Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 11/29/2013

(Sung to the tune of Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science")

It's poetry in motion
Saga's here for your eyes to feast
Pretty Deadly brings a commotion
Long lost Bad Dog will appease
Mmm - but you have to read Black Science
It's awesome, see? Black Science
And Hawkeye's all right by me

Owww...uh huh

When I'm reading comic books
You have to read Black Science - Black Science
I take trips to other worlds
Have to read Black Science - Black Science
Black Science

Ugh...gonna keep it brief this week, denizens. I would usually say that I am joined as every by Donist World CFO Obie (my friends' Boston terrier) and by Donist World marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/turkey stuffing specialist Tulip (my dog, Obie's sister), but I'm not. Well, let me correct that. Obie is actually here at the Casa de Donist until Sunday, but both he and Tulip are stuffed to the gills on turkey that my mom, her husband, and my grandma our outside investors were sneaking to them from the Thanksgiving Day table. All the guests have since left and Obie and Tulip are both bloated lumps spralled across the couch who refuse to move or be bothered. So, without further ado, I'm going to physically move their butts so I can take my rightful place upon the couch, pour a Sierra Nevada Celebration ale and watch me as much Arrow as I can handle. If there is one thing my executive team and I are thankful for it is you, denizens, and we truly wish you all a peaceful, mellow holiday. Thank you so much for reading us. Now, I'm going to loosen my belt a notch and...crud...the remote is a monstrous ten feet away. "Donist World Intern Amy! Can you get the remote! We can't reach it! Please!" Cheers, denizens, and I hope you enjoy this week's...

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Saga #16
Saga #16 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, lettered by Fonografiks, published by Image Comics. As fans of comic books, we have much to be thankful for this fine year of 2013, and dagnabbit if Saga is not up there at the top of the list. Boy howdy if that ain't the truth, denizens. All it took was the very first issue and I knew I would lose my heart to this series. We have fantastic characters, an exciting twist on a familiar premise, and an expansive world that could honestly host a full stable of comics in addition to the one that started it all. Alas, though, we only have the one series in Vaughan and Staples's magically sci-fi universe, but the one we have is mighty, denizens, and this Donist is mighty thankful for that.
Our favorite news correspondents are back and digging in deeper to the Alana kidnapping case and they are quickly learning the story being widely circulated is complete bullpucky. Their inquiries don't look to be beneficial to their longevity either, as an associate of The Will known as The Brand gets a call. Klara and Heist plot how to provide direction to Marko and Alana's lives without the couple knowing, and Izabel happens to be the most adult of the adults. Finally, Gwendolyn and Lying Cat seek to rescue a dying The Will, and Price Robot IV cometh...but you've known that for some time now.
Okay, we all know that this book is beautiful. I mean, c'mon, just take a look at the cover. If you've been following FSoH/SitW for any length of time, then you also know I'm kind of a fan of the writing and characterization as well. With this issue, the creators start off with the two recently introduced reporters and their discussion with one of the winged elite, Gale--who definitely wishes to cover up the Alana and Marko situation. Gale summarily accuses the amphibians and their entire race of being homophobic. Unknown to Gale, one--possibly both--of the reporters are actually gay and might even be a couple. It's an interesting accusation coming from someone who thinks all "moonies" are child killing, barbaric monsters, and a great touch for the problems facing the Saga universe(s).
Velour, a literal unicorn from Gwendolyn's past (love the star, btw) had me go "oh" out loud, while Lying Cat's comment left me rolling. Staples, as always, shines when bringing the drama of the scene to life and these two pages were phenomenal in pacing and the oh-so-gorgeous colors. Speaking of gorgeous, I want the final splash page as a poster, because it would look dang fine on our wall.
I will admit that I'm a little uncertain of the decision to show Prince Robot IV's interrogation of Heist so many issues ago and THEN showing what led up to the events, but the journey spent catching up has been so very wonderful. That said, I'm ready to become just as lost and unsuspecting of the future as the characters who have grown so near and dear to my heart.
If you have not read Saga before, then do not just dive in with this issue. You need to start at the beginning where you can expect to hammer through the first two trades (a third will be out maybe in March 2014?), and then expect to go issue-to-issue as you will not be able to stand the long wait between trades. This comic is my most anticipated book each month(ish). VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Black Science #1
Black Science #1 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Matteo Scalera, painted by Dean White, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. No big surprise that Image has yet ANOTHER freaking awesome title in their ever-expanding list of amazing titles. Of course tacking the names Remender, Scalera and White onto a book about the strange, weird worlds of forbidden science and there's little that could go wrong.
Grant McKay and what is left of a few members of his team of Anarchistic Order of Scientists, as well as McKay's two young children are trapped. Trapped on a strange, horrifying world, and what they need is enough clean water to provide coolant for their travel pillar. Unfortunately, the inhabitants of the world, strange fishlike creatures as well as their amphibious enemies don't take kindly to strange humans popping up out of nowhere. A team member dead, the pillar engine damaged, and rampant mistrust among the group looks to cause havoc at the next stop.
Dang this book is a blast, and it reminded me of a grown up version of the old TV show Lost In Space, returning the old excitement I had as a kid every time I tuned in. Black Science also looks to fill the spooky sci-fi gap I've been craving since Warren Magazine's amazing Creepy and Eerie titles, the '70s and '80s era of Heavy Metal Magazine, and the painful void left after the phenomenal Fear Agent series ended. Remender gives us just enough story to pull us in, but it is the insane, unrelenting action that will keep you riveted throughout this over-much-too-quick comic. We immediately get a sense of the character's drive and need to not be bogged down by society's constraints as he runs and jumps and dives and encounters the inhabitants of the violent world where he finds himself stranded. We also learn that his loyalties lie in the following order: scientific pursuits, family, team members. Remender gives us just enough to hate McKay, but then as he runs for his life, we see him act honorably and do the right thing even though it endangers his own life. You get a TON of material in these 29 pages. He also came up with the idea of a man in a futuristic costume wearing a frog's head on his hand with an electrified whip of a tongue--the cover and the interior jive--as depicted by the does anyone come up with this stuff?!
For all of the action of this issue, Scalera is the one to blame for keeping the ol' ticker beating like a mad drum throughout the issue. Every single page keeps the eye whipping from panel to panel--the underwater scene is a prime example of his perfectly flowing sequentials. His character and costume designs are simply otherworldly, and I was left wondering how something like a humanoid frog-like creature could look so goofy one moment and utterly terrifying the next.
To round out this beautifully illustrated, exceptionally well-paced and well-told story is the gorgeous painted colors of Dean White. Man, this guy brings the electricity and that first double-page splash on pages four and five, leave me wishing this image was painted on black velvet and hanging under a black light so I can impress why buddies as we listen to some Blue Oyster Cult. Yes, I'm trying to be funny, but I'm also quite serious; the colors of this comic are stunning with their electric purples, jarring reds and electric-frog blues. White's contrasts and dark backdrops give this world perfect amounts of foreboding and intense excitement. For once, I might recommend digital over print since I would love to see this artwork when backlit on a computer or iPad. Nah...floppies are the way to go, but a digital double dip might be warranted.
I can't wait to see what happens next for McKay, his family and his team. I'm sure this comic is long sold out--and rightfully so--but you can pick it up digitally, or you can wait a month or two for the forthcoming 2nd, 3rd, 4th printings. This is must-read territory here, denizens. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Other Heavenly Items:
Pretty Deadly #2
Pretty Deadly #2 - Written by Kelly Sue Deconnick, illustrated by Emma Rios, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered by Clayton Cowles, edited by Sigrid Ellis, published by Image Comics. What do you know...another awesome Image comic. Jeez Louise. Anyhow, I thoroughly enjoyed the first issue despite not having a complete grasp of what was going on. With the second issue...I thoroughly enjoyed reading it despite not having a complete grasp of what was going on. But I will tell you this much, I will sure as heck be back next month(ish).
Bunny and Butterfly continue their poetic conversation as we learn that wounded Johnny (as inflicted by Alice last issue) allowed the vulture girl to take the binder Alice seeks. We are briefly introduced to the Night Maid and the Day Maid, and Fox and Sissy ride for their lives as Alice is confronted by none other than Death's daughter, Ginny.
The creators give us a poetic and beautifully illustrated story with loads of action as Ginny and Alice fight to the death. Deconnick's dialogue is sparse yet powerful and Rios's imagery flows gracefully despite a couple panels where I was not exactly certain of what transpired. I especially love the end of the fight where Ginny knocks Alice's sword up into the sky. Bellaire's minimally rendered colors provide the perfect style for this gritty Western.
I know I said I'm not certain of what is going on, but that is totally fine; it is by design. Pretty Deadly is just getting started and the creators are laying out a lyrical journey of violence and deception that begs to be experienced as opposed to merely read. We're in for one heck of a ride and at only two issues in, jumping on should be no problem at all. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Bad Dog #5
Bad Dog #5 - Written by Joe Kelly, illustrated by Diego Greco, lettered by Thomas Mauer, published by Image Comics. Speaking of not knowing what is going on...I don't remember the last time I read Bad Dog. No, seriously, I have no recollection of the last time I read issue four, or the three issues prior, since there's been such a monstrous delay between issues. That's fine, though, catching up is fairly easy. All it takes is the page 2 and 3 double-page splash (sex toys and a Shetland pony who doesn't want to be recognized) to bring it all back.
Lou is a werewolf. Actually, make that a werewolf who likes to party more than living up to his full potential and who barely earns his keep as a bounty hunter; the main dog bounty hunter to be exact. Anyhow, he's trapped in Las Vegas, the worst place on Earth, and his diminutively deadly partner Wendell is lost to depravity along with their awakening-to-the-joys-of-sin accountant. Lou gets a job from a man he kind of hates.
Reading this issue, I realize just how much I forgot how much I love this comic. Not for kids--no way, no how--and probably not for some adults either, but if you're open to a substance-abusing werewolf and his wicked little sidekick, then there is no reason to not be reading this comic...outside of the delayed releases of course. Beautifully rendered with hilarious art from Greco, and a well-told, foul-mouthed story from Kelly makes this book a ton of fun. I would probably say it is best to wait for the trade that should follow after issue 6, since finding the individual issues after all these years might not be the easiest thing to do, but maybe digital is the way to go if you don't want to wait. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Hawkeye #14
Hawkeye #14 - Written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Annie Wu, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Chris Eliopoulos, published by Image Comics Marvel Comics. Whoa...a non-Image title on FSoH/SitW this week?!?! Oh, but it's Hawkeye, that makes sense.
Kate Bishop is living the life: California dreaming, sun, a pizza dog, freedom. What more could a young superhero ask for? Yeah, she's flat broke. So she becomes a "Hero for Hire" and her first case is finding a gay couple's stolen orchids so they can finally have the wedding they've dreamt of for so long. Unfortunately, Kate is unknowingly digging herself into an even deeper hole with a recently made enemy.
I will say that I prefer to see Kate and Clint butting heads as Kate verbally eviscerates her mentor, while having her heart crushed by him. That's not to say I did not enjoy this issue, I definitely did, but a touch of what I love so much about the series is missing. Still, the writing is fantastic and Wu's art works well with this character. Next month looks to bounce back to Barton's story, with issue 16 taking us back to Kate Bishop and her nemesis becoming more involved. Hawkeye is always great fun. RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Rain - This is more for Tulip and Obie, not me; I'm glad it's raining, we needed it. The problem for the puppies is that anything more than a light drizzle seems to just ruin their world. When I take them outside to do their business, they stare at me, backs arched and wincing with each rain drop that falls upon their heads; they flat out refuse to go potty. So we all get to stand outside, getting soaked, as we enter a standoff as the pups shoot hurtful looks blaming me for causing the rain. There is no winning for anyone here.

Black Friday - What the f_ is wrong with people? You want Best Buy's HUMONGULOUSLY BODACIOUS deals! You ready to fight and potentially witness bloodshed for a barely cheaper deal on something you could buy come January or February, if not sooner? Yeah, I'm not. Guess what people, much of this Black Friday B.S. can be bought days in advance on this little known thing called the internet. I bought a few Blu-Rays on Monday and didn't have to fight for the last copy of Pacific Rim or whatever. No punches, no lines, no camping out. Even if most of these big box stores were not offering their wares days in advance online, I still wouldn't venture into the stores today...a trip to the ER will erode any savings you could have ever hoped to receive. Plus, give the workers a break. If you are really that desperate for a break from the fam, then hit the bars later that evening like us normal folk do.


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