Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 3/28/2014

(Sung to the tune of The Handsome Family's "Far From Any Road")

In a remote book store, your anticipation grows
Tons of new comics, what to buy? Ol’ Donist knows

The Wake’s a must read surely, Satellite Sam adult time fun
And Sandman Overture’s beauty shines next to none

In your eager hands a book to make your heart swoon
Deadly Class is sure a gas, in heaven's grasp you now loom

1st Monthly & Mandatory
Donist World Corporate Sleepover
Such a haunting, beautiful song…and what better reason to listen to “Far From Any Road” than after completing our second viewing of True Detective, which is right up there as one of my all-time favorite television shows. But I digress…welcome to Donist World. I'm joined as every by Donist World CFO Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/true detective Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). Currently, the dogs are wiped out after not sleeping so well after rewatching the final episode of the season after last night's viewing. You see, most Fortune 320,000 companies have corporate retreats, or outings, some even have pow-wows (snicker), but here at Donist World we are pioneers of innovation. Thus we give to you, the Donist World denizens…the corporate sleepover. Yes, Obie slept over last night and we powered through the show, ordered in tacos, treated ourselves to a three hour marathon of Power Point presentations, and of course ended the evening with a pillow fight with Donist World branded pillows, of course. There was one odd point in the evening where I woke up to see Obie standing over me whispering, "Carcosa. Carcosa. Carcosa," which was unnerving, but that just goes to show you what happens when you are the first to fall asleep at a sleepover. Anyhow, I'm going to take a nap since I hardly slept because of my terror-filled dreams, so please enjoy this week's…

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Wake #7
The Wake #7 - Written by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Sean Murphy, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint. Issue 6 of The Wake can be considered the start of the “second season” of the series, and it is one that grabbed me by the front of my shirt and sat me up straight. The first five issues of the series are kind of creepy and a great read for sci-fi/horror comic fans, but that sixth issue...criminy, denizens, the game changed and a really good comic became a fantastic comic book. But does this issue continue the shock, the awe, the unexpected moments that leave me going “well, I never expected that!”? Gosh darn it, you bet your sweet patootie it does. Whoa, boy howdy! I’m not even certain I totally understood what happened at the end, but I’ll tell you this, I cannot wait for issue 8!
Leeward’s use of the ear (communications device) actually delivered a message she wanted to hear...something about defeating the mers once and for all. Too bad the Arm—what passes for law enforcement—found out about what she was up to and threw both her and the man who sold her the ear, Pub, into the bowels of a repurposed cruise ship where they will spend the next six months rowing the vessel across the seas; that is if they don’t die first. Not one for being told what to do, Leeward plans (poorly) to escape but all plans are interrupted by a mer attack. All seems lost until an odd turn of events occurs.
<Arggh> I so want to spoil the ending of this issue, as I see two possibilities for what actually happened and I’m not totally certain as to which it is. I could also be totally wrong. Just know that I was not expecting this shocker of a cliffhanger in any way, and however the creators explain this...<ack>’ll be fine with me. As truly bonkers as this ending is, I am biting my nails to see what happens next; it's gonna be a painful wait for issue 8. (Okay, deep breath, Donist. Chill out and get on with it.)
Despite the final two pages that left me calling for more more more, Snyder and Murphy’s submerged apocalyptic future is completely fascinating, and therein lies my problem with The Wake. The first half of this maxi-mini-series of what is to be a 10-issue comic progressed just fine. At issue four, I could envision how the comic would round out the next six issues, but then issue five slammed the door shut on that chapter, and issue six introduced a whole new world of wonders. We have three issues left in the series, and that is not going to be enough. Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt that the creators will wrap up the story in a satisfying manner, but I am going to want more...I know this. Issue six and seven have opened up so many potential areas in this world beyond Leeward's current plight that I want to travel to every corner of this fascinating world. Yes, I’m dying to see how Leeward handles what just happened, but I want to see her go from the West Coast to the East Coast as well as inland. I want to see her first meeting with Dash. I want to experience the training programs with the whales, and the capture of the first “king” mer. A common problem I see in many stories is a meandering when things just need to progress, but that is not the case here. I want to meander and take up residency in this story, and I mean that as the highest of compliments.
I don’t need to go into detail about how much I love the dialogue, or character development, or how striking Murphy’s art is—I will say  the splash of the giant mer attacking the cruise ship is worth the price of admission—or for Hollingsworth’s beautiful world building through color. I’ve discussed all that before. The only other thing you need to know about The Wake is that it is a book you need to be buying. I do see a hardcover solicited at with a November release date, but that is a long ways away. With any luck we will see this title extended to 20 issues, or a new mini will be announced, or screw that noise...I'll gladly stick around for an on-going. It's safe to say I like this comic book. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Deadly Class #3
Deadly Class #3 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, colored by Lee Loughridge, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. This comic, like The Wake, has a moment that I fully was not expecting...not in the slightest. The difference being that the previous review threw something outlandish—yet consistent with the story—while this one sucker punches you in the best of ways.
Some homework assignments are murder. Unfortunately for Marcus and his classmate and potential new friend, Willie, their homework assignment is exactly that...murder. The two are assigned to kill a vagrant and document the experience as well as the removal of the corpse; such are the disciplines taught at Kings Dominion, a school for assassins. Thankfully, Marcus's old acquaintance might have a lead on a bad man, but will either boy have the killer instinct to solidify a passing grade? What happens will shock you. Also, little do they know they are being watched by an outside party.
By the half way point of this issue, I was enjoying what I was reading and I liked the budding friendship between Marcus and Willie, which alone kept me interested in this title, but it’s what goes down later in the issue that has my grimmer side anxious to see more. Again, I’m not going to spoil what happens, just know I was not expecting the event in the slightest and that I was stunned afterwards. Dang, everything changes, but thankfully the creators at least give you insight into why things play out the way they do.
The characterization and dialogue are fantastic—no surprise there—and Loughridge’s coloring, although not realistic by design, packs a punch that drives the emotional beats of the story. Craig’s art continues to showcase storytelling grace as he glides your eyes from panel to panel. He even throws in a cool comic within a comic moment when detailing Willie’s past. The panel counts are again high, but they hammer home the intense moments, while easing you through the calmer ones; each page is worth taking time to appreciate.
Three issues in and I am still loving this series, as each provides a new level of excitement and opens the door just a sliver wider as we look in on these characters’ past lives. I can’t wait to see what happens next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Satellite Sam #7
Satellite Sam #7 - Written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Howard Chaykin, lettered by Ken Buzenak, digital production by Jed Dougherty, designed by Drew Gill, edited by Thomas K., published by Image Comics. <phew> give me a second, denizens. Let me just fan myself and cool off a little as some of the imagery of this issue is a bit racy. Then again, once you start to delve into just what a mess Mikey is and how much more so he is becoming, that takes a bit of the punch out of the more titillating imagery. Still, that Chaykin sure knows how to draw ’em.
Libby Meyers, the assistant director for the hit children’s show Satellite Sam, has been keeping a secret for quite a while. Unknown to Michael at the time, Libby used to run a weekly errand for his father, where she would make deposits to a peculiar storage facility. Now, if he can get his head together and stop letting his daddy issues dictate his life and dalliances, he might be able to appreciate the enormity of what it is Libby has to show him. Of course, he should probably try not to implode his career by giving poorly-thought-out and inappropriate gifts to the Satellite Sam crew. Change is a coming.
I love this book. Not just because of the aforementioned Chaykin-lady steaminess, but because of his command of body language, facial expressions and the storytelling of his sequentials that keep you gliding through the story while also stopping to linger, to appreciate. Fraction’s dialogue is distinct to each character and the situations that arise, whether part of the overall mystery or not, each word is simply engrossing. If you are a fan of the television show Mad Men, or of either creators’ non-superhero work, then this is the book for you. The good news is that if you have not yet picked up this series, then you can get the trade (issues 1-5) for under $8 at (and support me in the process!) and then easily grab these two issues for this unique and authentic look at television showbiz in the ’50s. Satellite Sam is not for the kiddies, but if you are looking for a break from super heroes and villains punching each other in the face, then you know what you need to do. Satellite Sam is an amazing work. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sandman Overture #2
Sandman Overture #2 - Written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by J.H. Williams III, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered by Todd Klein, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint. I’ve said it before, but let‘s just get this out of the way. “I may not know art, but I know what I like.” Well, I know a little about art, but for the latest issue of The Sandman Overture I don't completely understand what the heck is going on, yet I still like what I’m seeing.
We begin the tale with the current manifestation of Dream, he who was once known as Daniel, as he prepares to go for a walk where he encounters Mad Hettie and discusses the intricacies of time. Meanwhile, in 1915, the previous incarnation of Dream, Morpheus the Shaper, meets a host of different versions of himself, some more alien than others. Each aspect of Dream sees themself as the only aspect that exists as others fade and appear and...wait, where was I? Anyhow, the Dreams have gathered because one of their own has died and they want to know who is responsible, so they consult the first Dream, a creature reminiscent of the “Old Gods.” Dream then goes into his ruby gem to consult with “The First Circle”…something something somebody named Glory. Uh…something something a mad star…blue lady made out of stars…Morpheus and an aspect of himself venture forth to meet with someone unexpected.
I understood roughly 65–70% of what went down in this issue, but that's okay. The Sandman Overture is lyrical in its lovely dialogue and captions. Gaiman’s words are mesmerizing and just as magical as the tale being told. Couple the exemplary writing with Williams III’s stunning imagery, and there is absolutely no excuse for skipping this issue. Ignore the lengthy delay, you will forget all about it the very moment you see the ghostly Daniel, with his complete lack of a hard black line, or when you see the many aspects of Dream, or when you wander through the crimson landscape of the mystical ruby.  You will want to stay on each panel of each page as Stewart’s coloring style shifts along with the change of each location; every page is worthy of mounting in your home for all to adore. Even the lettering is something to appreciate in this issue as Klein gets the workout of his life with each Dream aspect—and trust me, denizens, there are many—receive their own distinct word balloon, and most of the aspects speak; lettering is something that is usually designed to be invisible, yet Klein's work here is a triumph of the lettering art form.
Neither the wait between issues, nor my inadequate Donist mind should discourage you from checking out this gorgeous comic book—mom always claimed you were the smarter ones anyways, denizens. You need to see this. You need to read this. Come to think of it…rereading issue one and two back-to-back might not be such a bad idea for this comic book from another plane of existence. I won't even guess as to what might come in issue three, as Dream(s) journeys to meet he-who-I-won't-name, but I can tell you I am excited to see what happens. Hopefully the wait won't be too long. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Still Missing Some Books - Gosh darn it. Dag nabbit. Geez Louise. Where’s my The Sixth Gun? Where's my Undertow? Awwww Sugar! Hopefully these missing comics show up next week. Cripes, I hate waitin’ when I shouldn’t have to wait…that goes doubly so when we are talking comics.


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