Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 10/16/2015

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Sex Criminals, Low, I Hate Fairyland, and East of West

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 / master scheduler Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). Yup, I’m totally late this week, but never fear, denizens, I haven’t missed a weekly post in five and a half years, and I ain’t about to miss one now. Anyhow, I’ll keep the intro brief, as there’re some killer comics to talk about this week. Thankfully, Obie pretended to storm out of the office in a huff around noon, so I was able to get a lot of work done without him trying enact yet another fringe management style or pilfer the petty cash drawer for spare kibble money; he just wanted to leave early so he kick it at the park and eat some chicken tacos. So, while I hammer this out, pour yourself a nice cool sweet tea, set yourself up with some tasty tacos, and settle in for this week’s post. Thank you for reading.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Sex Criminals #13
Sex Criminals #13 - Created by Matt Fraction (not given props for Harvey award in humor) and Chip Zdarsky (Harvey award turn-downer for humor), color flats by Spencer Afonso, edited by Thomas K, production by Drew Gill, published by Image Comics. Alix has always felt different. An outsider. An alien. Actually, she has always wished she was an alien. That would explain her lack of interest in that way when it comes to boys…or girls for that matter. But Alix has a secret, a secret that makes her one of the most unique people on the planet.

Jon and Suzie only show up on one page of this issue. Now, now, denizens, don’t go gettin’ all discouraged, this issue focuses predominantly on new character Alix, who looks to make quite a splash in future issues with her unique connection with “The Quiet.” Not only do we get this awesome new character, but we catch another glimpse of Kimiko, as well as a peek at one creator totally owning another (sorry, not gonna clarify, you just need to read the book and be up on recent events).

What I will tell you about Alix is that she is a asexual, and this issue chronicles her life as a young girl and follows her into adolescence. But how does an asexual person enter “The Quiet” and how do her powers manifest? That I am not going to tell you, but it is pretty dang cool, and every bit as magical as we have come to expect from Zdarsky’s gorgeous imagery and wondrous light show of colors and glows. Much like issue nine (read my thoughts about it here), which explored the character of Ana Kinkaid, this issue takes an in-depth look at Alix, and what her life was like being asexual in world of constant pressure to conform to what others call “the norm”…especially from the boys who just might possibly die were she not to help them with their dang-near terminal case of horniness. No, seriously, they might totally, like, die to death or somethin’ if she doesn’t help them out.

As always, this issue is a complete crack up and firmly cements Sex Criminals as one of the best comics hitting the stands. The fantastic thing about this issue, and the series as a whole for that matter, is that behind the many laugh-out-loud moments hides an honest and celebratory look at what makes us all so wonderfully different, even minus any sort of superpowers. Jon and Suzie have always felt real, like close friends, and the same goes for Robert and Rachel. But Fraction and Zdarsky also bring us in close with the newer characters, Douglas D. Douglas, Ana, and now Alix, to the point that we laugh, cringe, and relate with them through the story of their lives; now I kinda love them, too.

As I always say, this is not a series for the kiddies; there’re bad words (*gasp!*), occasional nudity (*oh*, I believe I have the vapours!), and humor that they will just not get (trust me, though, they hear and see much worse than parents could ever imagine on the playground and on the internet). But beyond those things, there’s much for everyone to love in Sex Criminals from the acceptance of others, to knowing you aren’t alone, to the good and bad that comes with life, and to a positive look at sex in a world that has historically tried to demonize it. If you are an adult in need of a break from your normal superhero fare, and you are not reading this Donist World darling, then you can easily catch up with the hardcover or the first two trades. I simply adore this book. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Low #10
Low #10 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Greg Tocchini, colored by Dave McCaig, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Stel Caine is in the clutches of an aquatic vampire who know just the right buttons to push to coax her into giving up and submitting to becoming a meal. Will Stel cave to despair? Or will the hope that has guided her throughout her life prevail?

This issue closes the second chapter of Low, and what an exciting roller coaster of a ride to leave us with until the series returns, January 2016. This issue is also quite timely for those looking for a horror fix before Halloween, as Stel’s situation is scary to say the least. Remender writes a creepy psychological horror scene that is certain to give you the willies as the mer-creature mesmerizes and pleads with Stel, one mother to another, into freely giving up her blood to seemingly nourish a starving child. Things go dreadfully wrong from there, and Tocchini adds the disturbing reality of what is happening as McCaig’s lush purples and blues escalate the unease of the imagery. Despite the harshness of what you see in the book, this is easily one of the most beautiful looking issues in the series to date.

The creators immediately plummet the reader into darkness and keep us unbalanced for the entire issue, until both the characters and the reader rise again toward the next chapter. The whole experience of reading this issue, marveling at the beautiful artwork and shifting color schemes is an exhilarating and satisfying journey that went by all too quickly. I can’t wait for Low to return in the new year.

This issue is a fantastic read, and the perfect close to this chapter. Like Stel, we are left with a sense of hope for what is to come, although we all know that more heartache is in store for what remains of the Caine family. My only gripe with this issue is the misleading cover, which doesn’t happen, but who cares, I still wish it was a poster I could hang in my home. If you are not reading this great post-apocalyptic, underwater, sci-fi, horror, thriller, adventure of a comic, then you must remedy that situation ASAP. You can do this by picking up the first ultra-inexpensive trade  ($5.49 for six issues!!!) today, and then picking up the second trade come mid-November. After that, you can bite your nails in anticipation of seeing what happens next for the magnificent Stel, her family, and her colleagues at the beginning of the year. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

I Hate Fairyland #1
I Hate Fairyland #1 - Most everythinged by Skottie Young, colored by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot, designed by Rian Hughes, published by Image Comics. All kids wish they could live in Fairyland, a place where they can be Princesses and Princes, eat cake and candy to their heart’s content, and frolic with strange, mystical creatures. This is the story of Gertrude, who gets her wish, much to her dismay.

This comic is complete, utter madness…and I love it. Young introduces us to Gertrude, who has been stuck in Fairyland for the past 27 years where she does not age, and try as she might, she cannot escape. Needless to say, Gertrude has some anger management issues after such a length of time and Young puts every imaginable weapon at her disposal so she can dispatch the inhabitants of Fairyland with extreme prejudice, which she gleefully does. This is one heck of a messed up comic, which you should be able to gather after a single look at the rather beautiful — in a horrific way — cover. <psssst> C’mere. I’ll let you in on a little secret…the cover is nuthin’ compared to what actually goes down inside the book. All that said, this comic is a “muffin huggin’” grand ol’ time.

Young has risen to some fairly lofty heights with his work over at Marvel, with the multitudes of covers and cute X-Babies and Avenger Babies covers, as well as his work on Rocket Raccoon (I really want to pick up his Oz books someday when I have, like, money and stuff). I suppose working on the more wholesome side of things for such an extended period of time is enough to make anyone see red, and thus we have I Hate Fairyland; thank goodness. Everything is cute and cuddly until Gertrude (and Young for that matter) determine the lead character has had enough and the carnage begins. Cartoon moons get their brains blown out, adorable little stars show what they are made of, and mushroom constables get consumed for a hallucinogenic effect. All of this occurs with Beaulieu’s vibrant, gorgeous colors giving the illusion of joy and double rainbows as the unspeakable carnage continues. Again, this book is messed up.

I honestly have no idea of what to expect going forward other than to be disturbed to the core of my being in the best of ways. I Hate Fairyland is not for faint of heart. Nay, denizens. It is for the nerds, the dorks, the weirdos, the geeks. It is for me. After my first read through, it is safe to say that this book is destined for cult status among the previously mentioned nerds, dorks, weirdos, and geeks who will no doubt be dying their hair green, and carrying large foam battle axes to their next comic con, much to the dismay and confusion of their parents. That said, this comic is not for everyone, but it was just the right amount of weirdness I needed. Now, where’d I put my foam battle axe? HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

East of West #21
East of West # 21 - Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Dragotta, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics. The world is on the brink of war, and now we see Doma’s motivation in sparking it all off. Unfortunately, The Endless Nation is aware of Doma’s duplicity and wishes to use that for themselves.

Okay, East of West has once again gone into the realm of being a shade difficult for me to follow, but that’s okay. I know the creators will bring it all back around in the near future, and as long as we get to see Doma, and a new horse beast (scary, scary horse beast) rocketing across the plains, then I am a happy camper. I will definitely say that I miss seeing Death and Babylon, and hope that we check in with them in the near future.

East of West continues to be an intense mind trip of a post-apocalyptic comic, and although los cerebros de Donist occasionally have some difficulty following along with the story, it is always a thought-provoking and beautifully illustrated ride. If you are not reading this fine comic, and you are cool with many players on the board and not being spoon-fed answers to the myriad questions that are sure to arise, then this is the post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, horror, alternate history book for you. It’s heady stuff, but the creators have proven that patience and perseverance will be rewarded throughout the course of the story. You can dive into the thick of things with the first four available trades and/or the beautiful hardcover. RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Yes, I am Dreadfully Late Posting Today - Sorry about that, folks. Thursday was positively insane: I had an interview; I had files I had to process and prepare for printing, I had to take Tulip for a walk, I had to tutor for a class, and I went to my wife’s work party. Yeah, no time to even start Donist World that day. I’m still kind of wiped out. But, hey, Amy’s work party was at a cool pumpkin patch, where I won a monster-sized pumpkin! We also got to go into a brutally difficult corn maze…in the dark…where we got lost…where all the horror movies of my life came to mind until we were semi-rescued by the very, very odd kid who worked there (dang, I actually hope he worked there…), who sort-of showed us the way out.

<GASP!> I Forgot to Pick Up The Twilight Children - Gosh darn it. <sigh> I’m sure it’s sold out by now. Dang…just…dang.

And on that note…

(Sung to the tune of Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll”)

That Sex Criminals book’s awesome, it’s kinda keen
That new cat Alix’s powers must be seen
Low is extremely strong
East of West cruises on
And I could tell they’d be oh so hella fun to read, yeah read
And I could tell they’d be oh so hella fun to read, yeah read

Singing, I Hate Fairyland
Gertrude wagin’ war on some cartoon freakoids
I Hate Fairyland
So come and take some time and read with me


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