Friday, December 25, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 12/26/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Saga, Deadly Class, and Chew

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / reindeer-in-training Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). As I’ve explained over the past couple FSoH/SitW posts, Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap. Anywho… Yeah, we saw Star Wars…BOOM! It ruled, and Reverse Obie was able to talk his and Tulip’s way into the theater so that they too could enjoy the awesome film as well. This post is going to be a bit shorter because of…well…it’s Christmas, dagnabbit! I know that many of you don’t celebrate Christmas, which is great as the holiday is mostly one of stress stress and more stress, but let’s all avoid that noise and come together over that which unifies us all: great comic books. So, whether you are heading out to see Star Wars for the 12th time, or you have to wait a couple more days, then set yourself up for some tasty holiday tacos, or maybe one of those barfy eggnog things — how about a great ginger ale instead? — rewatch the real three movies, and most of all read some great comics. Take care. Thank you for reading!

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Saga #32
Saga #32 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, lettered and designed by Fonografiks, coordinated by Eric Stephenson, published by Image Comics. After a brief check-in with Hazel last month, we learn what Marko and Alana have been up to these past few years. Hint…doing everything in their power to reunite themselves with their daughter.

There’s never been a “bad issue” of Saga. Not a one. There might have been a slower issue here or there, but each of those tend to be better than most everything else you’ll find on the stands. Some might classify this issue as one of the “slower” ones, but not this here Donist. Sure, I love to see crazy fight scenes, and groovy spaceship battles, and disturbingly hilarious (keyword: disturbingly) images of dragons and giants forever scorched into my brain, but this issue brings me back to what made me fall in love with Saga in the first place: Marko and Alana’s love for one another. The cover this month alone made me smile upon seeing my favorite couple finally together again. Yes, Denizens, Donist is an ol’ softy for this type of stuff, but having such beautifully developed characters, such stunning art, and such a grand story come together to make a comic book so thoroughly endearing I can’t imagine a world without it.

You’re reading this. You have to be reading this! I know your reading this! Right?! If not, and you’ve been following me for a length of time, then you’ve read my exceedingly positive thoughts about each and every issue of this fantastic series. It is true that The Walking Dead and Chew brought Image back into the public mind, but Saga is the comic that led the onslaught of the truly wonderful comics we’ve been seeing for the past couple of years. If you are new to Saga or my site, and you finally just said, “Alrighty then, Donist, I’ll read this dang funny book that has so thoroughly captured and warmed your cold dark heart, but where do I start?” That’s easy. Just pick up the first five trades, or jump on in with the lovely oversized hardcover, and you’ll be set right with one of the best comics of the past five years. Oh yeah, this issue also has a Friendo appearance. Friendo!!! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Deadly Class #17
Deadly Class #17 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, colored by Jordan Boyd, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics. Before being invited to attend Kings Dominion Atelier of the Deadly Arts, Marcus had a difficult life. Now it looks to become positively insane as the school headmaster gives out the final exam: kill the rats.

Okay, this is what I have been waiting for with this series. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed Deadly Class since the first issue, but at moments during the last story arc I have to admit my interest was beginning to wane a bit. I wasn’t going to stop reading the series, just take a break. Y’know, switch to trades or somethin’. But I only had three books in my pull this week, so I thought why not? I’m glad I didn’t wait.

Holy moly! This issue is intense! It is full on Battle Royale as the students turn upon one another in an effort to “kill the rats.” It is violent, bloody, disturbing, yet Remender sneaks in some humorous moments with the murderous cheerleading squad, and the deadly linebacker. Above all, this issue is a showcase of Craig’s ability to deliver amazingly tense scenes through high panel counts and angled panels — for the more insane moments — all accentuating his already phenomenal storytelling ability. Add Boyd’s equally intense color palette to Craig’s killer (get it) line work and every panel of every page succeeds in keeping the reader on edge. You really need to see the overhead view found in the first panel on page four as the carnage from the auditorium spills into the brightly-lit hall with blood and weapons and mayhem and each person’s tiny shadow paints the floor, making your heart beat that much faster.

The delirious action of this issue alone is enough to bring me back into the arms of this series, but the rise to prominence of one person in particular — no, not Marcus — made me go “Oh…I can’t wait to see how this plays out.” If, like me, you were thinking of taking a break from Deadly Class, don’t; now is definitely not the time. If you have not been reading this series, and you are cool with the more violent moments of say a Tarrantino film, then by all means dive in to this great series about a school for assassins set in the ’80s and you won’t be disappointed. There are three trades currently available. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew #53
Chew #53 - Written and lettered by John Layman, illustrated and colored by Rob Guillory, color assists by Taylor Wells, published by Image Comics. Tony and Mason have a sit down to discuss the avian flu and the writing in the sky. Too bad about all the bad blood between them.

Crud. It’s really happening. The end of the most unique comic on the stands is just around the corner, and that kind of bums me out…not enough to not read it, though. What can you expect from this issue besides the wackiness, the grand story, the cool characters, the beautiful art with the vibrant colors and life found in every page? More of the same. What more do you need? Seriously. It’s an amazing comic that is rapidly — much too rapidly — approaching its end, and it continues to be as great as it was in the beginning.

Yeah, it’s a bit too late to jump into this series with the floppies, unless someone sells them all to you in one fell swoop. However, it is not too late to find out what all the hubbub is about, Bub. You can catch up with the ten trades, or, better yet, with the beautiful, oversized hardcovers known as the Omnivore Editions (I have these and they are great! I gushed about them here). However you choose to read Chew, just be sure you are reading this fantastic series. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - I ain’t getting into it right now, just know that I completely LOVED this movie. Like Young Donist in the ’70s, I intend to watch this movie again and again and again and again and again… VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Ending Things Here - Hey, it’s the holidays, dagnabbit. I gots things to do! No song this weeks, just warm wishes to all the Donist World Denizens out there, and a heartfelt thanks to you for reading. Take care. All the best. –Donist


Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 12/18/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Descender, Tokyo Ghost, and Weirdworld

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / resident puppy Jedi Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). As I’ve explained over the past couple FSoH/SitW posts, Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap. Today, we are barricaded in the corporate office (Mom’s basement) as we attempt to avoid all the spoilery Star Wars merchandising, trailers, reviews, interviews, and whatnot assaulting us at every turn. Make no mistake, Denizens, the Force is indeed with us, we just don’t want the Force of Disney’s marketing campaign to ruin anything for us before we’ve had a chance to see the dang movie. So, whether you are heading out to see Star Wars later today, or you have to wait a couple more days like we do, then set yourself up for some tasty tacos — how about a great ginger ale? — rewatch the real three movies, and most of all read some great comics. Take care. Thank you for reading!

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Descender #8
Descender #8 - Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics. When Andy was a young boy, he had a robot companion named Tim-21, who he loved and called his brother. That was then. That was before the coming of the Harvesters. Now, Andy is a scrapper, a robot hunter, and he has partnered with the alien Blugger to find Tim-21, but does Andy mean to save his brother…or scrap him?

Finally finally FINALLY! A new issue of my favorite new comic of 2015 has arrived. And when I say “finally,” Denizens, I don’t mean to imply that the book was late — in fact it was right on schedule — but what I mean to say is that one week, let alone a month, is too long to wait for this simply fantastic book. In case you haven’t picked up on my love for this comic with every glowing review of every past issue, it’s probably for the best if I restate everything that works in this amazing new sci-fi series.

You can’t go wrong with an already established creator like Lemire writing the story he wants to tell as he wishes to tell it. Descender is a futuristic story where the nine core worlds of the galaxy are attacked by immense robots which vanish as quickly as they appeared, but not before billions of lifeforms have perished. Ten years later, a “companion” bot (not that kind, sickos!) awakens on an abandoned mine and who might hold the key to the secrets of the Harvesters. Sounds simple enough, but Lemire has so many complex and intriguing characters, such as Tim-21, Dr. Quon, Telsa, Psius, Andy, and others, that even though we still know little about many of them, the brief glimpses into their backgrounds you do get are enough to pull the reader completely into the characters. Even the less-complex characters (at least they’re less-complex for the time being) like Bandit (robotic dog) or Driller (the “real killer” mining bot) are pure creativity, and all coolness. Every character has more going on than you see, and Lemire makes you care about them all within a few panels of their introductions.

The story, as I’ve said before, reminds me of the best ’80s sci-fi movies and comics, where the tale being spun was infinitely more important than a bunch of CGI-type action moments or chases. Descender focuses on world building and strong character development to move the story, which it does with tremendous success, and of course there are moments that are particularly cinematic, but at no time does spectacle ever overshadow the grand tale being told. That said, there is no better way to make a stellar story spectacular than to have Nguyen provide the visuals.

Criminy, Denizens, this comic is heavenly. Nguyen’s watercolor paintings are something to behold. Yes, there are insanely cool aliens, bizarre tech, desaturated flashbacks, expansive galaxies awash with stars, and otherworldly cities to keep you coming back to revisit every page, but Nguyen’s refusal to allow beautiful subtleties such as the detail of Andy’s hair (page 1, panel 6) to be glossed over or rushed allows even the must mundane of moments to shine; every panel is worthy of your time and appreciation.

Descender is a lovely comic, one you will return to multiple times whether you want to excavate story clues you might have previously missed, or you wish to revisit the striking art, or to re-experience the grand story which is sure to pull sci-fi lovers in deep and keep them there. In fact, I just reread the first six issues with the double-dipped trade (ridiculously priced cheap and a must-buy / must-gift for all), and I was every bit as enamored with this amazing tale as I was with my initial read…if not more so. Trust me on this one, you need to be reading Descender, it is definitely the best new comic to come out of 2015. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Tokyo Ghost #4
Tokyo Ghost #4 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Sean Murphy, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Led Dent (aka Teddy) and Debbie Decay have found their paradise in Tokyo. Unfortunately for the amorous couple, the past comes back to haunt them.

Remender and Murphy’s futureistic tale of tech addiction and codependency continues with a knockdown, drag out brawl to end all brawls. The lead characters have resorted to some fairly drastic measures in their previous lives as constables, and those actions are what follow them to peaceful, tech-free Tokyo. However, those seeking payback haven’t exactly lived the lives of darling little angels themselves, having set in motion all the violence and hate to begin with. Who’s right, who’s wrong, who took things too far depends on which side you are standing on. This Donist is almost always against the bullies, but I have to admit Teddy might have taken things to an unnecessary level. Yowsers. As cool as the revenge upon revenge angle is in this issue, the battle seemed to go on a tad too long, but not enough to lessen my enjoyment of this issue, especially given the final panel cliffhanger that has me eager for the next installment.

One thing is for certain if you are going to have a fight scene push the limits of reader attention spans, there is no better artist suited for the job than Sean Murphy. Yes the fight goes on too long, and the degree of punishment unleashed upon poor Teddy is extreme, but Murphy keeps your eyes coasting from panel to panel, page to page with his storytelling mastery. Even as many key moments in the battle shift toward silhouettes, the effect coupled with Hollingsworth’s primarily red and blue colors, succeeds in intensifying the battle to new heights. The visuals are simply lovely.

So, yeah, even though the battle carried on too long in this issue, the creators are so skilled at their craft that this is just a minor quibble. I love Debbie (not to mention Murphy has me crushing on her a bit, too) Teddy / Led, Kazumi, and the idea of tech-free Tokyo. This title serves as a reminder of how pervasive tech has become in our lives and the degree to which our attention spans have lessened as a result of a constant barrage of both self-imposed and unintentional interruptions in our lives. Although each issue of Tokyo Ghost leaves me thinking for days afterwards, not just about where we are and where we are headed, but also about the cool characters and the fantastic story these creators are telling. You need to be reading this awesome futuristic, sci-fi, dystopian comic. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Weirdworld #1
Weirdworld #1 - Written by Sam Humphries, illustrated and colored by Mike Del Mundo, color assists by Marco D’Alfonso, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics. All Becca Rodriguez wanted was to get to Guadalajara, Mexico, but thanks to a muppet-reject of a creepy wizard, her plane was pulled out of the sky and to the nightmarish realm known only as…Weirdworld.

After Jason Aaron’s awesome run on what was arguably the best thing to come out of the whole Secret Wars event — which is still going on btw — Sam Humphries dons the writing mantle for what is sure to be Marvel’s weirdest book hitting the stands. In fact, Humphries doesn’t miss a beat as he introduces us to Earth girl Becca and to Goleta, the barbarian woman with a mad hate-on for all things of a wizardly nature. “But what about our favorite punching bag? What about Arkon?” you ask. Well, he’s right there on page three (which is part of a stoopidly gorgeous double-page spread, btw), and that is the only time you will see him for the remainder of the issue. A weird choice given the mini-series was all about Arkon, but that’s okay. There is so much insanity happening in this hit-the-ground-running story, that I honestly did not miss Arkon; never fear, Denizens, I’m sure he will be showing up soon enough. The book is a blast from page one and I smiled through the dialogue, the monsters, the awesome Goleta, and the bizarre Ogeode (hey…wasn’t that the name of the wizard in the Crystar comic?), all the way until the stunning dark reveal on the third to the last page. I won’t spoil what goes down, but I will say that when Marvel decides to allow a creator to go dark with a story, they let them go dark. Criminy.

One thing that does not change on this new series is Del Mundo on art. With the mini, I often extolled the storytelling, the choreography, the character design, the colors…practically everything. I also stated how I wanted to see a time lapse video of Del Mundo creating one of these otherworldly pages, because I kind of think the guy is tapping into some magical realms of his own in order to deliver this gorgeous comic. With this issue, and the page two and three double-page spread in particular, he actually surpasses the already phenomenal art from the mini-series. Even if you don’t dig the thrilling story as much as I do, you must check out the crazy illustrations and colors. So lovely.

I don’t blame you if you missed the “Volume 0” Secret Wars tie-in mini-series. Hey, these Big Two events can totally suck your hard-earned money right out of your wallet if you aren’t careful, but now that the event is over — at least all aspects of the event other than the actual main Secret Wars title — it is safe to wade in and test the waters with some of the more heavenly tie-ins, which you can do with the recently released Weirdworld Volume 0 TPB! You don’t need to read the mini, but with Aaron and Del Mundo setting some great groundwork you will be better prepared for what looks to be a helluva ride with Humphries and Del Mundo on this new series. Stay weird, Denizens, stay weird. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - No, I have not seen the movie yet. I probably won’t be able to get to the theater until Tuesday, which is a bummer, but I’ll get there soon enough. Heck yeah, I will! Anyways, I just wanted to briefly retell my first encounter with Star Wars. As longtime Denizens know, I’m on the older side of the equation, which means I was a kid when Star Wars came out, and I was still a kid for the releases of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The level of anticipation to see all three is something I expect will never be surpassed.

I remember the first time I saw the Star Wars trailer. We were visiting my grandparents in Santa Barbara, CA, from Akron, OH, and I was watching either Gumby or the roller derby on TV, and it cut to a Cal Worthington used car commercial, which was then followed by something that melted my six-year-old mind. Star Wars. Holy guacamole, Denizens, this trailer had outer space stuff, monsters, robots, armored guys, and glowing swords. I was transfixed by what I saw, and I might have possibly peed — just a little — because of my excitement. But here’s the problem: we were set to leave Santa Barbara to go back home before the movie premiered. My poor, wee Donist mind was in a whirlwind panic as it did not occur to me that the movie would indeed follow us across the country. It was clear to me that this movie was going to be a life changing event, and I had to be there to see it. After frantically telling my mom that we needed to cancel our return trip home until we saw Star Wars, she eventually talked me down until I hesitantly believed her when she explained that even the lost land of Akron would get Star Wars.

She was right. Star Wars indeed came to Ohio, and I went to see it seven times, which was nowhere near enough; the movie was more than I could have hoped for. Now, as a much older kid, I kind of have that same feeling of excitement building within me in spite of the cynicism that being an adult tends to foster. Screw adult cynicism. I’m gonna see me some Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I can’t wait.

Slice into the Woods

The Star Wars Merchandising Onslaught - I know, Denizens, this is nothing new. In fact, the merchandising has been invading everything to such a degree that even Best Buy has tons of Star Wars: The Force Awakens stuff on display throughout the store. So, as successful as I have been in avoiding any sort of trailers or spoilers or such, all I have to do is turn my head and see a bad guy here (a 12" tall action figure…hard to miss), a cool droid there. Heck, everywhere you turn there’s loads of spoilery Star Wars stuff lurking about. Essentially, the Force is with you whether you want it to be or not. Ugh…I just need to hold out a few more days until I get to see the actual movie. I suppose I need to head down into the Donist World bunker just to avoid it all. Once I see the movie, then I’m positive I’ll be buying the Official Star Wars figures, Legos, cereal, sheets, mac ’n’ cheese, candy, beach towels, slippers, dog slanket, acne medicine, and of course some Star Wars branded Ibuprofen.

DANG, I can’t wait to see the movie!

(Sung to the tune of Foreigner’s “Hot Blooded”)

Oh, these hot comics, check ’em and see
So much awesome contained inside these three
Come on, Denizen, don’t leave it to chance
These hot comics, these hot comics

Skip these? Well you must be blind, Descender is the sweetest find
Honey I’m tellin’ you so
Weirdworld is so fine, Tokyo Ghost’s a grand time
You oughta know, that these comics totally don’t blow

Now it’s up to you, take a trip with these books and shout “Woo Hoo!”
You know it’s true, these comics are hot, they’ll rock your socks, truth!

That’s why, these hot comics, check ’em and see


Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 12/11/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: The Twilight Children, Rachel Rising, We Stand on Guard, and Secret Wars

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / new beginnings consultant Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). As I’ve explained over the past couple FSoH/SitW posts, Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap. Today, Tulip and the Reverse Obie ordered in tacos and ginger ale, and saved the ol’ PowerPoint presentation on maintaining our status as a Fortune 320,000 company. They also put up the “Closed - Company Outing” sign on the corporate office (Mom’s basement) door, and we’re just going to kick it today. I’ve finished my graphic design classes, I’ve finished tutoring, and a bunch of other things are in the works. Most of all, I look forward to starting the second draft to the Kibbles ’N’ Bots (available here!!!) followup, as well as beginning development of a new YA series I want to begin writing at the beginning of 2016. So, set yourself up for some tasty treats — how about a great ginger ale? — watch the phenomenal Jessica Jones, and most of all read some great comics. Take care. Thank you for reading!

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Twilight Children #3
The Twilight Children #3 - Written by Gilbert Hernandez, illustrated and lettered by Darwyn Cooke, colored by Dave Stewart, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics imprint. Things continue to get weird in the sleepy fishing village as inhabitants vanish and tensions mount. Meanwhile, Tito’s jealousy over the strange girl with the frost-white hair escalates.

No lie, Denizens, I’m still kinda as lost in issue three as I have been with the first two issues; that is sooooo okay by me. This is despite Ela actually flat out stating why she is there and alluding to what is coming. We also gain more insight into Tito and just how far she is willing to go to get her way, as well as her desperation to get out of the village. The moments with the secret agents posing as tourists are comical as everyone knows they’re secret agents…or rather it’s all funny until something terrible happens to remind the reader that not all is right in town. The vague ending did its job well by cementing my need to see how this awesome mini actually ends.

As enchanting as the story is, the art…my goodness gracious…the art is gorgeous, but this should come as no surprise. Darwyn Cooke is a master of storytelling, character acting, and cartooning with his uncanny ability to pull a reader into any story regardless of the subject matter. But the way he draws the lovely Tito and Ela goes beyond talent and transcends into the heavenly; once you see a page with either of them, you will know what I mean (like this one!). Stewart’s colors turn Cooke’s already lovely art into something simply magical with his warm sunsets, cool evenings, and obnoxious Hawaiian shirts on a pair of tourists. Put it this way, if these two illustrated a refrigerator manual, I would be talking about it here on Donist World with glowing praise.

With The Twilight Children, you get not just a wonderful story, but one heck of a good lookin’ book. Even better, with this third issue the abundance of story-flow-crushing ads found in the previous two issues is not a problem as DC has tremendously reduced the interruptions down to two ads, which greatly enhances the reading experience of this magical realism tale. I adore this mini-series, and although there is a hardcover collection set to arrive in May, you might not want to wait until then to experience this truly special comic. So very good. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising #38
Rachel Rising #38 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. Aunt Johnny has been doing a little digging into who “murdered” Rachel; some of her findings might be the key to unlocking the resurrected girl’s memories. Meanwhile, a pair of grannies take an interest in Lilith.

That’s what I’m talkin’ about! I have loved Rachel Rising ever since the beginning, and although some of the issues are paced a bit slower and some have a lowered page count, it is always a fantastic series I am excited to read. The thing about Moore is just as you become comfortable with the story, its pacing, its characters, he pulls the rug out from under you with a new revelation. Such is the case this month, and some of what Rachel discovers continues to give me the willies. No, Denizens, I ain’t gonna spoil, you just need to read this issue.

The brief moments with Earl and Jet are enough to make the most hardened heart go, “Awwwwwww…,” but now after a couple issues of such tender moments, I am starting to worry about the couple. Moore’s handle on character acting is phenomenal as we see Earl asleep, his arms wrapped around Jet, who smiles with a tear in her eye before kissing the man’s arm. It is such an intimate scene, and the flat, solid wash of grey indicating it is nighttime sets the mood all the better. However, what Earl sees out the window — colored all in white — washed me in dread and left me quite worried. I don’t want anything bad to happen to these characters, but I know I will be there to witness their fate, whatever it might be, all because of Moore’s ability to make me love them dearly.

Aunt Johnny…Aunt Johnny just rules. Respect.

Rachel Rising is certain to be on most people’s list of top horror comics, but that is doing this compelling series a disservice. You can easily strike the word “horror” from the designation, and be gold with “top comics.” If you are not reading this Donist World Darling, then please set out immediately and pick up the first trade. I suspect the entry point will lead you quickly to the second trade and on through the sixth. Whether you read issue to issue, or trade to trade, Rachel Rising is a comic everyone should be reading. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

We Stand on Guard #6
We Stand on Guard #6 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Steve Skroce, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered and designed by Fonografiks, coordinated by Eric Stevenson, published by Image Comics. The war between the USA and Canada comes to a head, as Amber confronts the woman known as “The American.”

I have enjoyed We Stand on Guard since the beginning, but with the sixth issue, I am glad to see the mini-series wrap. It neither overstayed its welcome, nor rudely ducked out when no one was looking. Six issues was just right to tell the creators’ story, which indeed focused primarily on plot versus the characters. This is fine, but it is also the reason I never fully clicked with the series. In other hands, I might have dropped off the book after the second issue, but Vaughan’s great writing and Skroce’s beautiful art (as aided by the always phenomenal Hollingsworth’s colors) was enough to keep me coming back. I’m glad I did.

Like I mentioned, I generally like character-driven stories versus those driven by plot, but this comic’s interesting premise of a futuristic (not all that far in the future, though) war between Canada and the USA was enough to keep me invested — the art was dang pretty, too. If you initially skipped this title, you should be able to scrounge up the floppies with relative ease, or you can wait for the inevitable trade that is sure to release in early 2016. RECOMMENDED!

Secret Wars #8
Secret Wars #8  - Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Esad Ribic, colored by Ive Svorcina, lettered by Chris Eliopoulos, produced by Idette Winecoor, published by Marvel Comics. The rule of God Doom looks to be coming to an end, as his carefully staged house of cards begins to crumble around him.

Okay. This is more like it. Last issue, I had little clue as to what was going on, or what book (if any) led to which crazy thing we were witnessing on the page. Also, tons of stuff went down within the myriad tie-in series, while many characters had clearly moved on past this as-yet-unfinished mini, so, yeah, I was a bit lost. There is still some of that in this penultimate issue, but I was definitely able to follow along a bit better than in the past. That said, I feel that many groovy moments played out much too quickly: Thing vs. Franklactus, Mister Sinisters vs. everyone, Thanos and the Annihilation Horde, and Doom’s fight (ain’t spoilin’). These were all scenes that would have made the younger me — y’know, Young Donist — flip out, only to see what looked to be a grand fight extinguished all too soon. Still, the issue is exciting and I know I will be back to see how it all ends.

Only issue 9 of this 8-issue mini-series remains and we will finally see if an event comic actually succeeds in causing this Donist to give a shout of joy, or pronounce an unenthused “cool,” or give a frustratingly muttered “fell for yet another cash grab.” Time will tell. If you are not reading Secret Wars, and you are waiting to see whether or not it sticks the landing before taking the plunge, then if things do work out — and they just might — then you will be able to pick up the hardcover collection at some point in March. I still like both this issue and the series enough to give them a RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Donald Trump - This blowhard, spotlight hound needs to just disappear. Hopefully, more and more companies will refuse to do business with him, and send him into yet another responsibility-shirking bankruptcy.

Happier thoughts…

(Sung to the tune of Foreigner’s “Feels Like the First Time”)

Want to drink from the fountain?
Of great comics you must read?
The Twilight Children enchants, baby
It’s magic and charm captivating
That Rachel Rising’s intriguing, too
It’s something you need to see
We Stand on Guard, Secret Wars
Also instill comic glee

They’re books well worth your time
Books well worth your time
They’re books well worth your time
Book might well worth your time


Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 12/4/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Prez, Paper Girls, East of West, Black Science, Plutona, and Where is Jake Ellis?

Welcome back, Donist World Denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / getting-a-full-night’s-sleep consultant Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). As I’ve explained over the past couple FSoH/SitW posts, Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap. It’s been a brutally tumultuous past month and a half, but thanks to Tulip and the Reverse Obie’s love and support, I think things are finally going to settle down and be for the better. With six books I need to tell you about, the pups and I are keeping the intro short and cutting out early today for an off-site lunch of various sorts of tacos and other refreshments. So, set yourself up for some tasty treats — how about a great beer? — watch the phenomenal Jessica Jones, and most of all read some great comics. Take care. Thank you for reading!

Also, check out the video at the bottom of the post for an under-the-hood look at how we at Donist World operate!

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Prez #6
Prez #6 - Written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Ben Caldwell, inked by Mark Morales, colored by Jeremy Lawson, lettered by Travis Lanham, published by DC Comics. As deaths from the “Cat Flu” approach six figures, PotUS Beth Ross is under fire not only by Congress, but by Big Corp, Big Ag, and Big Pharma. Whatever is a girl to do…other than beat them at their own game.

Sweet Christmas, Denizens, I love this comic! It is timely, exaggerating-yet-spot-on honest, horrific, maddening, and hopeful. It is also hilarious in a gut punch sort of way as Russell brilliantly showcases multiple problems in our current political system, while bringing in a true “Washington Outsider” to fix those problems. As with the previous five issues, I wiped away tears of laughter — or was it frustration at the all-too-real truths exposed by Prez? — and yet again found myself wishing Ms. Ross was our President.

Caldwell’s art brings Russell’s razor-sharp script to humorous life with the focus on drama and the great character acting raising smiles, especially when the Prez plays dirty on the Washington ne’er do wells; the look on the face of her head of science as he gleefully snacks on some potato chips is positively priceless. Caldwell’s cartooning is simply fantastic, with Morales’s fine lines letting every detail shine through, as Lawson’s vibrant colors add a sunny, jovial tone to the otherwise dark commentary on the world today.

This book is sure to offend plenty of people, primarily those it targets, but then again, I don’t exactly think those people are what you’d call “big readers” anyways; they’re also a huge part of the problem, so screw ’em. I can also tell you that Prez Rozz doesn’t give a shiz. If you have not been reading the best book DC is currently publishing, then you have done missed out, son, but never fear. You can (probably) track down the first six issues of the first half of this tale — yes, another six glorious issues release in 2016 — but if that is a problem, then the first trade releases in February so you can hammer through this Donist World Darling in one fell swoop. Please do buy Prez, though, as boosted sales might mean annuals, spin-offs, minis, or please please please a continuation past the slotted 12 issues. Dang this book is a winner. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Paper Girls #3
Paper Girls #3 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matt Wilson, lettered and designed by Jared K. Fletcher, published by Image Comics. Great pink storms, tuning fork knights, monstrous beasts, fugly weirdos, the Gipper, guns, and all around weirdness abounds.

We are on the third exciting issue of the awesome Paper Girls series, and we have learned enough to brings up to speed with Erin, KJ, Mac, and Tiffany. Translation: None of us have a freakin’ clue as to what is going on. The thing is that we the readers are all the better for it. Vaughan and Chiang are in no hurry to clue us in as to what exactly is happening, opting instead to add even more oddities to the mix as they draw us closer to the awesome characters at the center of this bizarre tale.

The story involving four paper girls in Cleveland, OH in the ’80s as they deal with sci-fi end-of-the-world(?) happenings is fantastic in and of itself, but when you have Chiang providing the gorgeous visuals with Wilson ratcheting up the mood with his analogous purple coloring schemes, you get a book that looks as beautiful as it reads. On that note, Paper Girls is one of those comics you should probably read thrice to get the whole experience: Once as you rip through the story, a second time to fully experience the art, and a third time for the combined effect. Doing this is what we at Donist World call time well spent.

<sigh> C’mon. You are reading Paper Girls, right? Sure, there’re no superheroes with capes and incorrectly worn underwear (DC did remedy this…didn’t they?), just a fun-filled, sci-fi adventure with a cast of foul-mouthed, teenage girls just trying to get you your dang newspaper on time (please tell me you know what a newspaper is). I already know I will be buying the collected hardcover of this series in late-2016 / early-2017, as reading this comic is a blast. Don’t wait though, seek out the issues so you can suffer the painful wait for issue #4 to drop. You’ll be glad you did. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

East of West #22
East of West #22 - Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Dragotta, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics. The march to war heats up as an assassination attempt looks to kick it off in full.

Okay, new issues of East of West tend to fall within the range of good to mind-blowing, but the past couple issues have been a bit slow moving; not the case here. This issue is nearly silent and serves as a vehicle to remind everyone of Dragotta’s immense storytelling prowess, and boy howdy does it come across with this issue. Dang. Not only does the action of this issue remind me of the end scenes in Kill Bill Vol. 1, Dragotta also delivers yet more cool character designs and costuming on the assassins. With Martin’s colors making the sequences even more exhilarating, you can’t help but whip through the issue and immediately return to the beginning for another read.

East of West is an exquisitely-written, beautifully illustrated, sci-fi, political epic with an enormous cast of characters that is worth the time of all willing to put that ol’ brain of theirs through a bit of a workout. Yes, at times the pacing of the story slows for a few issues, but then we get a must-read treasure like this exciting issue. If you are not reading this fantastic series, then you can easily catch up with the four available trades, or the lovely hardcover. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Black Science #18
Black Science #18 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Matteo Scalera, colored by Moreno Dinisio, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Come take a trip through the mind of anarchist scientist Grant McKay, and gain some insight into how the past shaped the man.

I ain’t gonna lie to you, Denizens, this jumps into the dreamy reaches of the mind. This is something that tends to drive Amy the Intern bonkers, but is something I am generally fine with. And it’s easy to be fine with an issue that is essentially a dream sequence, when you allow Scalera to get crazy with the visuals, which include anthropomorphic animals, monsters, and some gosh-darn puppets to top off some tremendous storytelling.

For much of Black Science, Grant McKay has been the protagonist we have loved to hate, but now that we actually get a view into the guy’s past, and although we might not be able to quite forgive him for his recent transgressions, we sure as heck now understand why he is the way he is. Whether he changes or not — now that he fully realizes the course of his life — remains to be seen, but I will be there to see it all unfold in this fantastic sci-fi, monster mash, roller coaster of an adventure. You should be there, too. If you are not reading Black Science in floppies, then you can jump in the deep end with the three trades, or the awesome hardcover. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Plutona #3
Plutona #3 - Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Emi Lenox and Jeff Lemire, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics. Things get weird for the kids as they head into the woods to bury the body of the dead superhero they found.

The past three issues of Plutona have pretty much revolved around five young kids hanging out in the woods discussing what to do about the dead body of a beloved superhero named Plutona. That about sums it up. Usually, I would be out the door at that point, but Lemire and Lenox have created some compelling characters, whose backstories and personalities ring so true that I very much care about all of them and what is going to happen next. This goes double after seeing the last page of the main story.

If you’ve been reading Donist World for any length of time, then you know I’m a big fan of Lemire’s work, and Plutona does not disappoint. If you, too, like other works by these creators, then you cannot go wrong picking up this five-issue mini, or you can wait it out for the trade that releases in March 2016. Either way, things look to get interesting next month, so be sure you read this fine comic. RECOMMENDED!

Where is Jake Ellis?
Where is Jake Ellis?#5 - Written by Nathan Edmondson, illustrated and lettered by Tonci Zonjic with assists by Jordan Gibson, published by Image Comics. After whatever it was that happened last issue (I honestly don’t remember), Jon and Jake have an ally to protect and a score to settle.

Sorry, I could not help but take a jab at the gnarly delay in getting us the final issue of second part of Edmondson and Zonjic’s Jake Ellis spy thriller. In fact, it’s been over a year since issue four released and issue one came out back in November of 2012, which makes for a rather long wait to see this second chapter finally conclude (the first chapter is the awesome Who is Jake Ellis?), but in the end the wait was definitely worth it. The story is as engaging as ever, and the art is great, although different in that the style is somewhat looser than on previous issues, which might be the addition of Gibson, but I am not sure.

If you like spy thrillers with an added twist, then you definitely need to read the Jake Ellis comics, especially since you can hammer through the first volume and you can now read the second volume in its entirety — a trade collecting Where is Jake Ellis? is certain to see print at some point in early 2016. Once I reread each chapter, I’m sure I would give this issue a higher rating, but since I remember little of what happened previously, this issue comes RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

More Guns Killing People - No. No one needs the type of guns these terrorists and psychopaths continue to use to murder people on a regular basis. This bullshit needs to end.


No song this week, Denizens - I know, I know. Sorry. It’s been nearly two years, but I finished up a degree / certificate in Graphic Design this week, and I’m frankly exhausted.

In the meantime, please watch this video to fully understand the methodologies and the creative processes involved in the creation of each Donist World post. Essentially, I read the week’s comics, and then…

Nick Offerman Sips Scotch Whisky, by the Fire, for 45 Minutes


Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 11/27/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: The Fade Out, Archie, Saga, and Chew

Welcome back, Donist World denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / lead turkey taster Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). As I’ve explained over the past couple FSoH/SitW posts, Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap. Okay, so this is going to be a condensed version compared to my usual posts because I spent much of yesterday cooking (with the help of Amy the Intern, Reverse Obie, and Tulip), plus I’m in the final week of my graphic design program and I have a website to build by tomorrow evening. Yikes. Anyhow, I hope all the Donist World Denizens had fantastic Thanksgiving Days free of travel and that you all avoided that Bleak Black Friday BS, and instead chilled out, had some turkey and pumpkin pie, had some great beers, watched some of the phenomenal Jessica Jones, and most of all read some great comics. Take care. Thank you for reading!

***Possible Spoilers Below***

The Fade Out #11
The Fade Out #11 - Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips, colored by Elizabeth Breitweiser, published by Image Comics. Charlie and Gil prove that copious amounts of booze and detective work do not mix.

There is but one issue left of this phenomenal, must-read series that is sure to please all the crime / noir fans, as well as those interested in the seedier side of Hollywood’s history. Brubaker and Phillips masterfully deliver yet another tension-filled issue that had me whipping through the pages, and made me want to shout “No!” at the fact that I reached the end of the issue already, at the cliffhanger ending, and at the fact there is only one more issue left. This is a bad and good thing, Denizens. The bad is that a great comic is soon concluding, but the good is that the comic is ending 100% on the creators’ terms, which leaves me without a doubt that we will receive a completely satisfying ending. I can also tell you that I will be reading next month’s final issue between my fingers as I try to cover my eyes from what is sure to a be fairly messed up finale; I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As I have said with each installment, you need to be reading this series in issue form, as the essays tucked at the back of each issue are well worth the price of admission — this issue included a fascinating essay about Robert Mitchum and dope. If issues ain’t your bag, then there are two trades with the third on the way, but you will be missing the fantastic extras if you choose to go that route. That said, I fully expect a hardcover of the series to drop at some point in 2016, but I don’t know if you will get any sort of bonuses. That said, the main takeaway is that The Fade Out is THE crime comic to end all crime comics, and you need to be reading this phenomenal book. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Archie #4
Archie #4 - Written by Mark Waid, illustrated by Annie Wu, colored by Andre Szymanowicz with Jen Vaughn, lettered by Jack Morelli, published by Archie Comic Publications. That “#LipstickIncident” we’ve been hearing so much about — y’know, the one that split up Archie and Betty — we find out all about it.

Ever since the “#LipstickIncident” was mentioned back in issue one, I wondered if the reveal of what happened would be satisfying, or if it would ring false, but after reading this issue I am more than happy with the discovery…I’m also a bit sad. I’m not going to spoil anything other than to say that Waid perfectly captures the pressures of being young, of being true to yourself, and of the force of nature that is change. Neither Archie or Betty are wholly to blame for what happens, and seeing the couple together before that one fatefully evening is touching, which makes the split up all the more painful; I will be rereading this issue again later today…just to torture myself.

Wu steps in for Staples this issue and although the change in art style is noticeable, this is not a bad thing, and I was just as invested in the story as ever; Wu is a most welcome addition to the title. If, like me, you wrote Archie off for a fair portion of your life, you done messed up. Archie is heartwarming, laugh-out-loud funny, and relatable, not to mention completely enjoyable. You should be able to easily get ahold of the individual issues of this must-read series, but if you must wait for the trade, it looks like one will be available sometime around March 2016. Don’t wait though. Seek out all four issues of Archie, set yourself up with a soda pop or malt and catchup with these dang fine characters who have been wowing audiences for decades. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Saga #31
Saga #31 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, lettered and designed by Fonografiks, coordinated by Eric Stephenson, published by Image Comics. Hazel is no longer a baby, and seeing as how she was forcefully separated from her mother and father, trust is not easy to come by.

Every break between story arcs of the Donist World Darling that is Saga is never an easy thing; thank goodness this ever-compelling book is back. With the return you get the great Vaughan story, the gorgeous (and I mean gorgeous) Staples art, the two to three full-page shockers, and the crushing weight of having to wait a month(ish) for the next fantastic issue.

There’s a reason why Saga is one of the most successful creator-owned comics — outside of The Walking Dead, of course. You can’t help but fall in love with the characters or avoid becoming completely immersed in the awesome world. At this point, if you have not been reading this not-for-the-kiddies comic, that is one of the best things on the stand, then you must be new to comics, or you just crawled out of your bomb shelter after being born there. Either situation is understandable, and you can catch up with the five available trades and/or the beautiful hardcover. Whatever your preferred method of reading comics, just be sure you are reading this monumental series. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew #52
Chew #52 - Written and lettered by John Layman, illustrated and colored by Rob Guillory, color assists by Taylor Wells, published by Image Comics. Tony and Colby finally learn what the mysterious writing in the sky says…they’ll probably regret the knowledge.

<wheeze, wheeze> Okay. Sorry about that, Denizens. I was just breathing into a paper bag to avoid hyperventilating from the knowledge that the most unique comic on the stands and perpetual Donist World Darling is one step closer to issue 60, which will end the series. I know, right?! It’s kind of hard to imagine a world without Chew, especially since I just reread the first 40 issues (and the two available Poyo specials) as compiled in the beautifully-constructed, slightly oversized Omnivore Editions.

You already know I love the fun / disgusting / hilarious / exciting / ridiculous story and art, and that I do not want the series to end. On the flip side, I have to see how it all ends, so each issue that draws us closer to the finale leaves me conflicted. That’s what good comics do. If you have been avoiding this series yet I have finally convinced you that now is the time to dive head first into the deep end of this great book, then you can do so with the aforementioned Omnivore Editions, or with the less-exciting, yet they’ll-do-the-job trades. Chew is off-the-wall bonkers. You will laugh, you will wince, you might even cry, but most of all it will keep you wanting more more more. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

And Now the Most Heavenly Thanksgiving Comics Around - <crickets chirping> <more crickets chirping> Yeah…ummmmmm…if you know of any must-read Thanksgiving-themed comics, then please let me know as I’m totally drawing a blank.

No song this week, Denizens - I know, I know. Sorry. Cooking all day for my family, and finishing up a graphic design degree really put me behind. In the meantime, be sure to watch the ridiculously awesome Jessica Jones on Netflix (I have one episode left to watch!!!), and check out this awesome video from one of my favorite bands, Curve.

(Curve’s “Missing Link”)


Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 11/20/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Tokyo Ghost, The Autumnlands, and Rachel Rising

Welcome back, Donist World denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / Queen of Chill Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). As I’ve explained over the past couple FSoH/SitW posts, Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap. This week has been a ball of stress as tightly wound as a wet cat covered in Scotch tape squares, but thankfully I had Team Tulip and Reverse Obie, who ordered in breakfast burritos and coffee as we discuss the really important things…namely what movies / shows we are going to marathon over next week’s holiday weekend; I’m pretty sure we’ll be powering through some Jessica Jones and stuffing ourselves with turkey and pumpkin pie. I can’t wait. Anyways, I hope you all are not traveling next week, and that you steer clear of any Black Friday nonsense, but for today you should order in some breakfast burritos of your own, and settle in for this week’s post. Thank you for reading.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Tokyo Ghost #3
Tokyo Ghost #3 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Sean Murphy, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Debbie Decay and Led Dent — or should we call him “Teddy?” — have arrived in the tech-free marvel that is Tokyo. It’s everything Debbie has hoped for, but for Teddy…let’s just say tech withdrawal is a bitch.

Dang, Denizens, after Remender, Murphy, and Hollingsworth’s depiction of Tokyo, I’m kind of ready to pack my bags and head on out to that wonderful fictitious land void of technology and the ills of the world. Of course, doing so would mean no more Donist World unless I wrote it on scrolls or something. There would also be no writing with spellcheck, no Adobe Suite for graphic design or comic book lettering, no comic books period, no Vitamix, no Bonavita coffee, no Two Dots on my iPhone, no Kingdom Rush on my iPad. Hmmmmm…yeah, I think I could swing it. Donist World Unplugged would be all about the pen and paper, baby, and hopefully a good printing press, but that’s neither here nor there.

The point is, this latest issue of this fantastic new series really got me thinking about what life might be like void of the technology that surrounds everything we do. It all looks mighty appealing as I stare at a computer screen and barrages of emails and texts and ads pummel my senses, reminding me that I am ever slipping further and further behind on my to-do list. Yeah, the creators’ version of Tokyo looks mighty appealing, especially after we see Debbie and Teddy as they adjust to their new surroundings, and finally achieve a sense of happiness. But this is a Remender book; we all know it ain’t gonna last.

Remender’s writing and pacing alone is enough to add appeal to Tokyo, but when Murphy and Holllingsworth immerse you in the “city” alongside our protagonists, the allure of the place is unescapable. The “Gardener” (not sure of her name) is radiant in every sense of the word, with lovely character acting and an entourage of forrest animals, while the pinks that color her and knockout the black inks make her otherworldly. Complement the Gardener with lush green backgrounds and the effect is stunning, especially when compared to the drab of Neo Los Angeles. This is one beautiful book, which should come as no surprise for those already familiar with this masterful art team.

As with the previous two issues, the story and art manage to stick with me for quite a while afterwards, as well as making me more conscious of the interruptions I allow tech to make in my life. In addition to the awesome story, I love the characters, who I want to see succeed and find peace together, but not without going through some serious trials first, of course; I’m sure I will not be let down. This is a great series, Denizens, and I suggest not trade waiting this one as it is a thrill to see a new issue show up in my pull, and this issue definitely does not disappoint. Anyhow, I'm off to pack my bags for this Neo-Tokyo…errrrrr maybe after the new Netflix Original Series, Jessica Jones, is released, and I finally play Lego Batman 3 while sipping coffee from my Bonavita. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Autumnlands #7
The Autumnlands #7 - Written by Kurt Busiek, illustrated by Ben Dewey, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered and designed by John Roshell and Jimmy Betancourt of Comicraft, published by Image Comics. The war with the bison tribe is over, and now it is time to pick up the pieces. The magicians tend to their wounded, as Dusty and Learoyd crawl from the river to a most peculiar discovery.

That seemed like a particularly long hiatus, but I’m glad for Autumnlands’s return. After the exciting events from last issue, there is little in the way of action this month, but that does not mean the story is any less compelling. The creators add a new character to complicate political matters for the wizards, especially for Gharta and Sandorst, who are near ready to tear each other apart with tooth and claw. The majority of the issue is spent with the Champion and Dusty as they get their bearings and talk. Much to Dusty’s dismay, his discussions with Learoyd mostly serve to deflate the boy’s opinion of the Champion, which is beautifully portrayed through Dewey’s art.

Dewey brings Dusty, an anthropomorphized bull terrier boy, to life with gorgeous drama and characterization work. Every expression that Dusty makes mirrors that of an actual bull terrier, from furrowed brow and lowered ears, to shock with uplifted ears, to sad realization. Each of these realistic expressions perfectly fit with the mood of the conversation, and you can clearly see Dusty’s optimism dwindle from page to page. The same holds true for all of the animal characters. Have you ever seen an enraged great-horned owl? How about a large and in charge bald eagle? Dewey flawlessly lets the reader know exactly what is going on with these characters in a way that makes you forget you are seeing a bunch of anthropomorphic characters squabbling; they all seem so human.

Admittedly, I had forgotten what had previously happened, but it quickly came back to me as I made my way through the issue. Yes, not much happens with the characters, but I’m happy to have The Autumnlands back, and I’m eager to see where the creators take us next. If you are not reading this amazing fantasy / sci-fi tale, then you can easily catchup on the ridiculously cheap trade (contains issues 1–6 and priced at $6.28 as of this writing). The Autumnlands is a fun, beautiful, epic tale that continues to enchant. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising #37
Rachel Rising #37 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. The immortal evil that is Malus has always been, and he will always be. But maybe, just maybe, that last bit is something Rachel, Zoe, and Lilith can work with.

Not much happens this issue, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t yet another fascinating installment of Rachel Rising. Although we never actually see Malus the demon, he is at the top of the characters’ minds, and we gain some insight into what he has been up to these countless years. That said, if anyone holds the top billing this issue, it is definitely Lilith, who Moore has a wickedly good time portraying as an uncaring a_hole with a series of scenes so screwed up and cruel I could not help but laugh, while feeling bad for doing so…kind of. I ain’t gonna go into specifics, but, dang, it’s totally messed up.

If I have any complaints about this issue, it’s that even when I picked it up, I could tell that it was light on content, and indeed there is only 18 pages of material and a $3.99 price. Usually, I would be out the door on something like this, but Moore has crafted such an amazing Twin Peaks-esque horror comic with characters I positively adore and care about — even the naughty ones — and with some of the best cartooning in comics, there’s no way I can keep away from this fantastic title. If you have not been reading Rachel Rising, then do not start here, but by all means start collecting the six trades so you can catch up on this Donist World Darling. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Remember How I Keep Being Slammed and Stressed Out? - Criminy!!! Okay, I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving so things hopefully slow down. I finished with one of my classes, and I’m focusing in on the other with laser-like focus, I had a last-minute design project, job hunts, and interview preparation, in addition to tutoring, and helping a friend with her portfolio project. Dang, and I still have a comic to read. Yeah, Thanksgiving is going to be great. It’s gonna be…oh yeah…that’s right, I’M making dinner. No worries, though, cooking is therapeutic for this here Donist. Wish me luck for the remainder of this week, Denizens. I need it.

And on that Stressy-Bessie note…

(Sung to the tune of Pat Benatar’s “Promises in the Dark”)

Tokyo Ghost will totes mess with your head
Deb and Led reach new shores
It soars great heights, tech addiction dread
The Autumnlands is way cool my friends
And Rachel Rising is lotsa fun, I never want it to end

Life is rough but why wear a sad frown
A new book can turn it upside down
We’re shoutin’ readin’ comics is so smart


Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 11/13/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Descender, The Twilight Children, Southern Bastards, and Secret Wars

Welcome back, Donist World denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO the Reverse Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / senior cuddle muffin Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). As I’ve explained over the past couple FSoH/SitW posts, Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magics mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap. Today, I arrived at the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) and found that Reverse Obie had not just outlined a business plan to maintain our status as a Fortune 320,000 company, but built a strategy to move Donist World into the Fortune 315,000 territory. Dang, I like the cut of his jib, not to mention his go-getterness; he’s got upper-management written all over him. Regardless, pour yourself a cup of Joe, order in some tasty nachos (National Nacho Day was last week, but Donist World believes in year-round nacho appreciation), and settle in for this week’s post. Thank you for reading.

ALSO, even though Halloween is over, please check out our special “The Donist World Required Reading Halloween Bash 2015” for some truly spooktacular comics worthy of your reading time.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Descender #7
Descender #7 - Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics. The Hardwire, a group of terrorist robots, has arrived, and they mean to free TIM-21 from the clutches of the Gnishians and their anti-robot culls. This is great news for TIM-21…not so much for TIM-21’s expendable non-robot friends.

Dang, Denizens, the wait wasn’t that bad between arcs of what is not just one of my favorite new releases of the year, but also one of my favorite ongoing series. Yet each week that passed without a new issue of Descender, I felt this tremendous book’s absence. Thankfully, TIM-21, Telsa, Dr. Quon, and the rest are back, and this wonderful story is more exciting and compelling than ever.

Before the two month break, we left TIM-21, Telsa, and a grievously injured Dr. Quon just as The Hardwire made their violent appearance to rescue our hero. Last month’s startling revelation rested upon who (I ain’t spoilin’) accompanied the band of robot terrorists. With this installment, we pick up where we left off, but only after the creators introduce us to a new, deadly robot hunter whose identity slowly became apparent, yet whose reveal managed to shock nonetheless. We also get some early insight into the troubles ahead for TIM-21, Dr. Quon, and Telsa now that they are affiliated with The Hardwire, especially after the leader, Psius, commits a calculated move that looks to put them in the crosshairs of all biological lifeforms…guilt by association.

As I mention with each passing issue, the story grabs me on many levels: the retro sci-fi feel, the aftermath of a catastrophic event, the quest to find loved ones, the need to belong and be more than you are, mysteries abound, and the critical component of absolutely loving the characters. This is before you even get to Nguyen’s gorgeous watercolored art. Every issue manages to “wow” me anew, whether through storytelling, character acting, character design (humans, aliens, and robots), and background and tech design; it is all so very, very lovely. But besides the beauty of Nguyen’s work, there’s the subtle intricacies within the art that succeed in rounding out an already stunning comic. An example is midway through there’s a humanoid alien talking with the recently introduced bot hunter. This alien has a set of marble-sized black dots on each side of his nose (pierced through?) that either project or levitate lenses for the visually-impaired alien. This slight touch of sci-fi technology is never acknowledged…it just is. I actually can’t wait for a reread of the series just to see what other norms of these creators’ world that I might have missed.

Man, speaking of the art, I hope Nguyen provides process breakdowns at some point in the future. I would love nothing more than to see a blank page transition to a completed one. Come to think of it, I also hope to see some of Lemire’s sample scripts, or some examples of how the writer and artist communicate. I suppose these things will eventually come when a hardcover collection is released hopefully this time next year (please please please). What I’m trying to say, Denizens, is that I LOVE this comic so much that in addition to the writing, the art, the design, the characters, I actually want to see the beginnings of this story’s movement from the cocktail napkin, to emails, to the drawing board, and ultimately to the finished comic, which I sincerely hope you too are holding in your hands. If you do not already have this comic in your grubby little paws, then let me suggest that despite this issue claiming it is a “jumping on point,” that you do jump in here. Instead, buy this issue, and buy the ridonkulously inexpensive first trade, which contains the first six amazing issues. Descender is a truly special book that immediately sunk in its hooks and looks to hold tight for a good long while. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Twilight Children #2
The Twilight Children #2 - Written by Gilbert Hernandez, illustrated by Darwyn Cooke, colored by Dave Stewart, published by Vertigo Comics, a DC Comics Imprint. The mystery of this sleepy, little, Latin American fishing village deepens as the spheres continue to appear and disappear. Even with the strange arrival of the lovely, but-silent, white-haired girl, and the recent blindness afflicting three children, life goes on…for better or for worse.

Last week I talked about the first issue (read about it here) and basically said that the issue completely blew me away. However, I did have a few issues with it…more on those in a sec. This four-issue mini-series is a beautifully told, gorgeously illustrated tale of life with an element of magical realism. Strange things happen — people vanish, children are blinded, spheres appear, spheres vanish without a trace — yet people continue to go about their day as wants and desires, and jealousies complicate their lives. As a reader, you instantly become a member of the creators’ mostly-tranquil, seaside village.

This comic is fantastic. Hernandez’s script continues to calmly and happily lead you along the course of events and moments, as Cooke’s oh-so-stunning art pulls you ever-deeper into the story, and Stewart’s lush, vibrant, nearly-flat color palette elevates Cooke’s already masterful illustrations to even higher levels. Everything about this comic speaks to beauty and the need to slowly, deliberately glide through the story to truly appreciate the magic of this series. I will say that I am no closer to understanding what is going on, but I will also say that I simply do not care; the experience of reading The Twilight Children is enough to keep me excited to see what happens next.

Again, however, the dang ads — of which there are six versus the seven from the first issue — are super annoying and detract from the power of this great tale. Yes we get 30 glorious pages of story and art, and a nice glossy cover with a higher paper weight, but at a $4.99 price tag, the interrupting ads are a nuisance. For a comic of this quality, paying $4.99 would not even be a problem, if the ads were relegated to the back. The ad problem has nothing to do with the creators, who clearly have the making of a timeless masterpiece on their hands.

So, yeah, despite all my griping about the ads last time, I could not stop myself from picking up this magical comic. It is so very, very good. No superheroes, no tights, no capes, just a solid story, beautifully told. If you missed out on the first issue, and don’t want the annoying ads, then you should wait for the hardcover that looks to release in May 2016, and that will surly be priced at less than cover price (after discounts), and without those intrusive ads. As a side note, I really hope to see a mini-poster set of the four stunning covers someday so I can ever be reminded of this beautiful book (please please please). This comic, minus the ads, comes VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Southern Bastards #12
Southern Bastards #12 - Written by Jason Latour, illustrated by Chris Brunner, colored by Chris Brunner and Jason Latour, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Young Tad probably shouldn’t have struck up a friendship with Earl Tubb. This is especially true after Coach Boss sent his thugs out to use the boy as a means of teaching Tubb not to poke his nose in Boss’s business. But after the beating Tad took, he’s lucky to be alive.

With this issue Jason Aaron steps back as Latour fills in on writing and Chris Brunner joins as guest artist for yet another great issue of Southern Bastards. To some, this might sound like a filler issue, but in the end, it seems to be another piece leading to Coach Boss’s eventual downfall. Since the first arc, I’ve wondered what became of poor ol’ Tad, and this issue looks to explain where he’s been and where he might be headed. It also further develops the character of Materhead, who helped beat down Tad in the first place, but is now seeing the error of his ways as he begins to regret being a “soldier” in Boss’s “army.” Folks with a grudge against Boss appear to be lining up for some payback…or at least they see the line they need to get into.

Brunner is a fantastic stand in for Latour on the art duties, as his style fits perfectly with the Southern Bastards style, while remaining its own, especially on Tad’s pain-killer-induced delusions. Also bringing unity to the title is the coloring — lots of muted reds, greys, and blues — while taking longtime readers by surprise with shocks of neon colors as Tad trips balls, watches violent television, and begins to see his purpose. It’s a great issue, and if you are going to rotate the creators around on this book, then Brunner is exactly the person to call in for the task.

Southern Bastards, a noir crime drama with a football-dependency problem, continues to be a great comic, and one that succeeds in making this Donist actually find something of interest in a sport. The writing is dark, gritty, honest (heaven help humanity), and oftentimes kind of scary. Latour’s art is always spot-on amazing, but Brunner steps in with grace on this issue making it a must-read, and nothing close to resembling a “filler issue,” but rather a vital part of the Southern Bastards mythos. If you are not reading this adults-only, harsh tale, you can easily catch up through the two trades, or the deluxe hardcover collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Secret Wars #7
Secret Wars #7 - Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Esad Ribic, colored by Ive Svorcina, lettered by Clayton Cowles, production by Idette Winecoor, published by Marvel Comics. Doom’s control of Battle World crumbles as forces align against him from all directions.

As I always say, Donist World is a positive blog when it comes to comics. I only talk about the books I enjoy and believe everyone should be reading. I relax on this rule when it comes to Big Two “Event” books. I occasionally buy these things with the hope that the comic ends up being different from the usual money grab — you know, the ol’ “6-issue event that changes everything and only requires that you buy 135+ additional issues to make sense of the dang story, and even then you still might have no idea as to what happened!” scenario. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike all event books. Infinity Gauntlet and Crisis on Infinite Earths are two past events that I revisit often, and there are a handful of others that are pretty cool, but, unfortunately, the event comics of the past decade tend to leave me cold at best, or irritated that I fell for the promise of greatness yet again. That said, I’m not “at that point” with Secret Wars, and I still have hope that the event will (eventually) reach a satisfying conclusion.

Remember how I warn about spoilers? You’ve been warned again…This issue has all kinds of awesome moments that whip by in the blink of an eye, as the inhabitants of Doom’s world begin to rebel against him. Cool, but…what the heck is going on? This Prophet dude mentioned in a panel or two last issue, reveals himself as Maximus, then is dealt with. Thors are divided and fighting amongst themselves for some reason. Captain Marvel (there’s two of them? clones?) somehow ended up with Mister Sinister (who has an army of selves subservient to him?), before she(s) vanishes upon the arrival of Apocalypse? The Maestro shows up with a team of Hulks smashing stuff? Black Panther (easily?) obtained the Infinity Gauntlet and is now “King of the Dead?” When did any of this stuff happen? And come to think of it, why are folks rebelling against all-mighty Doom to begin with? My guess is that many of these particulars occurred in a few issues of the 100+ side tales we needed to buy to get the full story for this supposedly self-contained comic. But there’s more than the questions raised by these out-of-left-field happenings, there’s also the questions left from Secret Wars #6. Where’s the Thing after the whole wall thing. Molecule Man? Thanos? I just don’t get it.

Those gripes aside, and the fact that I’m completely baffled by the particulars, I kind of enjoyed this issue. However, I would have liked to have seen issues four through six condensed into one issue, with issue seven built up over three issues instead of one. I would like to have seen The Prophet rise and build his army, or the rift between the Thors happen, or Sinister seduce / brainwash Captain Marvel, or Thanos actually be the eternal threat he is supposed to be, etc. As it is, waaaaaaaayyy too much of the cool stuff happened off page and / or outside of the main series. The good news is that Ribic and Svorcina’s art looks as gorgeous as ever, with some impressive battle scenes…I just wish those scenes had been expanded upon a bit more.

So yeah, I’m confused as all heck by the story, but the visuals are solid, and I do want to see how it all ends. The weird thing is that the rest of the Marvel U has supposedly trudged on with the release of all new number one issues and partial spoilers as to what actually happened at the end of the event series that still has two issues to go until its actual end. If you’ve been holding off on taking the plunge into this event, then rest assured that if your curiosity gets the best of you, you’ll be able to buy the hardcover come March 2016. I need to repeat that I did enjoy this issue, and that I don’t blame the creators for most of the missing pieces (hey, you try to juggle over 100 storylines from other creators into your main story), and I hope to add Secret Wars to the very, very, very shortlist of event comics that actually worked. RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Out of Time, Lots to Do, Stressed - Same message as last week, gonna keep it positive other than to say, “Who woulda thought being unemployed was so dang time consuming.” Job hunts, interviews, finishing two classes, tutoring college students, writing, caring for Tulip, minding the house and chores…dang…just, dang. For Pete’s sake (who the hell is this Pete character anyways?). Best not to over-think things. Focus, Donist. Trudge ever forward.

And on that Stressy-Bessie note…

(Sung to the tune of Loverboy’s “Turn Me Loose”)

Comics should be fun
A dang joy to read
The craziest stories to be seen
I gotta read ’em my way
Or no way at all

Descender’s sure to please
The Twilight Children’s key
Comic love that’s never a tease
I gotta read ’em my way
Or no way at all

Southern Bastards came around
knocked me to the ground
A brutal book yet sound
You gotta read ’em your way
Or no way at all