Monday, June 30, 2014

Micronauts Monday 6/30/2014

Hey there, Donist World denizens. Welcome back to Micronauts Monday, where I talk about my longtime favorite comic book series The MicronautsYou'll get a summary of the issue, my remembered reaction/experience with the comic book as a kid, and my thoughts as an adult after rereading the issues over the past week. The Micronauts is the book that introduced me to the wonderful world of comic book addiction. The sad thing about this amazing series is--as I explained in the first post here--is that if you haven't read the comics, doing so is going to be a bit of a hunt, since reprinting rights are firmly wedged into a Prometheus Pit of a printing-rights purgatory. But don't despair, it can be done, you can find them. has most of the main series for a fairly inexpensive price. If you want to dip your toe into the glory that is the Microverse before committing to a hunt for individual issues, then you could also check out the five "Special Editions," which I believe had two or three issues included in each. Or, better yet, if you have an opportunity to do some longbox diving into the $.50-$1.00 bins at your LCS, then I'm sure you can find many issues there. My only caution here is that the story has a tremendous narrative that builds over the course of the series, one that deserves to be read in order, but that said, any Micronauts is good Micronauts! 

Ahhh…it’s all making sense now, denizens. Remember back when I first began my look at The Micronauts: The New Voyages? How I mentioned the series befuddled poor Young Donist’s mind? Not only that, after decades of not revisiting what is considered the second volume of The Micronauts series, it’s safe to say Current Donist could not remember 95% of what happened in the book… but now it’s all kinda-sorta coming back to me. Where as on the series proper, I distinctly remember where I bought practically each issue, my state of mind at the time, my state of mind after reading the issue, where I was when I first read it, and where I hid my books so my little brother wouldn’t get his grubby mitts all over my treasures of all treasures; I can’t say the same for the second volume. Yeah, The Micronauts: The New Voyages is not my favorite, but there are still interesting concepts, and moments of great art, and any The Micronauts completists out ther should seek them out. That said, after today’s post, we only have five more issues, so who knows, maybe something crazy will happen to make reevaluate my thoughts. We’ll find out soon enough…

Micronauts Monday

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Micronauts:
The New Voyages #13
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #13 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Kelley Jones, inked by Bruce Patterson and Kelley Jones, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Bob Sharen, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. Devil is in pain. He is victim to the Scream, he is the Scream, and his pain resides in Biotron’s chest. Huntarr tries to understand Devil’s pain, but the Scream hurts him, too. Bug challenges Scion, and is made to understand pain. Other than that, some worms, spiders and tubes form into beings that fight the Micronauts after the team invades their ship, and Scion takes control of the Zodiac Keys with a declaration that they can now face their enemy. … … … Other than that, I have no idea what the heck is going on.

Young Donist - “Other than the spider-tube-worm monsters and Solitaire walking around in her sexy Playboy Mansion getup — I hope to marry her someday — I hate this issue so hard. Arrrrrgggghhh?!?!?!” Not a snowball’s chance in hell that Young Donist would recommend this.

Current Donist - Ooooookay…while Young Donist collects himself and I take away his Atari 2600 for one week because of his outburst, let’s see what’s going on. Okay, yeah, the summary above is pretty much what we have to go on. I have no idea why my favorite heroes are following this Scion chump, or why they haven’t made any further attempts to remove him from duty, or for that matter remove his head from his body. Look, the guy is a total dick with no history with the Micronauts. Sure he “saved” them from radiation poisoning, but he’s been an emotionally and physically abusive bully who refuses to directly say why he wants to lead the Micronauts, and what his intentions are. What’s even worse is that Scion acts all holly-jolly around them, smiling wide, and leaping into the fray one moment, and dishing out horrendous pain and speaking in riddles the next. “Yeah, sure, bro, I’ll follow you into whatever-the-heck-it-is-you-aren’t-telling-me. Sure thing. Oopps! I’m sorry! Did my photon blaster enhanced by a stray piece of Enigma Force accidentally bust a cap in your a$$? My bad.” C’mon! Ugh.

Jones’s art is cool, but I did notice the style changes from page to page. On the opening splash, we have a more realistic looking image of Devil in pain, then four pages later we have a cartoony-looking Huntarr in pain, followed by heavily shadowed individuals in pain, followed by characters in the same environment with nary a shadow to be found…who are also in pain. Still, I like the visuals quite a bit and the storytelling is strong, as are Sharen’s colors, which go a long way in setting the mood of each scene. Unfortunately, not even the art is enough for Current Donist to recommend this issue.

The Micronauts:
The New Voyages #14
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #14 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Kelley Jones, inked by Danny Bulanadi, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Bob Sharen, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. Scion is now in possession of the Zodiac Keys, devices used to bring multitudes of races from both Earth (see volume one #34 for a version of this) and the scattered universes abound to colonize the Microverse after the Makers created the Spiral Path (I think that’s the ticket). Anyhow, the Pain is going to unravel the DNA of the Microverse and end all life. Something about a trillion refugees…more talk of the pain…old man Rann trips out at the Dreaming Star, and sees the Makers…Scion, because he is a monumental a$$, teaches Bug another lesson in pain. Oh, and Mari has a secret, which causes her pain.

Young Donist - “Why?!”

Current Donist - The bit with the 1 trillion people on the planet reminds me of a mix of Star Trek and Soylent Green, but I don’t know what to think about this the Pain stuff. I will commend the creators for trying something different, but the story is just not working for me. I was fine just accepting that Wayfinder created the Microverse in order to escape a bunch of demons (again, issue #34 of volume one), but some of the greater mysteries of the universe are best left a mystery…or not even acknowledged at all in favor of other stories. I don’t need to know exactly who made the Microverse, I would rather spend time exploring the Microverse as it is, seeing worlds untouched by Baron Karza’s iron fist, or seeing Oceania restored to its rightful glory. Taking away the mystery, as opposed to just accepting the Microverse, diminishes the power of this fantastic universe existing at all. It’s like when we learned from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace that Jedi received their powers from midi-chlorians, which are actually a type of microorganism. Part of the magic of someone being a Jedi was diminished since the explanation essentially amounts to all the Jedi having bad bacterial infections. Why couldn’t the Jedi just be the bada$$es for the sake of being the bada$$es we all believed them to be? The bada$$es we all dreamt we could one day become?

I guess the other way to look at it is the creators are trying to establish a creation myth for the Microverse, when there has never been one before. Yes, I’m vastly interested in the history of Homeworld and seeing what Dallan and Sepsis’s rule with Karza as their advisor was like, but knowing that some rainbow-hued Galactus-type guy was responsible for creating everything in the first place? Again, it takes away the magic of this fantasy world, as it answers a question that was never on my mind to begin with. Let’s see alien races, let’s see cosmic threats, heck throw in some zealotry conflict if you want to have “Makers” enter the picture. Why not have a religion revolving around the deceased Karza rise from Homeworld’s ashes and attempt to return the Microverse to Karza’s vision as supposedly told to him by the mysterious Makers? That would have roped me in completely, reminding me of the FANTASTIC Warlock run (another book that rocked my world as a kid, and that still rocks my world with each annual reread) by the phenomenal Jim Starlin. Sometimes the why did this ultimately come to be? is best ignored for the let’s see what actually is.

More than anything, I want one of my heroes to punch Scion in the face. The only time I would ever allow another adult to “teach me a lesson” would be when I paid that adult to “teach me a lesson”; interpret that how you wish. Current Donist does not recommend this one either.

The Micronauts:
The New Voyages #15
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #15 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Kelley Jones, inked by Danny Bulanadi, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Ken Feduniewicz, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. Psyche! Karza ain’t in this book! Well, that’s not true, he is, but only in a brief flashback where he wears red thigh-high boots for a fancy-pants party. This issue is another one-off tale by Princess Mari where she tells of a time past and explains exactly why she hates the body banks with every fiber of her being.

Young Donist - “Leave me alone.”

Current Donist - This is actually more in-line with the history lessons I was talking about for issue 14. I have enjoyed the various flashback or one-off issues throughout both volumes, and this one is no exception. Although I am unsure of the decision to have Mari be paralyzed, I do like the deeply personal reason for her hatred of Karza’s body banks; it’s all rather harsh, but works well with this established character. I also liked Jones’s Kirby homage page, and was glad to get a break from Makers and Pain and that Chumpasaurus Rex, Scion. RECOMMENDED!

Five issues left. That’s it, which means two more “Micronaut Monday” posts, which is totally weird. Right? Time flies, denizens. Time flies. Yes, both Young and Current Donist are flummoxed by what has been going on, but I still have faith that these next five issues will make…oh no. Oh no! Next issue is a dreaded “crossover event” for Secret Wars II, so I can only guess what my reaction is going to be for that one. Criminy. Well, uh, we then have FOUR issues left to turn things around before the end. Fingers crossed. So…Did any of you denizens read this follow-up to one of the greatest comic series of all time? If so, what did you think of it? I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.

While writing this entry, I listened to the soundtrack for “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” which I watched last week and simply fell in love with that franchise all over again. Check out this thunderous soundtrack if you have a chance, and I strongly encourage anyone who loves fun to see both the first incredible movie and the equally awesome second. So very, very good.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 6/27/2014

(Sung to the tune of Blondie’s “Dreaming”)

When I saw them at the comic store
I knew I could never ask for more
Saga’s such a pleasure, Rachel Rising a treasure
Chew’s just right for me

Surely I must be dreaming, books you must read
Dreaming, books you must read

I sure love Remender’s Deadly Class
Trees and Batman kick all kinds of ass.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 rocks me, it’s something you just have to see
Ol’ Donist would not lie, we all must be dreaming

<phew> We’re going to keep the intro brief, as there’s quite a bit to talk about. I’m joined as ever by CFO Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / dragon-in-training Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). We got hit by the great comics bomb this week. This is not a complaint. Even the fact that we were once again shorted Undertow can’t harsh our mellow. All of the great comics this week brought us much joy and gave us the dang, we gotta get scrambling on this post feeling. Spirits are so high here at Donist World, Obie just declared the Donist World team to have made its collective saving throws (he still believes in the Management By Dungeon Master method of management), and has agreed to spring for tacos from the taco truck today…with money from the petty cash drawer, of course, but it’s the thought that counts. Anyhow, run out and get yourself some tacos, sit back, and enjoy the thrills of…

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Saga #20
Saga #20 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, lettering and design by Fonografiks, coordinated by Eric Stephenson, published by Image Comics. Prince Robot IV found! Marko visits a dance studio as Alana goes on a trip. Meanwhile, all is not well on Prince Robot IV’s home world as the 99% decides it has had enough.

As you can expect with this Donist World darling of a comic book, Saga begins with a bang (literally in this instance, if you get my drift) and ends with a shocker…and thus begins the terrible time of suffering known as SWS (Saga Withdrawl Syndrome). At least this bout should only last 30 days(ish). Given Saga’s grand cast of characters, this latest arc has not yet given us a glimpse of The Will, Gwendolyn, Lying Cat (is he/she blind in one eye?!), or Sophie. We also do not get to check in with the new breakout character, Friendo, which is deeply unsettling, but we can only assume Friendo will take up a more prominent role in future issues.

True to Hazel’s shocking cliffhanger declaration from issue 19, Vaughan begins to show us how this is going to go down…on both Marko and Alana’s side. Despite some nerd-rage stupidity (grow up, why don’tcha) that I heard about concerning last month’s shocker, every event that is happening, or supposedly going to happen, makes complete and total sense; I’ve seen it happen with people I know…many times in fact. Vaughan has always managed to add a degree of realism to his work, that oftentimes shows beloved characters making decisions that might not be in the best interest for anyone involved, primarily the characters in question. So we have it with both Marko and Alana. No, I'm not going to tell you what each is up to — it was hinted at last issue — or why their actions make me go uh-oh, but I understand the mindset these two are in because of Vaughan’s beautiful characterization.

The power of the dialogue and the narration is tremendous on its own, but Staples’s art with her gorgeous storytelling and character acting provides the one-two punch that makes this comic book such an addictive powerhouse of a read. A twist of the mouth, or a hand on a hip, or the slight softening of a character’s eyes carries so much emotional sway, you can’t help but feel for the characters, even as they set about imploding their lives. Heck, how could anyone not feel better about life after being on the receiving end of purple bat-girl Ginny’s smile? As a side note, I hope to see more of Staples’s process on this book sometime soon, as I would love to see how she does her colors once again.

I was trying to keep this week’s look at my favorite things brief, but it is darn-near impossible to practice word economy when I am so in love with this title; I can’t help but go on and on. If you have never read Saga, then you are not my friend anymore. But you can remedy the situation by reading the very inexpensive trades and checking out one of my top three comics seeing release. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising #26
Rachel Rising #26 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. It’s amazing what a little witchcrafted herbs will do for healing up them broken bones. Rachel and Zoe discuss “Jack,” as Rachel takes a chance on touching what was once Lucifer’s sword. Malus looks to make his presence in the world known.

Criminy, I love this comic. I love Rachel and Zoe, but seeing the sheer joy on Aunt Johnny’s face after being healed of her substantial and painful injuries, warmed my heart. I love all the characters, but when Aunt Johnny was practically killed in the car accident many issues ago, I whispered, “no,” and found myself actually distressed over the wellbeing of this non-existant person. But this is what Moore does so well. Yes, he is a master illustrator, but whether you are reading Strangers in Paradise, or Echo, or Rachel Rising, the creator’s main talent is drawing you into his world through the characters you cannot help but care for with all your heart. This issue is especially interesting as we get a glimpse into “Jack” and what it means for one to be his wielder.

*Unreleated to this issue, but I just thought it would be awesome to see Moore’s take on Saga characters, and Staples’s take on Rachel Rising…ah, dare to dream of an awesome mixup, denizens.* Anyways, Rachel Rising is a tremendous book that can go on forever, and I would be as happy as a Donist trapped at his favorite brewery. Both this issue and series as a whole come VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Deadly Class #6
Deadly Class #6 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, colored by Lee Loughridge, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. After dealing Marcus a terrible beating, Chico’s rampage of violence and death does not seem to be slowing. When a face — a really messed up face — from Marcus’s past arrives on the scene, this trip to Las Vegas seems like even less of a good idea.

Wow, that was violent. But you know what, denizens? That’s okay. This book is all about violence — just look at the dang title — and, frighteningly enough, is somewhat of a reimagining of actual events from Remender’s life. Our main character, Marcus, is freaked out on acid, horrendously beaten, and bleeding everywhere, but the creators focus little attention on his past or thoughts about what is happening. Instead, this book belongs to Maria, Willie, Billy, and Saya and how they deal the insane Chico, who is about to kill their new friend.

Craig’s art is fantastic, and his exceptional storytelling combined with Remender’s writing continues to make this book impossible to put down. Loughridge’s colors floor me on this series, and this issue just goes to doubly impress, with the cool colors of night, and the stunning warmth of the day; that predominantly white space final page is one of my favorites of the series. Deadly Class began with Marcus, and it is his story, but the supporting cast look to play very important rolls in what is to come; I’m excited to see what that might be. Image comics has done it again with this exceptional comic. A trade of the first six issues looks to be available in July at $9.99…don’t miss out! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew #42
Chew #42 - Written and lettered by John Layman, illustrated and colored by Rob Guillory, flats by Taylor Wells, published by Image Comics. Sammi the Seal is dead, my friends, and it weren’t no accident. No. Siree. Bob. Luckily, Agent Chu is on the case to find his murderer, but it’s going to be a solo mission, as his partner, Agent Colby, finds himself at a wedding reception…his.

If you're a fan of Chew, then you no doubt bought this issue and love it every bit as much as I do. On every page you’ll find wit and humor and gross-out moments with tiny jokes cleverly hidden in the background of almost every page. The colors are oftentimes vibrant (check out that undersea lab, yo!), a stark kick in the pants when compared to the majority of the dreary-colored comics on the stand. The situations in the story are nutty, absurd even, but they are always entertaining (check out that Applebee family splash page, yo!). With the exception of a perfectly timed and particularly sad issue or two (the first page splash is an homage to the immensely sad issue 31 <sniffle>), I am smiling when I look at the cover, and I’m smiling even more by the time I finish reading the last page.

I’m gearing up to reread this fantastic series from the very beginning. Being a huge fan, I, of course, purchased the first three Omnivore hardcover editions, and I am eagerly awaiting the soon-to-be-released fourth (I can’t wait, yo!). A while back, I read that the Chew live-action television show is not going to happen <sniffle>, but that an animated show is in development, which is alright by me. I love this comic, and if you can get past the gross cannibalism stuff (it’s all rather funny, yo!) then you should jump in on of the most unique and entertaining comics, that also happens to be well-told, beautifully illustrated, and dang impossible to put down. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Trees #2
Trees #2 - Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Jason Howard, lettered by Fonografiks, published by Image Comics. When the alien “Trees” arrived a decade ago, they caused panic, anger, a disruption of epic proportions, and they did this by doing…nothing. For ten years, the Trees have remained, and humanity has continued life around them, but when a Tree unleashes toxic sludge into Brazil, people take notice once again that the Trees are there. Now, researchers across the world are starting to think these aliens have subtly changed weather patterns, and what of the mysterious black flowers that grow where it is impossible for plant life to exist?

Yeah, I have no idea what the heck is going on. That’s okay, I know as much as the characters in the book. It took me a few issues to catch on to East of West when it was released, and I assume it will be the same with Ellis’s Trees. The important thing is that I am interested, incredibly interested, in what these Trees are doing, why they are there, and what is going to happen. This is a tense book, denizens, because I know something gnarly is going to happen. Whether it is of the Tree’s doing or mankind’s, something is going down after the inactivity of the past decade.

The only characters from the previous issue found in this one are the scientists in the Arctic as they ponder the existence of the strange black flowers. Otherwise, we are introduced to more characters as they cope with the proximity of the Trees to their lives. I am not certain, but maybe this is the plan for this comic, to introduce many characters once and have them fade away as we see new points of view as to what the arrival of these apparently-immobile aliens has done to differing regions and cultures. It’s an interesting choice — if that is indeed what Ellis is doing — but ultimately, I do hope to at least have the scientists stick around for a few issues.

Howard’s art style is substantially different than his previous work, but I love his rough take on Trees, which adds to the feeling of uncertainty and ratchets up the steadily building tension of the series. I especially LOVE the interior cover page that has a line drawing bleed into the first page with only the bagged flowers and hands having color. The rest of the book is filled with great character acting and solid storytelling, and a color palette that pushes and pulls the mood exactly where it needs to be.

As I said, I don’t really know what is going on, but that is fine, I’m patient and eager to see this mystery unfold. Ellis had a hefty overprint on the first issue, so you should be able to get a copy if you act soon — I suspect even those are not long for this world — and with this issue you’ll be all caught up. Trees is a fantastic “what’s in the box?” comic, and although my first inclination was to merely recommend this issue, the fact that I have not been able to stop thinking about this series for the past two days makes me say HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batman #32
Batman #32 - Written by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Greg Capullo, inked by Danny Miki, colored by FCO Plascencia, lettered by Steve Wands, published by DC Comics. Gotham City is poised on the brink of destruction at the hands of the madman, The Riddler. But Batman, Jim Gordon, and Lucius Fox have a plan, and it’s a good one…or so they think. As their efforts look to hasten Gotham’s demise, Batman has a new idea of where the Riddler might be, but finding the villain might not work out quite the way he planned either.

“Zero Year” has been going on for quite some time now, and I have to admit that I am a little eager to see what is to come next. That said, the intensity of this issue makes a huge leap forward, and the heroes’ desperation becomes all too real, and my once-drifting attention is fully back in place. Snyder’s dialogue and captions are great as usual, but it’s Batman’s powerfully touching message to Alfred, with those lone six words at the top of the fourth-to-the-last page, that made my cold Donist heart melt.

Speaking of the fourth-to-the-last page, Capullo’s art, and in this case artistic choice, is phenomenal. His use of white space (yes, I know the page is primarily black, but it is still considered white space) on much of the real estate of the page, and the tiny doorway with Batman’s silhouette is stunning, providing a sense of just how large the Riddler’s threat is. All that is left on the page, are two close up panels of Batman’s face, yet if I could own any page of this comic, this would be the one; it’s stunning — Donist want. Otherwise, Capullo’s art is just what you would expect…masterful as always. Plascencia’s colors continue to breathe additional life onto the already substantial imagery, but it is the continued vibrant colors that are so atypical for a modern Batman book that make this one such a joy to experience every month.

I’m not certain what’s going to happen following next issue’s conclusion to “Zero Year,” but where last month had me eager for a new storyline, this issue succeeded in making me want to stay here a little longer. One thing is for certain, Snyder and Capullo’s Batman continues to be my favorite super hero book on the stands. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

How To Train Your
Dragon 2
How To Train Your Dragon 2 - I’m not going to spoil anything, or get into it, but just know that I LOVED this movie. The first How to Train Your Dragon is one of my favorite animated movies EVER, and even when compared to the most cherished of Pixar movies, it stands strong among them. The Donist World intern (Amy, my wife) and I watched the first movie a few days ago, and trust me when I say that convincing her to watch it was not easy, but she did, and she adored it, despite not liking most animated movies. Toothless also reminds us of Tulip in so many ways — if only Tulip could increase in size, sprout wings, and breathe blue fire, she’d be a near perfect match. As for the second movie, we both left the theater loving it every bit as much as the first, and I’m already anticipating the blu-ray release. Hey, if an animated film about a dragon and vikings can bring a grown-a$$ man to near tears one moment, and then have him on the edge of his seat the next, then there must be something to it. Now, I need to pick up the television series as well, which I hear is also excellent. With all my heart, this film is VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Bah...Let’s Stay Positive - After some fantastic comics this week, and after watching some beautiful movies, I’m feeling quite chipper. I’m also not going to dwell on the fact that the latest Undertow was AGAIN not in my pull. Stay happy, denizens. Read good comics and go see How To Train Your Dragon 2. Donist gives you permission to leave work early to do so.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Micronauts Monday 6/23/2014

Hey there, Donist World denizens. Welcome back to Micronauts Monday, where I talk about my longtime favorite comic book series The MicronautsYou'll get a summary of the issue, my remembered reaction/experience with the comic book as a kid, and my thoughts as an adult after rereading the issues over the past week. The Micronauts is the book that introduced me to the wonderful world of comic book addiction. The sad thing about this amazing series is--as I explained in the first post here--is that if you haven't read the comics, doing so is going to be a bit of a hunt, since reprinting rights are firmly wedged into a Prometheus Pit of a printing-rights purgatory. But don't despair, it can be done, you can find them. has most of the main series for a fairly inexpensive price. If you want to dip your toe into the glory that is the Microverse before committing to a hunt for individual issues, then you could also check out the five "Special Editions," which I believe had two or three issues included in each. Or, better yet, if you have an opportunity to do some longbox diving into the $.50-$1.00 bins at your LCS, then I'm sure you can find many issues there. My only caution here is that the story has a tremendous narrative that builds over the course of the series, one that deserves to be read in order, but that said, any Micronauts is good Micronauts! 

Today we pass the halfway point of The Micronauts: The New Voyages. Over the past week I read issues 10–12 and I can definitely say I really don’t know what to think. I must have missed something within the previous nine issues that I hope one of the more astute denizens would be kind enough to explain to me. But you know what? Although I was confused, I just shook the matter off and went with it — we’ll get into what it is in issue ten below. As I mentioned last week, both Young Donist and Current Donist were kind of eyeing the door on this title, and I will say that issues ten and eleven did not help matters, which is baffling, as issue eight had me cheering and excited for what was to come. Then issue nine slowed the pace back to what it was, although it did bring Devil back —sort or — and some of the cosmic imagery of Rann’s thoughts touching the cosmos was groovy, I none the less found my thoughts drifting as I read. I will say that issues eleven and twelve introduce something that makes little sense to me, but my interest has definitely spiked. How’s THAT for creating curiosity as to what happened to renew the series for me? All I will say here is Scion…read on to find out about this cat who changes things up for the Micronauts team.

Micronauts Monday

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Micronauts
The New Voyages #10
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #10 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Rod Whigham, inked by Bruce Patterson, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Bob Sharen, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. The Micronauts are leading an armada of the pink, goofy-looking aliens across the cosmos on a trip to bypass the Space Wall that surrounds the Microverse in an effort to rescue the reincarnated form of their former teammate, Devil. Solitaire changes shape to no longer look like Rann’s hot mom, and chooses to look like a smiling, hot Disney villain instead. As with anything involving the Space Wall, the Enigma Force gets involved, and they aren’t happy.

Young Donist - What the heck is this?! Words, lots of words, the pink alien idiots get a critical beat down, and some things happen that I just can’t pay attention to. Not only that, Rann now has white hair — and after he finally ditched that stupid beard, no less — and Mari can't walk?! The only thing I do like is that Solitaire looks REALLY pretty, and I hope to someday marry someone like her — except for the fact that in reality she actually looks like a goofy, pink alien and is a total liar, of course. Young Donist was so irked by this issue that he would have been beside himself, if he had not fallen asleep after putting it down. He would not recommend this issue.

Current Donist - Okay, I’m confused. In issue one, the Micronauts took off to explore the Microverse to find a peaceful place to settle down — keyword being Microverse. Then they found the goofy, pink alien dudes in their travels, followed by Devil needing their help on homeworld, so they head back to homeworld. Got it. Question: if they travel through the Microverse, go to a rest stop, and decide to go back home, then why the heck do they need to go through the dang Space Wall? The way I see it, if I set off on a trip up north from Santa Barbara, reach Lompoc and realize I forgot my blanky and have to go back to get it so I can sleep at night, I turn the dang car around and go home. I do not leave the country in some roundabout nonsensical journey to get it. Why the heck do the Micronauts — and their soon-to-be-deceased goofy, pink alien armada — have to go through the Space Wall at all?! I must have missed something.

I don’t know what to think of Commander Rann’s white hair — grey/white hair can look mighty fine on a person…I’m just sayin’ — or Mari losing the use of her legs. I do agree with Young Donist that Solitaire looks pretty dang fine, but I need to warn him, and Bug for that matter, that just because she is hot and dresses awesome, it doesn’t make her a nice person…she is still a goofy, pink alien at heart who refuses to tell the Micronauts anything about herself. To quote Public Enemy, “Can’t Truss it.” Current Donist would not recommend this issue, either.

The Micronauts:
The New Voyages #11
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #11 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Rod Whigham, inked by Danny Bulanadi, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Bob Sharen, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. Mari can no longer walk, Commander Rann has white hair, and Solitaire ups her hotness as she ditches her regicidized-Rann’s-mom look that only lasted one issue. After 1000 years of space exploration, and sporting a horrendous beard, Commander Rann sees some white in his hair and quits the Micronauts so he can commune (i.e. trip out) with the will or the universe or somethin’. The Micronauts — minus the geezer Rann – stumble upon a dead alien in a chair — no, this is not taken from the amazing film Alien — whose race found a way through the Space Wall. Then the Acroyears show up on the other side of the Space Wall, and Acroyear pisses them off all over again. Oh yeah, some guy called Scion appears.

Young Donist - Why?! What the heck is going on?! Argggh! Scion looks cool…who the heck is he other than a Colossus-meets-Angel lookalike mixed with a vampire who wears yellow booties and a yellow speedo? Although Young Donist didn’t care about 99% of this issue, he was intrigued by Scion, but not enough for him to give a recommendation.

Current Donist - Okay, as you can tell by my summary above, Current Donist didn’t really jive with this issue either, but I will say that I found it infinitely more interesting than my younger self. Still...

I don’t buy that after over 1000 years of consciousness, thought, exploration, the murder of his parents, touching the Enigma Force, fighting against the Enigma Force, Baron Karza, spending most of volume one unconscious, the loss of Biotron more times than I can remember, losing his girl to Bug while he tripped balls communing with the Enigma Force, growing a gawd-awful beard, seeing countless Micronauts die or leave in anger, and finally going grey after a millennia, that Commander Rann would decide to effectively head into the opium den that is the consciousness of the universe or whatever and…huh, now that I think about it, maybe tapping the cosmos would be better than continuing along the path Rann was on. Heck, if I stubbed my toe, I’d consider tossing in the towel and taking up a seat at the cosmos, so never mind. Still, when you are thinking about heroes, having them bail after getting older, makes them kind of unheroic. C’mon! Who cares if Rann has some grey (or total white in his case) hair? He’s a dang silver fox! He should watch Mad Men and groove on Roger Sterling…that cat knows where it’s at, denizens!

I DO like how crazy Huntarr is looking, and Kelley’s style on the armored Cilicia and Acroyear is cool, as are his depictions of alien tech, which are stunning. As for Scion…all I remember is that Young Donist was intrigued by this character, but I seem to remember this guy being a point of frustration for him for some reason, but I don’t remember why. I am interested, though, and I want to find out more, but I still cannot recommend this issue.

The Micronauts:
The New Voyages #12
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #12 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Rod Whigham, inked by Danny Bulanadi, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Bob Sharen, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. Scion is here and he has taken command of both the Endeavor II and of the Micronauts whether they like it or not. In fact, Acroyear doesn’t like it. Not one little bit. The two fight, but when all are at risk of dying in the shadow of the mighty Space Wall, Scion might be the only one who can save the Micronauts and help them pass through. Finally, how do Solitaire and Scion know one another?

Young Donist - Young Donist liked this new character, with the exception of the yellow booties, gloves, and speedo, but he was something new, and he made something finally happen: a fight. I liked seeing Scion jump into the ship’s thruster and take on its energy to open a door through the Space Wall, and although everything else happening in the story confused the bejesus out of me, I was thrilled to see my favorite characters doing…something. I will say that although I liked Scion, I felt that he didn’t fit design-wise with the rest of the characters. I also felt he did not fit in storywise either, and the fact that Scion was the cool, white, alien monster that fought Huntarr in issue eight was weird, but what mattered is my interest in The Micronauts had been renewed, and I was eager to see what happened next. RECOMMENDED!

Current Donist - Kelley’s art is great in this issue, especially during Acroyear and Scion’s fight and the awesome page of Scion manipulating the Space Wall. There are a couple instances where the character proportions are slightly off, but it is totally not a big deal, especially when Sharen’s colors give the book the look I loved so much in volume one.

Storywise, I’m following what is going on better. I accept this Scion guy as being part of the Microverse more than I did as a kid, but my biggest problem is that I don’t trust either Scion or Solitaire and no matter how skimpy you make their clothing, if I were one of the Micronauts, I wouldn’t do anything until they both provided some answers about all this crap they supposedly know about. I find it hard to believe that the Micronauts would be all “So, Solitaire, you know all this crazy information, much more than you EVER let us know about, you come on our ship, you know this speedo weirdo who just handed Acroyear his ass, you speak in cryptic, baiting statements, and you refuse to expand on your portents of doom or your true motivations…Nah, son, get off the dang ship…you do look hot, btw.” C’mon. The greed-ridden corporation I used to work for pulled that kind of junk and I, along with many others, quit. Still, this issue pulled me back in and I want to know what is going to happen next, primarily to see if someone actually calls these two mysteriosos on all their cryptic nonsense. RECOMMENDED!

Crazy. I have zero idea where this series is going. I do not remember anything about who Solitaire or Scion are, or how Mari gets the use of her legs back, or if Commander Rann will enter a cosmic consciousness 12-step program, or if Bug will get a real girlfriend or not, but my interest has been piqued. So…Did any of you denizens read this follow-up to one of the greatest comic series of all time? If so, what did you think of it? I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.

While writing this entry, I listened to a whole host of Tom Wait albums that I had on shuffle. If you need an entry point to this amazingly unique and talented artist, then you can’t go wrong with Beautiful Maladies: The Island Years, but if you have TONS of cash, then just go buy everything the man has done…you can’t go wrong. Check out this amazing performer  when you have a chance.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 6/20/2014

(Sung to the tune of Blondie’s “One Way Or Another”) *side note* want more Debbie Harry and the Muppets? Here’s “Call Me,” or check out Blondie’s “Platinum Collection.”

One book, not another, I gotta tell ya
I'm gonna buy ya, buy ya, buy ya, buy ya
One book, not another, I should remind ya
I'm gonna buy ya, buy ya, buy ya, buy ya

One book, not another, I’m gonna read ya
I'm gonna read ya, read ya, read ya, read ya
Only one book, but come next week, I’ll comic flood ya
I’ll comic flood ya, I’ll flood ya

I read Sex Criminals
It blew my mind through town
Next week I will drown

Hello and welcome to Donist World. Before I get into anything today, I want to comment on how elating it was to watch those Debbie Harry on the Muppets Show videos (see above links). I had forgotten all about them until Amy the Donist World intern reminded me of Debbie Harry’s appearance on the show. Given that I LOVE Blondie, and I loved the Muppets, combining the two is like discovering Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for the first time. Since I’m already distracted and CEO Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier) and Donist World marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / mashup specialist Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister) are blaming me for only one comic being in the pull this week and they aren’t talking to me, let’s go off topic for a moment. Are there any songs that give you the chills? I don’t mean the I feel like someone walked over my grave chills, but the I love this with every molecule of my being chills? After watching a couple Blondie videos and settling on a song for this week’s post, I put on “Dreaming” and the chills came a flooding in. Such a great song. Anyhow, uh…comic books! Yes, I only had one comic in my pull, but this week saw the release of a trade I’ve been anxious to get ahold of that I’m fairly certain will be showing up here on ol’ FSoH/SitW. I'm not going to spoil what it is, but I will say that it sounds like Melmet by Ned Studebaker; hopefully I can read it this weekend. Since the puppies are so angry about the lack of new comics this week, I can actually get some work done without the burden of Obie’s new Management By Dungeon Master (MBDM) method of leadership and his myriad of scenarios requiring the rolling of four-sided and twenty-sided dice. So, while I sneak out the door of our corporate office (my mom’s basement) to head to a coffee shop, have a look at this week’s tremendous…

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Sex Criminals
Sex Criminals #6 - Written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Chip Zdarsky, color flats by Becka Kinzie, edited by Thomas K, production by Drew Gill, published by Image Comics. Here’s the thing...this was the only comic waiting for me in my pull this week, but that’s fine. Sex Criminals is my favorite comic being released on a monthly(ish) basis, and that takes into consideration a certain phenomenal, space-faring, fantasy, love series I simply adore (Saga, of course). Don’t get me wrong, the two books are neck and neck in terms of my excited desperation to get my hands on the latest issue. When that new copy arrives, I wait until the wife and the dog head up to bed, I pour myself either a beer or hot tea, I assume my position on the couch where my posterior has permanently created a Donist-sized ass indent — I should really flip the cushions — and I study the cover for a moment before turning to that first page. It’s my time to read comics, and woe unto he who interrupts my peace and happiness; this goes doubly so when Sex Criminals is in my mitts.

There is, however, a potential problem with this routine, as I am usually tired from the day that tends to begin around 5:30 am. This latest issue, the beginning of the second arc, had a few words within the pages; many a few words, in fact. I was also dog-tired and already on my way to slumberland. This was the same state I was in a few nights ago when reading an equally wordy title – one I will not name – that knocked me out at least twice during the reading…I just couldn’t get through it. But this darn Sex Criminals funny book, with its characters who I feel are part me and my wife, and part lifelong friends who we meet for barbecues or pizza or a Game of Thrones viewing on at least a weekly basis, refused to let me be tired. Two pages in, my slouched carcass, on that darn Donist-indented couch, sat up, took a sip of tea, and awakened more than I had been for most of the day. This is not in spite of the many, many words on the page, but because of the many words on the page. Not all comics are created equal, denizens, and in this case, one comic put me to sleep, while this new issue of Sex Criminals woke my a$$ up and made me want to call Jon and Suze just to say “hi” and check in. I absolutely adore this book.

Jon and Suze have eluded the Sex Police, and all is well as they settle into their home and their routines…okay, not really. After having entering the Quiet one evening, Jon discovers that the device they took from Kegelface can actually track the location of people in the Quiet; they are definitely being monitored. The sex stops, the intensity lessens, and life kicks in, but for Jon so does the paranoia, and the depression, and the rest. The honeymoon period is over and when mixed with a healthy fear of the Sex Police, can Jon and Suze’s relationship stand up to the challenge?

Criminy, denizens, this is another fantastic issue. Yes, there are tons of words in this issue, but they are in no way slap-you-in-the-face exposition, but each word is vital to the story, in understanding what it is Jon is going through. In fact, the many words are indicative of Jon’s spiraling paranoia and depression, bringing you into his out-of-control world to allow you to experience what he feels. In addition to gaining insight into Jon’s state of mind, Fraction gives us the most open, honest, and true look at what happens when the passion of early love fades as “regular life” sets in and temperatures normalize. He captures this change in all the shocking brutality of its truthfulness and it is simply beautifully told.

Zdarsky…if you’ve been reading Donist World for any length of time, you know how much I love this Applebee’s lover’s work on this series. The cartooning is phenomenal, and the colors, especially when in the Quite, are mesmerizing. On this issue, it is the character acting, the drama of the scene where his work sings. Like Fraction’s many words, Zdarsky utilizes tons of panels on nearly every page. Aside from two pages with four panels, most pages have at least seven, which contributes to pushing Jon’s frantic, panicked frame of mind onto the reader. Combine the many panels with the many words, and I found myself becoming just as nervous as John. This is not a complaint, but a huge admission of admiration for two creators at the height of their craft who can deftly steer readers to empathize with their characters.

Usually, I crack a ton of jokes while writing about this darn-fine series, as I usually feel giddy after reading each issue, but the honesty and heart poured into the making of this latest release is so powerful I’m having a hard time making with the funny. I’ve loved this book since issue one, and my wife hammered through the first trade in a single sitting; she loved it. All openminded adults, whether comic book worshipers or not, should be reading this awesome comic. Sex Criminals is worthy of every bit of praise it receives. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Manifest Destiny v.1:
Flora & Fauna TPB
Manifest Destiny Volume 1: Flora & Fauna TPB - Written by Chris Dingess, illustrated by Matthew Roberts, colored by Owen Gieni, lettered by Pat Brosseau, edited by Sean MacKiewicz, published by Image Comics. Last week I teased that I read a certain somethin’-somethin’ that kind of blew my mind, and that book is Manifest Destiny. I heard about this awesome collection of the first six issues on my favorite comic book podcast, 11 O’Clock Comics, and their enthusiastic look at this book made me seek this out; boy howdy, am I glad I did.

In 1804, Lewis and Clark set out to explore the uncharted American Frontier with a crew of enlisted men, mercenaries, and convicts. Part of their mission, the one that few others are aware, is that they were also sent to discover and hunt monsters. Their hunt has not been going well. Lewis is the one who chronicles the flora and the fauna, and Clark is the tactician, he also keeps the men in line. As boredom and unrest begins to set in, the expedition force encounters their first honest-to-God monster, and the encounter does not go well. After that first fateful encounter, dealing with monsters and the strange becomes a regular way of life that Lewis and Clark’s expeditionary force can’t hope to overcome, if not for the fierce aid of the “little Indian girl” named Sacagawea.

Holy cow! This series is a freaking blast! From page one, the creators create a building tension that creeps not just through the ranks of the enlisted men and the criminals in Lewis and Clark’s employ, but also through this reader, as I read through the first issue late one night. Geez Louise! I really, really want to spoil the monsters that appear in this book, but I’m going to bite my tongue and allow you to discover what awaits our “heroes” out in the wild as they encounter one horror after another. Dingess’s writing is fantastic — both dialogue, and journaled captions – and the characters are immediately established, including those with exceptionally short lifespans. I couldn’t put the book down.

Roberts’s art is gorgeous, occasionally reminding me of Tony Moore, and his storytelling is spot on, with his character acting driving home the creeping unease coursing throughout the book. We see the toll that exploring the unknown takes on Lewis and Clark’s “hardened” men, when they think no one is looking; the haunted look in their eyes tells us all we need to know. Then there is the attention to costuming, body language, and most important of all…the monsters. Again, no spoilers, but just know…wow!

If you like alternate history, horror, monster stories, or darn-good comic books, then there is absolutely no reason for you to pass on this awesome series. The trade retails for $9.99 — for six issues, mind you! — and you can get it for even less at Manifest Destiny is scary, exciting, and occasionally gross, but primarily it is a heck of a lot of fun…be sure to read it right before going to bed. I can’t wait to see what happens next. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Only One Book (Again) This Week?! - I know, I know. This is not an actual problem to have, but next week looks to have at least nine titles sitting in my pull. The thing is, writing FSoH/SitW takes me a long time. Writing semi-thoughtful comments / critiques does not come easy or naturally to me, which is part of the allure of writing this weekly post — that and sharing the love of the grooviest things I found that week, of course. With FSoH/SitW, I get to stretch different brainage muscles: changing the lyrics of a song to humorously reflect the comics I read that week; writing a little side story about Tulip and Obie; writing a positive critique of each work, and possibly adding my own experience(s) in life to the examination.  So, next week’s offering will probably see markedly shorter glimpses at each of the books that appear, as I have a suspicion that I am going to love them all. Again, how can reading too many awesome comic books ever be a problem?


Monday, June 16, 2014

Micronauts Monday 6/16/2014

Hey there, Donist World denizens. Welcome back to Micronauts Monday, where I talk about my longtime favorite comic book series The Micronauts. You'll get a summary of the issue, my remembered reaction/experience with the comic book as a kid, and my thoughts as an adult after rereading the issues over the past week. The Micronauts is the book that introduced me to the wonderful world of comic book addiction. The sad thing about this amazing series is--as I explained in the first post here--is that if you haven't read the comics, doing so is going to be a bit of a hunt, since reprinting rights are firmly wedged into a Prometheus Pit of a printing-rights purgatory. But don't despair, it can be done, you can find them. has most of the main series for a fairly inexpensive price. If you want to dip your toe into the glory that is the Microverse before committing to a hunt for individual issues, then you could also check out the five "Special Editions," which I believe had two or three issues included in each. Or, better yet, if you have an opportunity to do some longbox diving into the $.50-$1.00 bins at your LCS, then I'm sure you can find many issues there. My only caution here is that the story has a tremendous narrative that builds over the course of the series, one that deserves to be read in order, but that said, any Micronauts is good Micronauts! 

Thus far, we have looked at The Micronauts: The New Voyages 1–6 and although I am interested in where things are going, it still is not the The Micronauts series I loved with all my heart since I was a wee, little Donist. That’s okay, taking chances and experimenting has brought some pretty, dare I say say, “heavenly” comics that fans revisit often — just take a peeper at that barely-known Wolverine guy. My primary criticisms thus far of volume two have been that the characters have not quite rang true to what has already been established, the characters are more reactive than proactive as they wait around for things to happen to them, character design choices with Huntarr (again with the experimentation, though), and Commander Rann’s dawg-awful beard (which is honestly the fault of volume one’s creative team). Despite those quibbles, we still have 14 issues remaining in the second volume, and who knows where those might take us. Today, let’s check under the hood of issues 7–9 in…

Micronauts Monday

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Micronauts:
The New Voyages #7
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #7 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Rod Whigham, inked by Akin and Garvey, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Bob Sharen, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. Last issue, we got a look into Bug’s private thoughts and wildest dreams, so it’s only fair that we take a moment to look into Acroyear’s past. Acroyear has never really gotten over the fact that the woman who was once his wife, Cilicia, is pregnant with his child, yet wants nothing to do with him. As he imagines talking to the woman who was once his love, he recounts a tale of the time before they met, when a certain warrior maiden professed her love for him, and the tragedy that followed under Baron Karza’s shadow.

Young Donist - “What is going on? Okay, first Huntarr was his old, cool Silly-Putty looking self, then he became doofy looking, then he had teeth and looked better – but not as cool as his Silly-Putty days. Now we have Acroyear, who we had no idea what he looked like for something like ten issues, then we saw and it was cool, then he doubled in size, then he grew some tremendously boney brows to make him look like an old fogey, and now he's back to normal. I don’t get it. Anyhow, the story is weird. Amidst all of the MANY words, there’s something about some ruler guy, and his dad who is younger than the ruler guy…or something. Some new acroyear woman digs Acroyear — who wouldn’t? — and Acroyear is talking to Cilicia, who is there, but she really isn’t? I think I’ll go outside and play…I haven’t done that for a long time.” Young Donist would not recommend this issue.

Current Donist - Yup, like the Bug issue, this is another filler. Having two out of seven of the thus far published issues being filler does not bode well for this series. I definitely liked this story more than my younger self, but it would seem to be better suited as a back up tale, or possibly used — once shortened — in an annual. I definitely like Whigham’s less-lumpy looking take on Acroyear, but I absolutely LOVE Whigham’s space battles, ships, and cityscapes; they’re all quite beautiful. The story itself is fine, and one that would fit in better with volume one of The Micronauts since it deals with Baron Karza’s diabolical body banks. Aside from one panel, this story might very well have been from volume one, and the story tweaked to fit in with volume two. I liked the love and tragedy aspect, but it is primarily those lovely space battle scenes that allow me to say RECOMMENDED!

The Micronauts:
The New Voyages #8
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #8 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Kelley Jones, inked by Bruce Patterson, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Bob Sharen, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. The Micronauts are dying! Or rather, all except for Huntarr, whose mutated form has resisted the radiation poisoning that is killing his friends. But when the cosmic egg that powers the Endeavor II hatches a hideous creature, what secrets does the monster hold, and can Huntarr prevent it from killing his friends?

Young Donist - “Well it’s about dang time.” This is what Young Donist was waiting for, an actual threat. My heroes were sick and dying, and Huntarr was looking better than he ever had, and then a really cool monster arrives to cause havoc…or does he? I loved the awesome fight, and when the monster launches that horn into Huntarr’s body — again transforming him —the result was so gross and weird, that I could not help but be pulled back into the story; before this, I was nearly out the door. Not only that, Commander Rann loses that stupid beard!!! Victory!!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Current Donist - I agree completely with my younger self on this one. Jones’s storytelling takes giant leaps forward and kept me transfixed and totally feeling for that big lug Huntarr. The white alien monster is really groovy looking, and the battle between it and Huntarr is great, especially given the entire confrontation is a huge misunderstanding. I also love how bizarre the sci-fi gets once Huntarr is pierced and allowed to heal his comrades. We then see Mari sans clothing (whoa), Rann sans the beard (finally), and Bug in his relaxin’ outfit, but best of all is the touching second-to-the-last panel of Huntarr shedding a tear.

The exposition is not as brutal as it has been, either, and the story flow gives the impression that things are about to get moving, that there is a plan, and that the second volume of The Micronauts is finally about to start. I hope this trend continues, but for this issue, everything is working better than it has, and I can honestly say I’m excited to see what comes next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Micronauts:
The New Voyages #9
The Micronauts: The New Voyages #9 - Written by Peter B. Gillis, pencilled by Kelley Jones, inked by Bruce Patterson, lettered by Janice Chiang, colored by Bob Sharen, edited by Ralph Macchio, published by Marvel Comics. At the end of the first volume, the Micronaut Fireflyte had died and spun herself into a cocoon from which a new Devil emerged. Now, trapped alone on a devastated Homeworld, he takes a chance on a teleportation tube. That’s when things go wrong. Commander Rann telepathically picks up on Devil and his immense pain as it streams across the Microverse. Through the help of the Children of the Dreaming Star (the goofy pink aliens) and Solitaire — who is something more than she lets on — The Micronauts head to the Dreaming Star to find Devil’s rampant, pain-filled consciousness and hopefully restore their friend to normal.

Young Donist - “Well…that was short-lived. I am glad to see Devil back in the book, but dog doo if  Devil just never catches a break!” I was bummed to see the momentum from last issue stumble, but some of the cosmic imagery of Rann touching the conscious of the stars — or whatever was going on — was cool to see. Even though some of the pages looked cool, it wasn’t enough for Young Donist to stay awake as…<zzzzzzzzz> Young Donist would barely classify this as RECOMMENDED!

Current Donist - As usual, I liked this issue a little more than my younger self, but not by much. I greatly appreciate the crazy cosmic stuff, especially with Sharen’s colors returning to a style he used on the first ten issues of volume one. Jones’s art also looks pretty darn incredible during the cosmic-powered scenes as well. I mostly had trouble keeping up with the tons of words — don’t try to read this one if you are on the verge of exhaustion - but I do like Gillis’s decision to have Solitaire change shape into that of Rann’s mother, Sepsis, which is rather creepy in a cool way. Again, this is a dense read, and one you best be prepared for, but ultimately it is worth checking out. RECOMMENDED!

There you go. I’m immensely thankful for issue eight, without which I would have been inclined to drop the series. The Micronauts: The New Voyages looks to have hit its stride with both that issue and the heavy issue nine, and I hope the trend continues through to the end. I do know that the comic falls victim to the event that was “Secret Wars II,” but I promise to do my best to remain openminded for when that happens. Aside from that, the only thing I remember now is the coming of a new character, so rereading should be an interesting experience. I will say that I am looking forward to reading issue ten this evening. Anyhow…Did any of you denizens read this follow-up to one of the greatest comic series of all time? If so, what did you think of it? I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.

While writing this entry, I listened to the ever-lovely Julie London. I could honestly listen to her sing the ingredients list for a box of Wheaties and close my eyes to be wrapped in the heavenly bliss of her gorgeous voice. Of special note is her song “Cry Me A River” which appeared in the V For Vendetta movie. Check out her beautiful music when you have a chance.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 6/13/2014

(Sung to the tune of U2’s “One”)

My pull is feelin’ lighter
Than last last week it’s a shame
Where have all my comics gone?
Could Diamond be to blame?

I say, one book, in my pull
It’s The Sixth Gun, I’m good, yo
One book means pummeled later
Whateves, Cuz, I’m cool, I ain’t no hater

Hello there, denizens, and welcome back to Donist World. I’m joined as ever by our CFO Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier) and by marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / cloud based services specialist Tulip. The puppies are mad at me this week — when aren’t they ever mad at me — because they think I am to blame for the ridiculously light comic book week. Look, I prefer to have my books spread out evenly week to week, but no matter how many rage-filled letters I send to the comic book publishers, they are unwilling to bend to any personalized requests. Last week we had two books, this week one, next week looks to be one comic again, the week after that…at least nine. Oh well, I have a massive backlog of “flashback” titles to talk about, and last night I finished an AWESOME new trade from Image that you’ll have to wait to hear about next week (hint…it sounds like danifest mestiny), and I still have some The Micronauts: The New Voyages to talk about over the next few Mondays; we should be okay. The thing is, the puppies just don’t feel like working today and are using the light week as an excuse to get out of my monthly day-long (with a one hour break for lunch) “pow wow” on maintaining our status as a Fortune 320,000 company. Yes, we rehash the same material month-in and month-out, identify areas for marginal process improvement, and then proceed to do absolutely nothing about it so we can complain about the same crap the following month. Now that I think about it, a monthly day-long “pow wow” probably doesn’t benefit anyone, when a 10-minute-long “catch up” meeting would be more productive and less demoralizing. Nah! Obie chewed up our office (my mom’s basement) carpet the other day as Tulip watched, so this meeting will be their punishment. It. Is. On! While I gather the troops, have a look at…

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Sixth Gun #41
The Sixth Gun #41 - Written by Cullen Bunn, Illustrated by Tyler Crook, colored by Bill Crabtree, lettered by Crank!, designed by Keith Wood, edited by Charlie Chu, published by Oni Press. Well, denizens, I’ve made my thought about “events” and “crossovers” pretty apparent: no, sir, I don’t like ’em. Now, this statement is not always true. Heck, just last week, Swamp Thing had a crossover with Aquamanand before that was the awesome Chew Revival one-shot that I enjoyed quiet a bit. What I’m trying to say is that my broad statement has exceptions. I’ve also griped a bit about the oft dreaded “annual,” but something I do not believe I have ever complained about is the “filler” issue. Over the decades as a comic lover, I have been burned by the “filler” issue many a time, but again, that does not mean all such issues are bad. Every once in a while, an issue comes along to give either the writer or artist, or both, a buffer and the main story pauses a moment to develop a side story, or to put the spotlight on a little-seen character and round them out for the reader. Such is the case with The Sixth Gun #41.

Griselda the Grey Witch, mother of the diabolical General Oliander Bedford Hume, has a centuries-long past primarily lost to time, but no longer. In this issue, you learn of Griselda’s childhood, and of the events that made her what she is today. We also see those who she calls her “sisters.” The tale is not pretty.

This is how you do a filler issue. There is no need to take an entire story arc of six issues to delve into the history of this mysterious character when a one-shot is enough to provide insight into Griselda, while maintaining enough mystery to keep her an interesting threat. Tyler Crook is the guest artist on this issue, but he is no stranger to the world of The Sixth Gun, having previously stood in for an issue about Asher Cobb, and another about Kirby Hale; each is great. Crook’s style fits in with the world of The Sixth Gun, and his storytelling skills mesh well between Brian Hurtt’s regular issues, especially when Bill Crabtree’s vibrant color palette bridges the two seamlessly.

Bunn’s story is a harsh history lesson on what brought about not just the Grey Witch, but also the reason for why the “six” were created in the first place, and true to the creator’s love of horror and the supernatural, the story delivers some great moments. Griselda’s “sisters” are awesome and creepy — especially with Crabtree’s pulsing reds lighting the darkness — and the single page of the six changing shape throughout the course of history was great to see, offering much left to the imagination as to how they could be used and their effects. Bunn also doesn’t hesitate to “go there” with the Grey Witch’s choice to father her child. <brrrrrrrrrr> <squirm>

Yes, this is a filler issue, but it is one that provides a bit of clarity to the grand story at hand. Of course I want to get back to Becky and Drake after they have lost friend after friend in quick succession and the tension mounts after having also lost all five of their guns. Dang, how I can’t wait to get back to things, but if the creators are going to take an issue’s break, then one that fills in some of the gaps and questions I’ve had is fine by me. The next issue shows Becky and Drake on the cover, and for some reason Becky has one of the six in her hand, so more questions and a painful wait are in store for us. Not only that, come August, what I believe to be a six-issue mini-series called The Sixth Gun: Days of Dead arrives with none other than Mike Norton taking on the art duties as Bunn and Hurtt share the writing. It has never been a better time to be a The Sixth Gun fan. RECOMMENDED!

Cannon HC
Cannon HC Everythinged by Wallace Wood, published by Fantagraphics. Here’s what this book is: hardcover, black and white, 292 pages, wide format, originally published in the ’60s for the US military newspaper Overseas Weekly, not subject to censorship laws of the time. What that means for us adult readers — sorry, kids, this is not for you! — is nekkid ladies, spy action, nekkid ladies, guns, nekkid ladies, Hitler, nekkid ladies, frequent plastic surgery to change one’s appearance, nekkid ladies, Weasel, nekkid ladies, wicked evildoers, nekkid catfights, nekkid ladies, incompetent bosses, nekkid ladies, jets, and so much more…including nekkid ladies!

Being a child of the ’70s, there’s plenty of things I was not aware of from the previous decade. Take for instance the fact that if a woman ever used her home telephone, she had to do so while being nude. Maybe phones in the ’60s would inadvertently set women’s clothes on fire, or perhaps the telephony wavelength rendered their clothing invisible. Why would I say such a thing? Well, within the pages of this gorgeous collection, anytime a woman is on the phone, she is nude, with the only exception occurring when a woman answers a phone while at work. When that happens, the telephony waves compel women to want the handsome John Cannon somethin’ fierce. Who wouldn’t want John Cannon? He’s the formerly brainwashed super-spy with an eye for the mission —and a knack for gaining the attention of every woman who crosses his path, including his enemies. I was also unaware that if you needed an effective disguise, then nothing beats a quick plastic surgery, which you would then have reversed after the mission was over. Who knew?

All joking aside, both the presentation and design of the physical book itself and everything contained on the pages within are without a doubt of the highest quality. In fact, Cannon is one of the most beautifully made books in my home — if only it had a ribbon bookmark. The interior is all Wallace Wood art…do I really need to say anything else? As much I love the build of the actual book, NOTHING beats the gorgeous art inside. There is a reason why Wood is considered a master, which is clear on each page of this comic strip series. The character design, the character acting, the background scenery, the use of blacks and halftones and negative space, and his command of depicting the human form — both men and women…especially the women — is without compare. Even more tremendous is Wood’s storytelling as the art/action of each panel carries your eye from one to the next, and we see his “22 Panels That Always Work” come to life.

The overall story is comprised of many different storylines covering a wealth of situations from exciting and pulse-pounding action, to office politics, to the just plain ridiculous, but the most important thing is this book is a blast to read. I suspect that some might consider the written stories as being “of a time,” but I doubt anyone can say the art is anything but timeless. I am so happy to own this absolute treasure, and I hope you can find a copy for yourself before they are all gone; Fantagraphics is said to only be printing this volume the once. I would also like to thank the 11 O’Clock Comics podcast, my favorite comic book podcast for a few years now (I owe them an iTunes review) for pointing me in the direction of this must-own book. Be warned…roughly 20% of the 292 pages DON’T have nekkid ladies on them; I thought you should know. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Flashback Friday:
The Mask
Marshal Law #1
The Mask Marshal Law #1–2 - Written by Pat Mills, illustrated by Kevin O'Neill, lettered by Ellie Deville, colored by Dave Stewart, designed by Kristen Burda, edited by Scott Allie, published by Dark Horse Comics. (this first paragraph is from my post of 4/11/2014) 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 the collection? Hmmmm...let's see.

With only one comic sitting in my pull this week, and only two last week — I know I'm going to get walloped in the near future — I thought it best to wrap up my coverage of all things Marshal Law while I had a bit of a breather. And what a title to “end” things on than The Mask Marshal Law crossover that would become the final —as of today — Marshal Law comic book.

The Mask was an important comic in the early ’90s that I unfortunately never read at the time, but the mini-series gained popularity and the attention of Hollywood, resulting in The Mask movie, which I remember enjoying when it came out, and is one I hope to rewatch in the near future. The important thing to remember is the character appears in the pages of my Donist World darling Marshal Law. 

SHOCC (Super Hero Operational Command Control) has the catatonic Danny Mallon, the super-powered serial killer once known as the Sleepman, under their control and have scheduled the monster for a top-secret experiment. Danny is also the son of the defamed and dead Public Spirit (a Superman analog), but more importantly, Danny was the one who murdered Marshal Law’s girlfriend many years ago. The Marshal has not forgotten this. When the Sleepman comes back to life thanks to SHOCC’s mystical artifact, it’s up to Marshal Law to call off his pending retirement, and put down the vastly more powerful monster once and for all.

The short of it is that Youngish Donist (these came out in 1998) loved these two issues, and Current Donist liked it every bit as much. What is sad is that the two-issue mini ends on a crazy note that could have taken a followup mini in countless awesome directions, but alas it was not meant to be…for now — there is, however, a novella with a few illustrations available that I have not yet read. This series was released in 1998 and in 1999 Kevin O’Neill began illustrating The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and has been working on that series ever since…can you blame him for putting everything else on the back burner?

This mini is a return to form of what I loved most about the early Marshal Law works in both tone and look. It’s in color, unlike the Savage Dragon crossover, and is printed on a non-glossy paper with better printing that avoids the muddied look of the Hellraiser crossover that lessened my enjoyment of that particular series. We finally get to see the return of the Sleepman, and the introduction of the Mask is the perfect way to kickstart the story and give Marshal Law the kick in the pants he needed. Although I miss Razorhead and Suicida in this issue, the introduction of the Marshal’s replacement, Gale Force, is a great addition and someone I wish I could see more of. Who knows, with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen wrapping up in the near future, maybe a Mills and O’Neill reunion on one of my favorite comics of the past three decades is in order…they can definitely count on a sale from ol’ Donist. If you are a fan of Marshal Law, or a fan of The Mask, then picking up this great crossover is something you simply must do. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Teacher Tenure Rejected In California - <sigh> A California judge just rejected teacher tenure in California in a case brought by plaintiffs, backed by a Silicon Valley millionaire, saying tenure protection deprives students of a decent education. You can read about this here. The whole “terrible teachers are running rampant and destroying our children’s chance for a decent education” rhetoric is tiring. Yes, there are indeed SOME bad teachers out there —I’ve had a couple in my life — but the fact of the matter is that despite that ONE history teacher I had in high school for 50 minutes a day, Monday through Friday, for a single school year, that ONE history teacher in no way deprived me of an education. I would go home, bust out the history book, read it, take notes, do the exercises, turn them in on time, and get As and Bs in a subject that bored me to tears as taught by an uninterested teacher. Why is this? Because my single, low-income, over-worked mother pushed my brother and I to do our homework and to do well. She did not give a shit that the teacher was “boring” or that he/she mumbled to the point I could not understand him/her. It was up to me to do well. Thankfully, I was not in a classroom bursting with students, or where one or two emotionally disturbed or severely defiant children were allowed to ruin class on a daily basis for everyone, because an ineffective school administration allowed such to occur.

Now, tenure law does need to be changed to allow an ineffective / poor teacher to be fired with cause provided proper documentation and possibly a review of independent mediators to avoid personal conflicts between the parties of administrator and educator. Why does tenure even have to exist in schools? Well, for one, to prevent administrators from firing an individual for personal reasons, but currently to prevent good and great teachers with higher salaries from being fired when the next round of draconian budget cuts are forced upon our schools. The promise of tenure is a huge draw to the educational profession, especially in today’s climate where the term “job security” is becoming more and more of a joke.

But why do these millionaires care? The text book industry is huge business. Standardized testing is huge business. Consultants based upon these industries are huge business. Converting public schools to for-profit schools is huge business.

How to fix schools? Restore funding, smaller class sizes, review school administrators, restore funding for programs for highly-troubled kids so they cannot destroy the learning experience for other children, and a renewed value prioritization of public education. We also need to cease attempting to lump every single, vastly different child into the same test score bucket. But the problem goes so far beyond just the school. Situations need to change at home — parents need to read to their kids, actually talk to them, need to feed them, need to not abuse them, need to encourage them, need to teach them self-accountability. Adjusting tenure laws is ALSO a necessary component to remove the small percentage of “bad” teachers out there, but removing tenure all together is a recipe destined to increase the “failure” of our public schools, opening the door even wider to for-profit schools.