Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 4/11/2014

(Sung to the tune of ABBA’s “Angeleyes”)

Keep thinking ’bout that Private Eye
I keep thinking, a-aah

Last night, I strolled into my store to buy my comics
And I saw that my pull had only one book
And the look I gave the owner was of sadness
’Cause the norm has been way more books than on that day
Then I saw that the book was the killer East of West, I have to say
“Ah-ha-ha, everything’s gonna be okay”

Have you read The Private Eye
One read and you’re hypnotized
But let's journey back
And see Marshal Law’s worth the price

Hello there Donist World denizens, I'm joined by Donist World CFO Obie (my friends' Boston terrier) and by our marketing director/administrative assistant/party planner/anger management specialist Tulip. The puppies ain’t talking to me this week, denizens. It’s a sad thing, but just amongst all of us, their anger and stubbornness has given Donist World headquarters (my mom’s basement) some much needed quiet time. In fact, I’ve been able to get a TON of work done because of it. Heck, I don't remember the last time I was ever so productive. To answer your question as to why Tulip and Obie are pissed off at me, it’s quite simple: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Even though they both know that dogs are not allowed in the movie theater—regardless of their executive-level positions at Donist World, or their dedication to comic book awesomeness—they still blame me for not “going that extra mile,” or for not “taking one for the team.” I would normally feel bad, but hey…Cap 2 was freakin’ awesome! They are also upset about our missing copies of the latest The Sixth Gun and Undertow, neither of which are my fault, but if my executive team wishes to be a couple of poopy heads, then that is fine with me. So, with all of this quiet time, I’m going to take advantage of this temporary moment and look into some new ventures: start my memoirs, write my biography, or maybe take up making jewelry, or something. Besides the silence, it was an incredibly slow week in regards to books in my pull; there was only one. In the meantime, take a peek at…

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below

The Private Eye #6
The Private Eye #6 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Marcos Martin, colored by Muntsa Vicente, published by Panel Syndicate. I believe I made a huge mistake, denizens. Actually, I know I did. I neglected to talk about The Private Eye #5 back when it came out. Spoiler, like each of the issues that came before, was VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! If you are a fan of Saga, or Y The Last Man, then there is no reason to miss this digital-only work by Vaughan. If Vaughan's name is not enough to pull you in, then how about the business model behind this series? The Private Eye is 100% creator owned and is on a pay-what-you-want-even-if-that-amount-is-nothing model. From the outset, Vaughan and Martin have said that they would release the first few issues, and then if contributions did not match expenses they would halt the book. In the letters column of this issue, Vaughan states that money brought in on issue five was so encouraging that he can easily see this story running its 10-issue course. That, denizens, is not just good news, its ridonkulously good news, as The Private Eye is a fantastic read, set in a future that could possibly happen, especially given the hush-hush SSL breach that just went down. So, try an issue or two for free, and then go back and contribute once you see how well-crafted and freakin’ amazing this series is. Heck, I gave them $3.50 for this issue, which is what most Image physical books go for nowadays.
P.I.’s buddy, Melanie, ain’t doin’ so hot. After the horrific car accident back in issue 4, P.I. and Raveena were fairly banged up, but Mel was put in a coma and just awakened with an acute case of almost-got-my-ass-killed-itis. Mel’s a wreck, and to make matters worse, the press (what the police have become) is snooping around, asking questions about what Mel was doing immediately after a dead woman’s confidential search history was stolen. The dead woman is Taj, Raveena’s sister, and it was in fact P.I. and Raveena who stole the information, with Mel as the getaway driver. Unfortunately for Mel, Taj’s murderer, a mysterious man known as Daguerre, has sent a pair of murderous French twins out to grab her to use as leverage against P.I., who is closing in on Daguerre's ultimate mission: to bring back the internet.
I'm about a week behind on this review, but here's the thing...I have a difficult time keeping track of my digital purchases. This is only compounded when I look at the leaning tower of comics and graphic novels I have looming dangerously above me. In fact, I have a virtual ton of digital comics I purchased a while ago, and I just forget about them. This I'm preparing to take my own works digital, but here’s the thing: this negligence does not extend to The Private Eye. Yes I forgot to review issue five and I'm getting to issue six a week late, but I read each as soon as they were released, which is not the case for many other digital comics I am excited to read, but see get pushed aside for the physical deal; nothing beats the feel of a gloriously presented comic/trade that you can hold in your hands. 
As for the content of the comic—do I really need to say anything more? It’s Brian K. Vaughan, by golly. You’re going to get a solid story set in a fascinating, yet terrifyingly possible, world. You have great characters, and Martin displays amazing character/world designs, and a strong storytelling sense that will lead you from the first panel through to the last with nary a moment to catch your breath. 
The Private Eye is a creator-owned experiment gone right in that those who actually made the comic are the ones directly benefiting from their hard work. They are the first ones paid, as opposed to the last ones, and no one is taking a “bite” out of their efforts. You can also visit their site at and pick up the first five issues—plus bonus material—in one fell swoop as a “trade," all for the price of whatever-the-hell-you-want. You need this book, denizens, not just because it is a Donist World darling, or because it is a wonderful story with beautiful art, or because it directly supports the creators, but also because—given the current SSL breach—Vaughan might have actually predicted the future, which is a terrifying concept to say the least. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

East of West #11
East of West #11 - Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Dragotta, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics. Before I get into anything about this book, I just need to say that this is one heck of a gorgeous cover. Yes, I am desperate to know about Crow, but everything involved in the design of this one-color cover—I believe it is different tints of the darkest purple—just grabs me. Couple that with the off-kilter logo design, the strategic use of white space and the information (creators, issue number, price, and blurb) on the left makes this cover stand out amidst everything else on the stand. That said, Crow, unfortunately, does not appear anywhere within this issue. Still, this month’s East of West is worth reading, and it comes complete with yet more nightmare-inducing imagery involving eyes. <shudder>
Xiaolian, Death's wife, is on the move and preparing to take on the Chosen— those who have received “the Message” and who currently work with three of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Xiaolian goes to meet those who rule the world at a neutral location known as the Wall. As the Union, the Kingdom, the PRA, the Texas Republic, and the Confederacy all meet, along with the until now unseen Endless Nation, the world holds its collective breath over what might transpire. 
Not much happens in this issue...but that is okay. As I have said since the beginning, Hickman and Dragotta are in this story for the long haul, and each intricately planned storyline, character and event has a purpose. This issue appears to be the calm before the chaos, as we focus primarily on the Chosen, with not a hint of Death, the horse beast, Crow or Wolf, or mention of the killing that occurred last issue. What you mostly see is beautiful character acting and political intrigue; the action will come later. 
East of West is still one of the best books to come out of Image (of which there are many ridiculously good books) and is one I look forward to each month. Although this issue is mostly setup for what is to come, it is still a fascinating read and the series is one that commands your attention. The second trade was just released, making this smart, complex series something you can binge read to immerse yourself within this bleak world. RECOMMENDED!

Flashback Friday:
Pinhead Vs. Marshall Law:
Law In Hell #1 & 2
Pinhead Vs. Marshal Law: Law In Hell #1 & 2 - Written by Pat Mills, illustrated by Kevin O'Neill, colored by Steve Buccellato, lettered by Janice Chiang, published by Epic Comics, formerly a Marvel Comics imprint. Back in mid-2013, I received the Marshal Law: The Deluxe Edition HC (DC Comics) and I rejoiced. Marshal Law was a series that Young Donist absolutely loved back at its introduction, and the chance to own most of the series in a hardcover edition was something I could not pass up. The key word in the previous sentence is “most.” The hardcover edition contained everything but three crossover mini-series that featured our surly hero meeting Pinhead (from the Hellraiser films/comics), the Savage Dragon, and finally the Mask. My guess is that reprinting those stories would have been a logistical and licensing nightmare, so DC just didn’t trouble themselves, which is understandable, as reining in BOOM, Dark Horse and Image sounds…complicated. Anyhow, if you have a moment, check out my reviews of the individual series that make up the hardcover (start at the bottom and move up), and you’ll come away with my feelings at the time Marshal Law was being released, and you’ll quickly learn that I kind of adore the series of mini-series within that collection. But what about the issues not in collection? Hmmmm...let's see. 
The good Marshal has been feeling a little bit better about life lately. After his girlfriend was murdered by a super-powered serial killer acting out on his seething daddy issues—with his daddy being an A-Number-One asshole—Joe (Marshal Law) slid further into his hatred of any and all heroes. Then he met Super Nova. Yes, she’s a super heroine, and she is a bit…off her rocker, but that’s okay, who isn’t crazy these days? She’s also slammin’ hot. What else besides love could ever convince Joe to attend a super hero therapy party; did I mention Super Nova’s a looker? Anyhow, the party is a load of crap, and the Marshal is not making any friends, but when an angelic “hero” named Seraph presents a mysterious cube to the partygoers a gateway to hell opens. Now trapped amongst the sadistic beings known as the Cenobites, with the one known as Pinhead leading them, it’s up to Marshal Law to get himself and Super Nova back to reality. That is, of course, if they can trick Pinhead into releasing them, but does the Cenobite leader want to kill our hero…or hire him?
Ahhhhhh…1993. A time when speculators were beginning to implode the comics market, and we can see some of that in this two issue mini. Each cover is of a heavier stock with four-color printing, one color being a metallic red that admittedly looks kind of cool. The second issue is a four-color job with black on black and silver on the front with red on the interior cover, which also looks pretty darn cool. What was not cool at the time was the $2.95 price tag for a comic printed in 1993. Yes, each issue has 32 pages of comic, but the cover stock and the ink must have cost a pretty penny, which was passed onto the reader and set the pricing for comics going forward. Thankfully, this pricing has stuck (except on some of Marvel and DC’s bigger titles), but publishers also began to drop the page count and backed off the pricier cover gimmicks. But, then again…them covers sure do look purty.
As for the content, I enjoyed rereading these issues after so many years. I’ve always had a soft spot for the early Hellraiser movies and the screwed up world and imagery, and if you’ve read last year’s posts about the individual issues of the Marshal Law HC (please do! Just go here to check it all out!), then you already know that Marshal Law plays a crucial part in my love of comic books. That said, I liked rereading these issues, and I know that crossovers are done to sell-sell-sell, but I would have loved to have seen the hero hunter go back to his roots of beating the snot out of your average super hero; you know, like maybe target a speedster with a public indecency problem, or a master of the mystic arts who can’t stop taking magical drugs. But, I enjoyed this crossover, and some of the witty bits are hilarious—Razorhead rallying a group of heroes by utilizing his ability to speak fluent cliche?! Classic! 
One negative on this mini is the art seems rushed on some of the second issue's pages, giving an inconsistent look, but that is a minor problem. You can still find the hidden jokes and Easter eggs strewn throughout, and some of the designs on both the heroes and the villains are a riot. 
I believe I found the first issue of this crossover back when it was released, but the second issue was something that took a year or two for me to track down. If you are a Marshal Law fan and have not yet read this crossover, then the decision is a no brainer. If you are new to the character—and you are fine with some potentially offensive stuff—then this is NOT the book to start with. You need to start at the beginning, denizens. You need to learn what the hero hunter is all about and then proceed along the title’s schizophrenic order of release, and there is no better way to do this than by picking up the beautiful hardcover. If you are strapped for cash, then finding the individual issues on the cheap will not be that difficult a chore, which you can do at Pinhead Vs. Marshal Law: Law In Hell has a bit the ol’ nostalgia factor working in its favor, but I'm glad I took the time to revisit on of my favorite characters. So to you I say, ”You must strike now! It’s a slim chance! But the only one you’ve got! You must read Marshal Law, before it is too late! Heads up, denizens. It’s clobbering time and this series is there for you…so take it!” RECOMMENDED!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - No spoilers here. I loved it. One of my top three favorite comic book movies. I loved The Avengers, but this might be tied with that monumental film. I want to take my wife to see it. I want to take my mom to see it. I want to sneak Obie and Tulip into the theater to see it. I wouldn't be surprised if I make it back to the theater this weekend. Time never flew by as fast as it flew by in this movie. Respect! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Sis-a-frack-a-brick-a-brackin’ Where Are My Missing Comics?! - I'm still missing the latest issues of The Sixth Gun and Undertow. What a revoltin’ development. Dagnabbit!


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