Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 7/31/2015

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 / wing-doggie Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). This week, Obie was holding down the fort at the corporate office (Mom’s basement) as Tulip, Amy the intern (my wife), and I headed up to Saratoga, CA for five days, where it was hot-hot-hot. Thankfully, there was one day of blissful pool time, and a day in the much cooler Carmel. Also, thankfully, I made it to an awesome comic book store (Comics Conspiracy), and I blissfully OBed (“Over Barbecued”) on pulled pork, sausage, gorgeously amazing BBQ ribs (ohhhhhhhh my), and accompanied all of that with a vegetable dish…BBQ chicken. Hot dang, it was glorious, but now I'm all about the broccoli, bell peppers, squash, and lettuce. But after a brutal early-early-early morning drive back to Santa Barbara, we’re back and seeing what kind of shenanigans Obie has gotten into with his “wholacracy” (his version of holacracy) nonsense. In the meantime, grab some killer tacos (or BBQ ribs!), and a strong ginger ale — or perhaps an iced tea, iced tea is nice — and settle in to enjoy this week’s post. Thank you for reading.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Sex Criminals 11
Sex Criminals #11 - Written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Chip Zdarsky, edited by Thomas K, production by Drew Gill, published by Image Comics. Brimpers, meet Doug D. Douglas. He’s first on the list of people Jon and Suzie seek to bring to their side in the battle against Kegelface and her Pervtastic Duo. The interesting thing about Doug is that when he enters The Quiet he _____ and manifests a _____ _____. Meanwhile, someone is sleeping with the enemy…literally.

Dang, denizens. I didn’t get one of the one-in-twenty sketch comics. Neither did the guy in line behind me, who was also buying this title. Oh well, whatchagonna do? Anyhow, the wait between arcs is finally over for what is still one of my top five comics on the racks. Fraction and Zdarsky introduce a new character, push another away, and things look to become very complicated in the near future for our heroes.

Although this issue did not have me laughing as much as other issues have, I was still smiling the whole way through given the wonderful dialogue, captions, and Zdarsky’s beautiful art. Character acting and drama drive this issue, with subtle changes in a character’s face revealing so much of what is not being said, especially in the scene with Kegelface. Speaking of her, I especially loved how the creators took two very similar scenes and had the results play out vastly different, which just goes to show how sex and sexuality, and likes and dislikes are entirely personal; there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to sex (this goes for education and child learning, too, politicians!). However, I must admit I was a little taken aback by one character refusing to be involved with Jon and Suzie, but I have a feeling they will show up again later. *Side note: Why are the dolphins in Florida smoking a joint and wearing a pink tank top respectively? The ones in California don’t do that. Curious…

Oh yeah, don’t skip reading the letters column (trust me, it’s always a hoot), or you’ll miss the last page of the story on the inside back cover.

If you are not reading Sex Criminals and you are a sex-positive adult who likes gorgeous, vibrant art and a fun story that does not treat sex as a bad thing, but rather as something that is fun, ridiculous, and complicated, then this is the book for you. Despite what the comic’s title, might lead the unbrimped to think, this book is not pr0n. It is a book about relationships and having the freedom to be yourself with the occasional hilarious dick joke tossed in for good measure. There’s some nudity, but much less than you would expect. What you can expect is to laugh the whole way through as you spot things you have personally experienced (pr0n in the woods, anyone?), or suddenly relate to the various characters in one way or another. You can pick up the first two trades, or shoot your wad on the beautiful hardcover. Sex Criminals always jumps to the top of my read pile. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Low #8
Low #8 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Greg Tocchini, colored by Dave McCaig, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. After devoting her life to quantomology and the fight against pessimism, Stel Caine beliefs have been tested. Now, after so much loss, she begins to waiver, but when a fellow survivor of the tragedy at Poluma reveals his dark past, Stel clings to hope and what a long abandoned city might hold.

Denizens, I liked Low since issue one, but it just gets better and better with each issue. Remender’s stories tend to lean toward the deeply personal and this book is no different. With Stel, we feel her pain and understand how difficult it is to remain positive, to not sink into despair and hopelessness as life continues to crumble all around her; she trudges on. Even with a reformed psychopath now joining her on her quest — as well as the merwoman Mertali — she still manages to pull herself from the brink of despair to continue to find the probe that might be humanity’s last hope for survival. Unfortunately, Stel isn’t privy to the first five pages that let us know exactly where the probe has landed, and it is chilling. Still, Stel’s optimism, as beautifully written by Remender, is infectious even after I set the comic down.

Tocchini’s art is as lovely and flowing and graceful as ever, even when depicting some fairly horrific moments that bookend this issue — whoa doggy, those are some creepy images. His work is at its most magical when Stel and Mertali glide through the darkened depths of the dead city as they search for supplies. Even though I have seen Stel’s swimming suit before, I cannot help but marvel at the killer design and thought put into the costuming of the characters. I also never would have guessed that someone other than Tocchini had colored this issue, as McCaig’s style and palette perfectly match the mood and atmosphere of what has come before. This is one helluva beautiful comic, and I’m thrilled that following the letters column, Tocchini allows us some insight into his work process with this issue.

I’m a sucker for undersea stories, but Low is something else. We have an imaginative world, complex characters, and a real sense of peril lurking at every page turn, but it is not only the brilliant and gorgeous Stel Caine or the ultra-groovy monsters lurking in the shadows that draw me to this book, but the deep sense of hope in the face of repeated terrible events that seal the deal on this post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, underwater adventure comic. If you have not been reading Low, then by all means pick up the stoopidly inexpensive first trade ($5.18 for six issues as of today!) and see what it is all about, but be warned that this book is not for the kiddies. I wholeheartedly love this series, and hope to read it for many years to come…as well as see some Tajo and Della spinoffs of their years spent apart (please please please). VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Lazarus #18 - Written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Michael Lark, inked by Michael Lark and Tyler Boss, colored by Santi Arcas, lettered by Jodi Wynne, publication design and additional content by Eric Trautmann, edited by David Brothers, published by Image Comics. The war between Family Carlyle and Family Hock wages on with Lake Superior of most vital importance. Casey Solomon, most recently lifted to active military duty, discovers that Lazarus Forever Carlyle is every bit as lethal and cunning as reported. Miles away, Michael Barrett, also recently lifted, discovers the stresses of his new job.

The previous chapters all begin to come together, as the characters from “Lift” appear within the ranks of the serfs of the Family Carlyle. This month, we have the usual background Family machinations, but the strongest moments come from Forever and Casey’s interactions on the battlefield, and Michael’s discovery of his one and only medical concern as new Family Carlyle doctor on staff…talk about pressure. Rucka also brings back, all too briefly, Marisol and Sonja — two of my favorite characters — where their growing camaraderie begins to show; I hope to see this develop more in the future.

Lark destroys with this issue. Not only do we see the fantastic character acting we have come to expect, we also see some tremendous storytelling moments as Forever stalks and kills the enemy combatants, dispensing them one after the other. Those first three pages had me cheering for Forever, but more so left unnerved at the thought of what it means to face off against a Lazarus <brrrrr>. Speaking of <brrrr>…Arcas’s colors are dark, moody, but my favorite images center around those in the open air of Minnesota as the white snow falls around the troops, and the background imagery is knocked out relative to the foreground. The panel of Forever and her troop walking through the city streets is my favorite of the issue.

Lazarus continues to be a fantastic read that blurs the line between science fiction and science / political / economic possibility, which is honestly quite terrifying. With great characters, a robust world, and writing and art that mesh perfectly together, you can’t go wrong with this Donist World darling of a comic. You can and should pick up the three available trades, or splurge for the impressive hardcover, but as I always say, the floppies are where it is at, as there are many pages of insightful letters, responses, and world-building tidbits that you will not find in the collections. Everyone should be reading this dystopian triumph. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Southern Bastards #10
Southern Bastards #10 - Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Jason Latour, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. This issue focuses on Esaw, Coach Boss’s right hand man. It is a story of redemption, of lifting one’s self above the pain and the misery, of transcending one’s lot in life to help one’s fellow man in… … …I am totally lying. Esaw is an awful human being, through and through. You already hated this Southern Bastard when you first met him, and you will hate him even more by the time you finish this issue. Guaranteed.

I must admit that I am itchy to see Tubb’s daughter arrive in Craw County, but these past two biopic-esque looks at the secondary characters in this must-read crime series have been great. I applaud the Jasons bravery in showing that not every character needs to experience a transformation of any sort in order for a book to be a compelling read. Esaw does not change at all, he is who he is. In fact, it is the secondary character in this story about a secondary character who experiences any degree of changing. If anything, Esaw is an instrument that forces others to change, while he remains constant. I anticipate he will remain so for the entirety of the series.

This comic is also not for the kiddies, which is readily apparent from the opening first-page splash…and subsequently nearly every single panel through to the end. *side note: Hot sauce?!?!* Latour’s style has changed slightly over these past few issues, which is fine, but his fantastic storytelling and character acting are as consistent and powerful as ever. Southern Bastards’s beauty lies in its awful ugliness, an ugliness that grabs hold and refuses to let you turn away. You need to be reading this book.

Dang, I wish I had picked up the cover of the dog shredding the Confederate flag, but, alas, I only found out about it after reading Latour’s informative essay at the back of this issue — another reason to buy the floppies! Oh well. As I’ve said before, I don’t care for football. I actually dislike it for many reasons (criminal dog fighters allowed to return to the MILLIONS of dollars of pay being one of many), but this crime comic centering on the darker side of the sport is just too good to pass up. Now with an FX television series in the works (it better actually happen), I am even more excited to read about something I actively hate. You can easily catch up with the first two trades (currently, you can get both for under $11!!!) or the soon-to-be-released hardcover in October, and you should, if you are a fan of football, crime comics, or just plain good ol’comic books. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Channeling My Inner Stel Caine - We're keeping it positive today. It’s been long week with little sleep, brutally hot weather up north, and crazy long drives. Repeat after me, denizens: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” Great things are on the horizon. Thank you for reading.

And on that positive note…

(Sung to the tune of Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face”)

Stel Caine’s full of hope
One more bad break could bring her fall
One thing you should know
You should be reading Low
Awesome sci-fi from below
Sex Criminals’s no tease
Lazarus you need
Southern Barstards succeeds

Titres pour votre visage
Titles for your face


No comments:

Post a Comment