Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 07/17/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

Welcome back, Donist World denizens! For those of you new to our site, I’m Donist, and I am joined by Donist World CFO Obie (my friends’ Boston terrier) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / personal cheerleader Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). This week, we’re all fairly excited about seeing Ant-Man — despite the fact that dogs are not allowed in the movie theater, which never seems to register with them — but I am massively bummed that I most likely will not be going to Hollister Brewing Company for lunch followed by seeing the movie, which has kind of become my own personal holiday celebration for these big-time superhero movies. Still, never lose hope, denizens, never lose hope. Anyhow, while I try to get to the bottom of why Obie has been stockpiling paperclips when we run a predominantly paperless office, you should grab some killer tacos, and a strong ginger ale — or perhaps an iced tea, iced tea is nice — and settle in to enjoy this week’s post before heading out to watch Ant-Man. Thank you for reading.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Hawkeye #22
Hawkeye #22 - Written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by David Aja, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Chris Eliopoulos, published by Marvel Comics. Hawkguy, Hawkgal, and Lucky (the mighty Pizza Dog!) get by with a little help from their friends as they take on the Tracksuit Draculas and the murderous Clown. The end is here.

Let’s leave all the jabs over how late this book is at the door. Instead, let’s celebrate what is/was one of my all-time-favorite Marvel comic books, and by that I mean ever. The series as a whole caught me by the first page of the first issue, but I was predestined to be a fan of Hawkeye after reading Fraction, Aja, and Ed Brubaker’s mindblowing Immortal Iron Fist. Hawkeye had everything I needed in a Big Two property (great characters, stunning art and coloring that is stylistically atypical of current comic book trends, an earnest and at times hilarious story that remained compelling and unique), while steering clear of the things that continuously push me away (mired in continuity nonsense, tie-ins to publisher-wide events, mandated crossovers with bigger heroes). Everything from Fraction’s storytelling to Aja’s gorgeous art (man, I want every page this guy has illustrated covering my walls) spoke to me. Even when Hawkgal split off for her own tales with Annie Wu’s beautiful art, or the hurricane benefit issue with Steve Lieber’s stunning work, or Francesco Francavilla’s (another personal favorite artist of mine) gorgeous imagery from issues 10 and 12, I was in for the the long haul. That said, with all of the massively talented creators involved with Hawkeye, the Fraction / Aja / Hollingsworth team issues are the ones that I hold most near and dear to my heart.

But how does this final issue compare to what came before, and does it deliver a satisfying ending to this much-loved title? Yeahsureyoubetcha! I will give zero spoilers here, and I will keep it brief, but this issue had the expected thrills, chills, and intense action we’ve come to expect, while delivering a few scenes that made me gasp (one even upset me greatly for a moment), some that made me laugh, and another that invoked a triumphant fist pump. I always thought Kate Bishop was pretty cool, but with this issue, she is cemented as a total badass through and through. And Clint…yeah, even though he is oftentimes the human punching bag who never quits, he leaves the reader with a firm understanding why this guy with no superpowers is a member of the Avengers.

Again, as with all other Aja comics, I want to buy two extra copies of the issue, careful cut each page out of the book and frame them as a long 30-page sequence that I can read as I make my way up the stairs. Aja’s characterization and storytelling and cinematic moments (especially the silent fight scenes…oh my dawg!) demand to be reread multiple times to properly appreciate every detail on each lovely panel. Hollingsworth’s colors provide just as much impact to this phenomenal title, even as his flat colors provide so much life and mood to this comic that it wouldn’t have been the same without him.

Buy this book! Hawkeye is unlike any other superhero title on the stand and is one of the best things I have ever read from the Big Two. Characters can be a huge draw to a comic book series, but characters are nothing until talented creators like Fraction, Aja, and Hollingsworth add their touch to bring life and resonance to the book. Although they did not create Hawkeye (guy or gal), this book is every bit theirs. If you trade waited (a long wait, indeed), then the fourth trade is available come mid-August, the final hardcover in December, and an Omnibus collecting the whole shebang in early November…for which I will be double-dipping. The finale is everything I could have hoped for, and a straight-through rereading from beginning to end is definitely in my immediate future. Hawkeye, both the series and this final issue, comes VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising #35
Rachel Rising #35 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. Rachel and Lilith hold a sit-down meeting as Zoe squirms uncomfortably. Rachel will never be the same upon learning the secrets Lilith has to tell.

Dang, reveals of the magnitude found in this issue tend to come out of the blue on this phenomenal Twin Peaks-esque horror title that continues to be a total joy to read…despite only having 18 pages of material. That one quip aside, I never suspected the major things Lilith reveals to Rachel (I’m not going to spoil ’em, either), but now that we gain some insight into the women's’ connection to each other, it all makes sense. I think It’s about time I reread the series from the beginning to pick up some of the flashback moments seen throughout the series thus far.

With Rachel Rising, you know you are going to see Moore’s tremendous character design and character acting come to life on the page every bit as much as you would on his seminal work, Strangers in Paradise. And like SiP, you can also count on a brilliantly told story that is funny, thoughtful, at times touching, at times harsh, but what differs with this latest project is that it can at times be creepy and oh-so scary — I positively love it. You can easily catch up via the first five trades, with a sixth sure to be coming before the end of the year. Every sale and every preorder of the floppies helps keep this phenomenal book in print that I hope to be reading for some time to come. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Silver Surfer Vol. 2
Worlds Apart
Silver Surfer Volume 2: Worlds Apart - Written by Dan Slott, illustrated by Mike Allred, colored by Laura Allred, lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino, published by Marvel Comics. The Silver Surfer, former herald of the mighty Galactus, and his traveling companion Dawn Greenwood, former inhabitant of the planet Earth, continue their tour of the cosmos. Their adventures will bring them to strange, wondrous new worlds where they meet all varieties of beings. But traveling along with them is the Surfer’s dark past, a past that Dawn knows little about, but most sentient beings across the many universes are only all too familiar.

As you will remember from my FSoH/SitW post about the first volume from Slott and the Allreds (here), I fell in love with the Silver Surfer all over again after reading just the first issue in the collection. I’m happy to say that this volume is equally as much a joy to read as the first. What’s even better this time around, is that the creators have an opportunity to tell the stories they want to tell without any other heroes appearing, no events mussing things up, and no pesky continuity to get in the way. Without those distractions, what we get are the characters’ sense of wonder that comes from exploring the unknown and the sense of friendship that arrises when these two seemingly different people find they have so very much in common; it’s all rather touching. But it’s not all good times for Dawn and the Surfer, as Slott also infuses conflict and danger with the very real threat of one’s past coming back to haunt them — in this case in a very literal way — greatly complicating Dawn and the Surfer’s relationship.

Allred, both Mike and Laura, seem to have been born to explore the cosmos, and I can’t help but hope for a day that they illustrate an Adam Warlock story, but that is beside the point. Here, they continue their sharply illustrated, vibrantly colored exploration of the bizarre, and every page is pure magic. Even when situations take a turn for the worst, I can’t stop myself from smiling throughout a groovy fight scene every bit as much as I did for a solitary splash page of Dawn and the Surfer lying on opposite sides of the surfboard, completely at peace as they drift through space. Both story and art work so perfectly together that I know I will be rereading these Silver Surfer volumes many, many times over the years to come.

If you like the cosmic superheroes, then you absolutely must read this series. If you think outer space is cool and would love nothing more than to travel the galaxy with the Silver Surfer as your tour guide, then picking up both this book and the first volume is a an absolute must. Silver Surfer is still an absolute joy to read, and the third volume cannot come soon enough. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Things Continue to be Tough All Over - I don’t want to get into it, it’s boring, I’ve just got a ton of immensely frustrating stuff going on…but I hope to have it all sorted out soon. Yay.

Ack…screw that depressing noise, let’s kick it up a notch with this week’s song…

(Sung to the tune of Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself”)

At your local LCS
There’s so much to read, what a mess
With a massive selection
It’s all quite perplexin’
The best books on the shelf

Well that Hawkeye’s dynamite
Rachel Rising’ll treat you right
Silver Surfer’s strong
Cosmic love sensation
They’re the best books on the shelf


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