Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 2/26/2016

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Saga, Chew, 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 / Deadpool Historian Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). <shhhhhhhhhhhhh> Be very, very quiet, Denizens. Tulip and Reverse Obie are both crashed out on the couch here at the corporate office (Mom’s basement), and I don’t want to wake them. You see, they have both been pulling double duty with Donist World and maintaining our status as a Fortune 320,000 company since I started a new job this week (for which I am very excited). They’ve made coffee, discussed business plans, and also took out the trash per the landlord’s (Mom’s) request. They even had breakfast burritos brought in so I could start the day out right at Donist World before heading out for the second part of the morning at the new job. So, grab a breakfast burrito (hint…go for the one with bacon) and a nice cup of coffee, put on some ’80s retro synth music, and most of all read some great comics. Take care. Thank you for reading!

*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.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Saga #34
Saga #34 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, lettered and designed by Fonografiks, coordinated by Eric Stephenson, published by Image Comics. Young Hazel would be in a world of trouble if not for friends in low and not-so-low places. Marko and Alana ask some old “friends” for some help finding their child. Meanwhile, The Will might have the will to succeed, but he might no longer be playing with a full deck. Finally…Friendo!!!

Holy guacamole! That was only 22 pages? For some reason this issue felt about double that. This is not a slam against the creators, and I do not mean to imply that the book was a chore to read. Quite the opposite. Multiple storylines move forward this issue, as we follow three of the four groups of characters whom the creators have endeared to us over the course of this fantastic series. We have watched Marko, Alana, and Hazel grow, love, make mistakes, drift, make some really bad mistakes, and reconnect with renewed purpose as the myriad other characters — all fully rounded out in their own rights — do the same. All the characters of Saga are so well developed, so fascinating that I’m uncertain whether their importance to the story should be reduced by referring to them as “secondary.” They’re all important, and I care deeply about each of them…even the “bad” guys.

On the subject of loving things, check out the cover with Ghüs the seal boy fishing from off of Friendo’s (a pet walrus-like thing) back. Beautiful, cute, stunning. Staples’s gorgeous work only gets better with every issue, and although the interior pages of Saga don’t necessarily have the level of painterly detail as this striking cover, they are equally powerful in their storytelling and drama; I dare you to not smile when Alana sees Friendo after being gone for so long, or when Hazel’s mind is blown by some all-too-true advice from her teacher. Dang, what I’m trying to say, Denizens, is that this book is as pretty as it is beautifully written.

If you have not been reading the book (the thought of which, I dare say, gives me the vapors) that helped lead the deluge of great Image titles a few years back, then what you need to know is that Saga is essentially Romeo and Juliet in space with differing alien species at the forefront, robot princes, Lying Cats, bounty hunters, seal boys, love, heartbreak, family, and the difficulties of trying to make your own way in life. You will laugh (some DEFINITE not for kids moments in this series…you’ve been warned), you will laugh even harder, you will gasp at things you will never be able to un-see (Fard! and also that goofy dragon), you will be shocked, you will be appalled, you will cry. But then you will laugh again and want to start all over from the very beginning. So, yeah, I still very much love this series, and recommend you either pick up the stunning hardcover, or take the easy road with the almost-as-cool trades. Regardless, check out the epic Saga, you’ll be glad you did. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew #55
Chew #55 - Written and lettered by John Layman, illustrated and colored by Rob Guillory, color assists by Taylor Wells, published by Image Comics. Mason Savoy has done a bad, bad thing, and it’s all in an effort to get Tony Chu to finally open his eyes to the truth.

Wow. Chew is many things: funny, disgusting, disturbing, hilarious, weird, intriguing, compelling, sad, and occasionally heartwarming. It has also been a Donist World Darling since around issue three and is a book I eagerly await each month(ish). It is the most unique comic to hit the stands in decades in both concept (food-based powers, FDA the most powerful government agency, cyborg luchador chicken murder machines, chogs, etc.) and highly-stylized art.

This issue, which rounds up the penultimate chapter of the entire series <sob>, “The Last Supper,” succeeded in not just throwing me for a loop once, but twice in a single issue. I totally did not see either of the twists coming (I also ain’t spoilin’), and actually gasped with each reveal. To be honest, this is one of the best issues of Chew to date, which is saying a lot as while the weakest issues in the series have been really, really good, with the best being quite heavenly.

Although I’m always happy to say how thrilled I am by Guillory’s cartooning, this issue is something else entirely. The storytelling and excitement built into every panel is tremendous in what is primarily a dramatic issue this month versus one of action. Even as the series takes a few steps closer to its end, Guillory continues to up his game on the visuals, which should come as no surprise to Chew fans.

Dang, Denizens, I love Chew. As much as I don’t want it to end, I have to admit that I am already biting my nails in anticipation of the Demon Chicken Poyo one-shot, and the final five-issue story arc. <sigh> Dang. Anyhow, at this point if you jump in on the issues, then you are insane. I appreciate the enthusiasm — really, I do — but we’re in the home touchdown stretch push (or whatever sport metaphor is appropriate), and jumping in here will deprive you of all the awesomeness that came before. So, ignore the floppies and jump in with the first trade and progress from there, OR even better, pick up the oversized hardcover (the Omnivore Edition), which reminds me I need to double dip and pick up the fifth hardcover to go on my bookshelf of treasures, where Chew definitely belongs. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rachel Rising #40
Rachel Rising #40 - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. Rachel and Lilith chat as the murderous Zoe takes a trip.

Rachel Rising is one of my favorite horror comics currently seeing release. Part Twin Peaks, part ghost story, part emotional and illustrated beauty (much like what we fell in love with in Moore’s masterpiece Strangers in Paradise), Rachel Rising is a delightful, funny, scary, creepy, unnerving ride. I love it. That said, this is not my favorite issue of the series. Simmer down, Denizens, simmer down. Let me explain.

The art is everything you would expect from Moore: it is stunning, it is beauty. When talking about Moore’s art, you would be hard pressed to find anyone better at conveying a character’s story solely through their facial gestures and body language. The art is fantastic as always. I was mostly a bit lost by much of the issue being a hallucinogen-induced vision quest, which isn’t usually my thing. Still, although this isn’t my favorite issue to date, it is still damn well worth reading as part of the greater narrative…speaking of which, I feel a reread of the series coming on…

Take my tiny quibble about this issue with a grain of salt and be sure to check out this great series. You can easily catch up with the trades, and be confident that not only are you getting a fantastic, creator-owned horror comic by a master writer-artist, you are also ensuring we get more Rachel Rising (and hopefully a television series as well) in the future. RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

It Has Been a Good Week…For Me, But Not For Others - I finally had a good week, but the same cannot be said for the people killed or injured or touched by wackadoos with guns this week. NO ONE NEEDS OR SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO A SEMI- OR FULLY-AUTOMATIC WEAPON. There is no need for anyone to have one. The only reason to own one is to for the purpose of killing or harming others.

I know, I know, again no song this week, but I have to finish up my week at the new job and my schedule is all out of whack. I’ll get it under control in the coming weeks.


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