember last week how I was talking about how smart Image's titles were, especially with East of West? Well, ol' Donist possibly thunked a wee too hard on the brain thingamajiggies, as I'm not completely certain what happened with the final panel of this fantastic issue of Rocket Girl. So, in an effort to curtail adding additional deposits into the fortune that has amassed in my embarrassment bank, let's call it "foreshadowing of things to come." Anyhow, possible confusion aside, I am very much enjoying Rocket Girl, both the present (1986) and the past (2013). Plus, Donist World fully supports the act of creating, the act of presenting, and the act of consuming pancakes, as seen in the first third of this issue as well as on the dedicated "Pancake" page, here.
Annie and Ryder, two prominent physicists, need to figure out what to do with their new house guest, the "Rocket Girl" DaYoung. In her very brief jaunt to 1986, DaYoung has destroyed a lab--somewhat intentional as it housed the problematic Q-Engine, a time travel enabling machine--caught a bad guy, assaulted a couple of police officers, and has been spotted flying around New York while utilizing technology that should not exist. Oh yeah...she also rescued some construction workers. Back in the past of 2013, we see DaYoung and her fellow detective Leshawn O'Patrick nearly getting caught eavesdropping on an evil large corporation (are there any other types?), the future version of Quintum Mechanics. Back in the present of 1986, trouble finds Annie, Ryder and DaYoung right before we catch a bit of foreshadowing back in the past of 2013.
Okay, now that I have reread the issue...yes, that last panel is foreshadowing. That said, Montclare and Reeder's Rocket Girl is an exceptional read suitable for all-ages. DaYoung is an intelligent, confident, and tough teenage hero who is very much the one in charge, although her "can do" attitude looks to put her at odds with those in authority in both time lines. Montclare has both captions and dialogue fine-tuned with each character having their own distinct voice, especially DaYoung. He also delivers some funny, light-hearted moments that made me laugh before returning to the serious side of the story.
Speaking of comical moments, Reeder's art had me cracking up at times, especially at the beginning of this issue as a grumpy Annie crams pancakes (ahh...pancakes) in her mouth as she pours her coffee; the shower panel was also pretty funny. Then we get to the action of both the past and the future and it's pure beauty. The scenes of DaYoung and Leshawn rocketing about the stunning city are impressive as are the cool costume designs, which are all pushed forward by the gorgeous colors. I simply love how Reeder handles something so mundane as the reflective glass on of the front DaYoung's helmet to the eggshell-like surface on the back; two very different materials handled perfectly. I also dig Annie's hair and the '70s-style logo on the cover that still has me wowing over the warm light reflections and the harsh shadows dancing across DaYoung (check out the cover)...again, this book is beautiful.
I really enjoyed the first issue, which I got through the creators' Kickstarter before the book was picked up by Image, and this follow up succeeded in pulling me in even more. Montclare and Reeder will leave you loving the title character and wanting to linger in the world they have created, both in the present of 1986 and the past of 2013. The next issue cannot come soon enough. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Strange Nation #1
Strange Nation #1 - Written and lettered by Paul Allor, art by Juan Romera, edited by Rob Anderson, published by Monkeybrain Comics. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago with my review of Rex Zombie Killer #1, I know these guys. Allor and Anderson are each members of The Comics Experience and are moderators for their forums and teach an online class. They are also posters for our long-dormant The Brutal Circle site. Juan Romera is the freaking amazing artist who illustrated my story "Timber Tom," which appeared in Indie Comics Magazine #6, which I hope you check out. So, yeah, I know them, but as I said before, if I don't like something, it ain't showing up on Donist World...except maybe in the "Slice Into the Woods" section where I will talk about how Allor stole my dog, done busted up my automobile, and insulted my family's honor many moons ago. Anyhow, Strange Nation #1...
So what does a recently out of work journalist do when she loses her prestigious job at a reputable newspaper? Why, turn to the tabloids and investigate doomsday cults, aliens, and possibly a Sasquatch or two, of course. The problem for Norma Park is that all these things are very much real and are somehow connected. The weirdness doesn't stop there. She also has a partner wrapped up in his own conspiracy theories, and she's investigating a most bizarre individual named Joe. In fact, the only normal thing in Norma's life is the disappoint of her parents, but even they look to have something to hide.
Criminy! This comic's a heck of a lot of fun. Allor begins with the most absurd beginning for a book imaginable--cultists duking it out with a bunch (or is it gaggle or a pod?) of Sasquatch in the woods as lit by eerie visitors from outer space. Now, with a setup like this you would expect the book to be a comedy, and although moments are funny, the book leans heavily on the darker side of humor and remains mostly serious despite what you are actually seeing on the page; just have a look at the final two pages of this issue and you'll know exactly the tone of this series. <brrrrrr> The dialogue and captions all flow perfectly, melding into Romera's artwork, never once taking you out of the moment yet keeping you eagerly flipping pages.
Romera has a knack for handling the bizarre characters in this comic (check out the first image of Joe), and he is fantastic with his sequentials, which gave me the feeling I was watching a film as I went from panel to panel. He can also handle background details as seen on the double-page spread in the lab with its varied creatures, ships and gear. His coloring, of which I am a huge fan, pushes all characters to the forefront of the panel and draw the eye to where he wants you to look. I also must point out that he draws one heck of a sexy, battling, ladybug lady...but let's keep that between
Strange Nation #1 is a fantastic start to this recent offering from Monkeybrain Comics, but don't go poking around your LCS trying to find a copy as you won't find one. Monkeybrain Comics is digital only and is offered only through Comixology. I'm guessing that you will one day be able to buy an actual trade of the series once it finishes, but why would you do that? Comixology has this first issue for a measly $.99. That's $.99, denizens! All you have to do is give up one double espresso, pumpkin chai, half-caff, non-fat, whipped cream with sprinkles latte and you will be able to buy the entire series. Trust me, it's worth it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Batman #25
Batman #25 Written by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Greg Capullo, inked by Danny Miki, colored by FCO Plascencia, lettered by Nick Napolitano, published by DC Comics. Shenanigans! I call shenanigans! Last month I suffered from sticker shock from the $6.99 price tag on the issue. BUT issue 24 had 54 pages of material--more than double the normal page count--with a jump of $3 to the price. I call that worth it. This issue, however, is $4.99 for 24 pages of the main story and a side five-page story, bringing the page count to 29 pages, which is $1 extra for only a couple bonus pages. What the what?! We do however get a heavy card stock, grey-on-black cover! For one of DC's best-selling titles, this is kind of a low blow given the book is already at $3.99, not to mention the tons of "Villains Month" issues recently tossed our way. <sigh> I hate to say it, but I'm out and going to trade if next month's issue isn't back to the normal $3.99 price point. All monetary griping aside, this issue was a heck of a creepy good time.
After the Riddler put Gotham City in the dark, the Batman has had a spot of trouble getting around Gotham's finest; thank goodness he has a Batmobile and they don't. What the Batman was investigating was the grisly death of a man whose bones snapped and broke and grew in a chaotic pattern to which the pain must have been unbearable. Now, Bruce Wayne has Lieutenant Gordon snooping around the Wayne Manor grounds, and a trip to an old friend becomes a pain in the neck as Doctor Death makes his appearance.
Holy bat terror, denizens, he did it again. That ending splash page from Capullo will give me nightmares for the rest of my days! FCO Plascencia's colors--although gorgeous on ever page, especially the final splash, only make Doctor Death's visage all the more terrifying. Aghh! Plus, Capullo's bone-growth victims are almost as bad as Doctor Death, but beautiful none the less. One cool thing I liked about this issue was the Wayne and Gordon exchange where there was little to no background aside from a muted brown haze, which succeeded in putting all the focus on the two men and their discussion.
Where Synder is concerned, I would love to see the script for this issue and read how much direction, if any, he provided Capullo on this new horrific villain. I'm also curious to know where he comes up with all of these twisted ideas. I've "met" Snyder before on a web chat once to go over a comic script I wrote, and he is one of the nicest most helpful people I've ever met, which is interesting given that for someone so generous and kind, he can sure write some truly disturbing material. You know, total creepoutville stuff that is sure to stick with you for some time. Besides giving us frights, you also have the wonderful dialogue and captions this book is famous for.
To summarize: I'm a little messed up after some of the things I saw in this issue, and I cannot thank these creators enough for adequately giving me the heebie jeebies. Batman continues to be a fantastic superhero comic and if the powers that be would stop messing around with unnecessarily inflated pricing, cover gimmicks, and costly "events," and allow the creators to continue making damn-fine comic books, then readers like myself will be thankful for it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Thor: God of Thunder #15
Thor: God of Thunder #15 - Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Ron Garney, colored by Ive Svorcina, lettered by VC's Joe Sabino, published by Marvel Comics. After catching Thor 2: The Dark World last week, it's safe to say that I am even more jazzed for Thor: God of Thunder than I was before. Let me tell you, denizens, I was already pretty jazzed.
The League of Realms travels to Alfheim to a shantytown deep in the Sugar Woods, where they find fairies and joy and candies aplenty. This is nice...unless, of course, you are in pursuit of the homicidal dark elf Malekith and his murderous followers or if you are a troll obsessed with cleaving said dark elf in twain. Thor discovers a couple of creative ways to get the League to work together, but his efforts are halted when Malekith attacks and a member falls. Things go from bad to worse when the dark elf fugitive reveals his new allies.
Aaron takes a more humorous approach after exploring much darker topics over the previous 14 issues and to great effect. Moments of this issue were simply ludicrous (a dwarf murdering a dark elf with a candy cane), but I smiled the whole way through. The humor also brought me around to many of these new characters, but I was a bit dismayed that the Leaguer killed in this issue was one I was hoping to see more of...the character did however have his/her moment to shine as brief as that moment was.
Garney's art is beautiful as ever, although there are a handful of panels that seemed a bit rushed and not as detailed as in the previous issues, but this is minor point. The action in the sequentials and the character drama are incredible. Svorcina's colors are gorgeous and he makes a point of pushing the brightness and the saturation of Alfheim to the limit, which is a marked departure in what we saw in the "God Butcher" arc's deep blues of the cosmos, but no less effective.
With a huge battle set for next issue and the stakes increased, I can't wait to see what comes next. If you enjoyed the recent Thor movie as much as I did, then picking up this title (and the two issues before it) is an easy decision to make, verily easy. RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

My Fellow Theater Patrons -Okay, yup, I saw Thor 2: The Dark World and I absolutely loved it. I will even go so far as to say I liked it more than the first movie. I will admit, though, that it took me about 20 minutes to get into the groove, but once there I loved the film. Maybe some of my surly attitude came from two of my fellow theater goers.
Take for instance the guy who came in, sat at the top middle of the aisles and proceeded to unpack and pack things from his plastic grocery bags. During this idiot's continuous shuffling, I caught the scent of lasagna and maybe fried chicken, but the dude went to town on his lunch right there in the theater for the entire movie. Why couldn't he eat at home? Or unpack his troughload of food before the movie started? Criminy, it's not like we are all sitting in this fool's living room.
Then there was the other guy who came into the movie late, and was lumbering about the theater trying to find the perfect seat--it was the 1:30 PM screening, there were PLENTY of empty seats--and then he started heading my way. Granted, my corner was dark, quite dark, but right as I was about to say, "Someone is sitting here," he took out his iPhone, turned on the piercing LED light, and trained it squarely on the retina of my left eye. He apologized and I would like to think that he gave a sigh of relief that he didn't see any cataracts or anything, but, man, how hard is it to take an empty seat among a sea of empty seats or to eat your nine-course meal prior to the screening of Thor 2?


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