Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 9/11/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Deadly Class, Bitch Planet

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 / chillwave coordinator Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). Grrrrrrrrrrr…last week my executive team and I thanked mighty Apollo for drawing his fiery carriage and glorious steeds away from par baked Santa Barbara. We were able to do a few walk-’n’-talk meetings concerning our status as a Fortune 320,000 company, and generally focus on our cross geo synergies and corporate culture. Alas, Apollo must have lost his wallet somewhere around here and has returned to find it. In other words, it’s been stupid-hot, and stepping out to mist ourselves from the water hose is only a temporary reprieve from the heat madness. Dang, not only has it been so hot that I can’t sleep, we only had two measly comics in the Donist World pull this week. But this is fine…those two books are all kinds of awesomeness. So, while I help Apollo find his dang wallet so he leaves and makes things more tolerable, please fire up some chillwave music (new Neon Indian album in October!), pour yourself some nice cool sweet tea, get yourself a taco basket, and settle in for this week’s post. Thank you for reading.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Deadly Class #16
Deadly Class #16 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, colored by Jordan Boyd, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Marcus really is his own worst enemy. At least now he’s realizing it…sort of. Unfortunately, it might be too late. Old friends hate him, old enemies want to ruin him, he’s pissing off the school snitch, and he’s about to screw things up even worse. Oh, to be a teenager again.

I’ve been a fan of Deadly Class since the first issue, but recently some of the book’s intensity has waned. Now, with this conclusion to the third chapter, the intensity ramps up to leave us in for a painful wait until the next issue come December. Although Marcus is beginning to realize that he is the main component in the machine of his many bad situations — a friend flat out tells him this — he still can’t help but continue to dig himself in deeper. Not only that, but Marcus still has the repercussions of his past deeds to account for. Thankfully, he is off the drugs in this issue, and is thinking more clearly, but the book would not be the same were Marcus to have everything handed to him on a silver platter. He devises a plan to deal with his current blackmail problem, but for all of the character’s self-destructiveness, the universe also has no intention of making his life any easier. The timing of Headmaster Lin’s call for the “End of Year Orientation” looks to create even more hardships for Marcus, but given the level of horrid luck in this issue, chapter four might just offer the kid a way to set things right.

One thing is for sure…Craig’s art has never looked better than with this issue. I know, I know, I practically say that with every new release, but, as always, it is true. Everything from Craig’s high panel counts, dramatic use of shadows, brilliant character acting, and killer storytelling sequences just gets better and better. The scenes leading up to Marcus’s encounter with Viktor had my heart rate steadily increasing until the nerve-wracking confrontation in the showers, where the intensity rockets through the roof. All the while, Boyd’s mostly-monochromatic coloring schemes intensify the mood, ensuring your eyes stay glued to the page. The jump from the predominant cool green panels to the flash of orange with each gunshot are a shock to eyes, but the effect is so exciting, so thrilling you cannot help but become immersed in the insanity of the moment. Then you arrive at the ghoulish oranges of the “Orientation”…I can’t wait to see what happens next.

So, yes, things had slowed down for a little bit, but Deadly Class has again picked up steam, and the next chapter looks to be particularly insane. If you want to read a not-for-the-young-’uns comic about a high school for assassins that is set in the ’80s with a massively flawed protagonist — who still gets you to root for him despite his actions — then look no further than this awesome comic. You can easily catch up with the first two trades, with the third arriving mid-October. Rick Remender is on a roll with his trio of creator-owned comics (Low and Black Science being the other two), and Tokyo Ghost, releasing next week, looks to be a worthy addition to his already tremendous stable. Deadly Class is a trip every comic lover should be riding. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Bitch Planet #5
Bitch Planet #5 - Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro, Colored by Cris Peter, lettered by Clayton Cowles, design by Rian Hughes, backmatter design by Laurenn McCubbin, edited by Lauren Sankovitch, published by Image Comics. The woman of the A.C.O. — aka “Bitch Planet” — are set to have their first Megaton practice scrimmage. Their opponents? The sadistic guards of the A.C.O. What ever could go wrong?

It has been a while since we last read an issue of the phenomenal Bitch Planet, and although I was worried about following the story after the long delays, by page two I was totally back in the thick of things, and cheering for my favorite “Non-Compliants.” As I say all too often, I generally do not care about sports. Yet here we have an ultra-violent game that involves moving a round ball from one end of the field to the other and beating people up. It’s basically football and rugby with a supersized helping of beatings added to the mix. As dumb as it all sounds, DeConnick and De Landro have made us love the characters so much, that the whole thing is actually quite fascinating. I want to see Kam crunch a guard. I want to see Penny Rolle take on a squad of goons and plow them into the dirt. I want to know each of the MANY new characters introduced with little more than a reference file pic and brief description of their crime(s), while getting to see them in action on the field. That’s all I need to be pulled firmly into the womens’ corner and cheering for The A.C.O Naughty N.C.S. The end of this story arc also brings a shocking turn that I was not expecting so early in the comic, and although I feel delaying said event for another arc or two could have made a deeper impact, it was a powerful moment nonetheless…how’s that for vague?

De Landro’s art is just as beautiful as in previous issues, and with much of the issue following the action of the game, it is clear to see the great storytelling involved. Of equal importance is the character acting; both on and off the field. Much of the emotions involved occur on the field, but I especially liked the pages where the Father and Makoto discuss the coming Megaton game. Every page that features Makoto, after the first, is comprised of an eight-panel grid layout, and each takes us into this character’s life until a startling discovery (I ain’t spoiling). The strict adherence to this structure shows the sturdy foundation of Makato’s life, which I supect will come tumbling down along with the eight-panel grid layouts; I can’t wait to see it happen. Peter’s colors are still predominantly flat when used on living people, with the backgrounds and computer generated images showcasing effects like gradients / textures, all while providing one heck of a gorgeous look.

Yeah, the wait for this issue of Bitch Planet was a long one, but after seeing it in my pull, settling in with a Saint Archer IPA, and giving it a read, the wait was soooooooo worth it. The characters are great, their situation infuriating to the point of staying in my mind for days later, and the callbacks to all the culty films I love make Bitch Planet a dang fine and — dare I say — fun read. If you missed out on the floppies for this awesome new series, then I think you might be hosed on finding all five issues, as the Bitch Planet “Non-Complient” devotees probably snatch up all the copies they find; from what I can tell, they’re a fairly obsessive bunch…NO, denizens, you cannot have my issues! But never fear. You can pick up the first trade come mid-October and see what all the hubbub and excitement is all about. I strongly encourage you to give Bitch Planet a read, you’ll be glad you did. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

A Slow Comic Book Week - Yes, both of the new comics I read this week are great, fantastic actually, but I still wish I had another comic or two waiting for me at the ol’ LCS. Well, I suppose the only proper way to deal with a bad case of lack-of-new-comicsitis is to finally bust open my four lovely Chew: Omnivore Editions; I’ve been dying to reread Chew for some time now. If life gives you limes, denizens, get some tequila and make margaritas.

So Hot. So Very…Very…Hot - Grumble, grumble, grumble. Like my Boston terrier executive team, I love sunny days. However, these sunny days need to be on my terms. If the temperature is going to 95˚+, then I dang well better be under an umbrella, lounging by the pool, eating lime popsicles, sipping either mojitos or a steady supply of Sierra Nevada PIVO Pilsners or Firestone Easy Jacks, all while being served cucumber and tomato slices drenched in lime juice and dusted with chili powder and salt. Is that so unreasonable? The problem: I currently have none of these things. The closest thing to a swimming pool is the garden hose, and the lime popsicles are long gone, as are the PIVOs and cucumbers. I could go take a quick dip in the ocean at the nearby beach, but seeing as how the beach was littered with seaweed and dead fish last time, it’s not the most pleasant of places right now. Even worse, the heat’s been so bad, I haven’t really slept for a week. Oh well, it’s supposed to start cooling off, and the “Mist” setting on the garden hose is calling Tulip and me…

And on that heated note…

(Sung to the tune of The Style Council’s “Have You Ever Had It Blue”)

Have you ever sought great books that’d please you through and through
A stop at your LCS’s where you’ll find somethin’ new
Bitch Planet’s rocking, thrilling, gripping, chilling NC crew
Deadly Class is a great one to shake your nerves it’s true
Have you read such awesome books, they’re the best I’m tellin’ you


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