Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/17/2014

(Sung to the tune of Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”)

So you’re wonderin’ ’bout which books you gotta read tonight
Your LCS has tons of stuff, but your wallet hurts, amiright?
Now, I won’t be glib, this here Donist don’t fib, Deadly Class is out of sight.
Though the truth I must tell ya, Trees sure rocks
but I guess I gotta say

Supreme: Blue Rose…I don’t know
Just like…what the heck’s goin’ on?
Just like…the art’s gorgeous, I’d never steer you wrong
Supreme: Blue Rose’s still strong, yeah it is

Death of the
Red Cosmonaut
Welcome back to Donist World! I’m sort of joined as ever by CFO Obie (my friends’s Boston terrier) and by marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / cool weather aficionado Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). The reason I say “sort of” for Obie is that he is “working remotely” from his home and is not at the Donist World corporate office (my mom’s basement). You see, Obie is in lockdown and being punished by his owners for trashing yet another one of the toddler’s toys (see the image of the mangled figure). Now, Obie, of course, claims he is innocent and that the kid chewed up his own toy, but to be honest, I’ve never seen a two-year-old with incisors that can do that level of damage. He further says he is not suffering from jealousy or any of the, as he puts it, “weaker emotions,” and that he was indeed framed. <sigh> Although, on our live chat this morning, I did get him to state that if he ever did chew up a red spaceman toy, it would be because it symbolized a communist cosmonaut, which goes against him being a blue-blooded American businessman. Yeah, I ain’t buying it either. Regardless, Obie’s actions have consequences, and if his extracurricular destructive activities further degrade his job performance, then I might have to consider my options…Speaking of which, do any of you denizens know of any high-level executives who will work for kibble? Donist World also offers a robust benefit package including leftover scrambled egg bits, tummy rubs, and the occasional game of fetch. Just putting my feelers out there. Anyhow, here comes Tulip with my morning coffee, so have a look at this week’s…

Friday Slice of Heaven

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Deadly Class #8
Deadly Class #8 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, colored by Lee Loughridge, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. *WARNING, this is not a book for kids, mature readers only, denizens.* Rick Remender has been on a creator-owned roll for a while now. With his fantastic comics Black Science and Low demanding sci-fi lover’s attention, Deadly Class is the most grounded in “reality” of his three titles and is one I have greatly enjoyed, but…I’m predominantly a sci-fi / horror / fantasy guy and Low is his book that grabs me the most. This issue, however, dang…just dang! It’s a rough read, but so very, very good.

Chester Wilson. That’s the name of the psychopath linked to Marcus’s past, the very same psychopath who took Chico’s dead body. Knowing his past cannot be kept secret any longer, Marcus reveals the darkest corner of his past to someone other than his girlfriend.

I loved the first issue of this series, and really liked everything that came after, but this issue completely grabbed me. Deadly Class #8 is messed up, denizens…utterly messed up, and I was transfixed from page two through to the end. Remender finally lets us into Marcus’s past, and it is abhorrently not pretty. We also gain the name of the psychopath, Chester Wilson, and learn what exactly happened to his face, and how Marcus was at the center of it all. Everything from the orphanage / sweatshop, to the treatment of the children by the guards (armed with bats and guns no less), to the treatment of the children by the other children, to the hypocrisy of this being a religious institution, to the portrait of Ronald Reagan set near Jesus and presiding over all the abused kids is heartbreaking and a shade terrifying. In a way it makes sense that Marcus decides to take the route he does, which further disturbs me to no end. This issue fills the gap of what happened at the orphanage, as we see the extensive abuse and humiliation Marcus endured at the hands of those in charge, as well as a hint of the torment Chester routinely unleashed upon him; all in all, nine years of daily suffering. The entire flashback of this issue offers critical insight into Marcus’s character, and is one that left me startled, angry, horrified, happy that Marcus found a way out, and then horrified again that I was cheering the protagonist’s solution, the only way out he could find.

The art on this book is my favorite to date. Not because of Craig’s gorgeous line work, or Loughridge’s limited-rendering-yet-powerfully-presented colors, but because of the combined impact of both. This issue is mostly flashback, with the first three and final two pages being set in a drab, desaturated cool color scheme that conveys the dark mood of the lead character. Every page of the flashback is handled in monochromatic yellows, or greens, or oranges, with the exception of two panels that receive a striking complementary color scheme to shock the reader. Loughridge brilliantly uses the value change of what is essentially one color to draw the eye where it is most needed, while simultaneously enveloping the reader in the mood of the scene. To add to this effect, all of Craig’s linework — some of his best to date — is knocked out and replaced with a darkest value of the dominant color possible; the only black to be found in the flashback is on the balloons, tails, and text. Although what we see is actually deeply disturbing, the art presented is utterly gorgeous.

Just to be clear, I had no intention of dropping Deadly Class from my pull. I merely liked Remender’s other two creator-owned books more, but with the beautifully presented and emotionally charged nature of this month’s offering, it is safe to say I am liking this title every bit as much as Low and Black Science. You can easily catch up with the first trade (issues 1–6 at $9.99 retail!) and the two issues that follow. Again, this is definitely on the “For Mature Readers” spectrum, but if you are a “Mature Reader” and you want to read a comic about a messed up teen (and rightfully so) who is invited to join a school for assassins, then what are you waiting for? This book is for you. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Trees #6
Trees #6 - Written by Warren Ellis, art by Jason Howard, lettered by Fonografiks, published by Image Comics. Eligia’s distaste for Tito grows once she learns how he makes ends meet. Far, far away, in the artists’ world of Shu, Chenglei is reeling from the previous night spent with the trans woman, Zhen, as the military continues its surveillance. The mysterious flowers continue to take root, only in the oddest of places.

Not much happens in this issue regarding the Trees, and what we do see is relegated to but a page or two. Instead, Ellis delves into the characters of Eligia, and Chenglei. I’m uncertain as to what Eligia has planned, but the Chenglei side of the story is so heartfelt, so touching, that I cannot help but feel he is doomed as evidenced by the military presence and the appearance of the drone flying through Shu. The story is building to…something…but I don’t know if it is human against human death and destruction, or if the Trees are actually going to wake up; I have a feeling it will be the former.

Howard’s art is all about the character acting, drama, and mood in this issue and it is one of his strongest to date. This can be seen in the panel with the three military men filming Shu, and the sheer malevolence of the one’s face, or on Eligia’s expressions that tell you what she thinks of Tito’s source of revenue. As fantastic as Howard is at drama, I do, however, love the full-page splash of the little vehicle covered in black flowers out on the ice near the Trees. This is another beautiful issue.

We are no closer to seeing the Trees do anything than we were in the first issue, but that’s okay. This comic isn’t about the “alien invasion,” but rather about humanity and the struggles of some to find acceptance, and for others to take every damn thing they can from whoever they wish. If you want superheroes punching each other in the face, or aliens tearing each other apart, then this is not the book for you. If you want a smartly written look at the state of the world after alien life arrives, and how that really does not change humanity’s actions all that much, then you should definitely check this one out. RECOMMENDED!

Supreme: Blue Rose #4
Supreme: Blue Rose #4 - Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Tula Lotay, lettered by Richard Starkings, designed by John Roshell, published by Image Comics. Diana Dane meets Doc Rocket, an Albert Einstein looking chap with pink paint covering his face and spacesuit, and who has a taste for rye whiskey (don’t we all, denizens?). He turns out to be a speedster who runs off to the weird bar where the super-hot redhead with cleavage molecules talks to him about other dimensions and times and Supremes happening, but not necessarily needed…and wait, what?!…and pizza…beer…puppies…puppies…puppies…herp derp?

Ugh…okay, sorry about that. I was attempting to read Supreme: Blue Rose and made it right to the end and the next thing I know I wake up on the floor, two hours later, with a Taco Bell Nacho Supreme tray resting on my chest. I think that is my id / ego / superego telling me that synthetic-cheese-covered stale chips is the extent of anything “Supreme” I am capable of understanding. Criminy. Okay, I’m mostly kidding, I was able to actually follow more of this issue than last month’s, but dang if I did not have to dump some ginko bilboa into my coffee to get to even that level of comprehension. Basically, to quote Doc Rocket as he holds a lowball of rye, “I don’t understand. I suspect I’m going to need this.” Indeed, Doc Rocket…indeed.

Tula Lotay’s art is beyond gorgeous in this issue. I LOVED the scenes of Doc Rocket running at supersonic speed through the world and the bending of light as he travels; it simply must be seen to be appreciated. Then we get more of the lovely Zayla (molecule cleavage lady), who is very easy to look at, even when she is holding up a writhing eyeball — don’t ask. Lotay’s art alone is enough to warrant checking out this title.

So, yes. Only a step or two closer to understanding what the heck is going on in this book, and so very many, many more steps to enlightenment ahead of me. I’m sticking around, though. I want to understand what is going on, and I definitely want to see more of Lotay’s work. This is a complex series, denizens, but Supreme: Blue Rose is still worth checking out. RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Anita Sarkeesian Cancels Speaking Engagement In Utah — Are you kidding? Sarkeesian just had to cancel her speaking engagement in Utah after a very specific death threat was issued to both her and any who would have attended the event. Why? All because Sarkeesian would like to see better depictions of women in video games and she is brave enough to say as much.

Death threats for a critic? How absolutely insane is that? Want to know what is equally insane? Utah has conceal-carry laws in effect that would prevent  any type of security screening for weapons to protect attendees. So, a critic can’t speak their mind because they are a woman? Not only that, a nutjob (like the one at UCSB who killed people all but three miles away from my house) would be allowed to walk into an event, fully armed, with the intent to kill, while having their “right” to conceal-carry maintained? This is so very wrong on so many levels.


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