Friday, June 3, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 6/3/2016

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Deadly Class, Paper Girls, and Batman: Rebirth

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 / beach cleaner upper Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). Today, my puppy executive team and I are taking a break from the usual efforts to maintain our status as a Fortune 320,000 company, and we’re heading out to do a beach cleanup as part of our community outreach efforts. That’s right, Denizens, we’re not even going into the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement), instead heading out for some sun (it’s actually fogged in) and some fun (fun until we get annoyed at all the cigarette butts and plastic bottles left on the sand by lazy humans). We’re doin’ it! So, as we grab our rubber gloves, some trash bags, and a quick doughnut, you should pour a coffee, have some delicious breakfast tacos, 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***

Deadly Class #21
Deadly Class #21 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, colored by Jordan Boyd, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Freshman Finals is rapidly approaching its end. With the rising sun comes many changes for the students of King’s Dominion as some are betrayed, some die, and some fulfill their destiny. You don’t want to miss the shocking conclusion to the “Die for Me” story arc.

I…I just…dang…I don’t know what to…ugh. Dang. Dang. Dang, Denizens! What the heck did I just read?! I’m shaking after reading this issue. Holy cow, the creators are a couple of mean meanies with a penchant for cruelty. Dang. Just dang. Okay, now that I (sort of) got that out of my system, I have to figure out how to tell you about this issue without spoiling anything, as so many crazy things happen in this issue that even divulging one of them will lessen the impact of experiencing each event organically by reading the story — and there are many shockers this issue, boy howdy, are there many.

This arc has been particularly brutal, but it’s also been my favorite, which is saying something given how good the other arcs have been. As I mentioned above, the previous issues had the hint of betrayal, but I had no idea of the degree to which some characters are willing to go. Sure some are motivated by self-preservation, but others are opportunistic, while others seek to fulfill…more sinister needs. Harsh would probably be a good word to describe this issue, and I mean that as the highest form of praise.

Craig’s art and storytelling are as compelling as ever, and he again opts to not use any non-standard panel layouts. He doesn’t need any additional push to the action of the scene, as the buildup from previous issues has already made every moment in this issue as nerve-wracking as possible. It’s a beautifully choreographed stream of gut punch after gut punch up until the end. As wonderfully brutal as Craig’s art is in this issue, Boyd ramps up the emotion by diverging from his usual monochromatic colors with striking complementary color schemes that make the impact of this issue all the more devastating.

I love this issue. It might be my favorite to date. That said, you can’t just jump in with this arc. You need to start at the beginning with the first trade so you can become familiar with all of the characters so that the true weight of everything that happens in this issue will smack you in the face the way it did me. After this ending, I seriously have no idea where things will go from here, and given that the creators used all 28-pages — including the back inside cover, no less — I have no clues to grasp on to until the the book returns from what will be a painfully long hiatus. You need to read Deadly Class, Denizens, it’s as fantastic as all of Remender’s other creator-owned work, and you can easily catch up with the three trades (fourth in August), or the impressive oversized hardcover coming in July. Whatever you do, just be sure you check out this book about a high school for assassins set in the ’80s. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Paper Girls #6
Paper Girls #6 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matt Wilson, flats by Dee Cunniffe, lettered and designed by Jared K. Fletcher, published by Image Comics. Four paper girls were living the day to day, working their routes, doing what’s right. That was 1988. Now, one of the girls is missing, and the others have appeared in 2016 where one of them, Erin, meets her future self. Time travel…it’s complicated.

Man, that wait seemed like forever. I tell ya. But I’m so glad it’s finally over. Now that three of the four girls are in the future — our present, mind you — and hanging with an older version of Erin…I am still as in the dark as to what the heck is going on as ever, but that’s okay. I’m certain the creators will eventually fill us in on the details of what is happening, but for now I’m perfectly happy being as clueless as Erin, Tiffany, Mac, and older Tiffany as we all try to figure out what made the world get so incredibly weird. That’s the magic of Vaughan’s writing: you can’t help but become immersed in his characters’ lives, which is especially easy to do given Chiang’s delightful art.

Even without the weirdos from the future, the butt-ugly teenagers, the monsters, and the beautifully laid out backgrounds, it’s easy to get lost in Chiang’s character acting and storytelling. I especially love future-Tiffany’s additional age lines, as well as her more modern hair and clothes. You can see the weariness that life has inflicted upon the woman, a weariness missing from her much younger self. All of this is enhanced by Wilson’s flat but effective colors, with the knockouts on the characters’ faces softening the lines to make their expressions all the more realistic. This is one beautiful book.

So what exactly is Paper Girls? Beats me. What I do know is that this sci-fi, time traveling adventure is a heck of a lot of fun, with cool characters, and a captivating story that adds a couple questions with each answer it gives. It’s also a comic appropriate for all-ages, provided you don’t mind some cussing. If you do mind cussing, then I should be the first to tell you that you precious little snow flake has already heard and said worse things (it’s true, I heard them) than you will ever find in this fantastic comic book that everyone should be reading. If you have not already read this series, then pick up the first remarkably-inexpensive trade, as well as this issue, and I bet your bottom dollar that you will be as desperate as I am to see what happens next. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batman: Rebirth #1
Batman: Rebirth #1 - Written by Scott Snyder and Tom King, illustrated by Mikel Janín, colored by June Chung, lettered by Deron Bennett, published by DC Comics. Calendar Man attempted to kill Gotham City through the release of deadly spores, but luckily the Batman was there to stop him. Unfortunately, the creepy villain had a contingency plan.

It’s been a little while since I read an issue of Batman, so I don’t know who the kid is who shows up at Bruce Wayne’s door, or how this Batman is any different from the New 52 Batman, but what the heck…best to just roll with it and have some fun. You can also have a nightmare or two given the little history lesson / “rebirth” sequence involving Calendar Man, which I have to say is something I hope doesn’t sneak into my head as I try to sleep tonight…<brrrrrr> freaky.

Before this issue, I was unfamiliar with Janín’s art, and I am not sure if he will continue on future Batman issues or not, but I will say he is a great fit for this book. I especially love the moments with Calendar Man, and the scenes of Bruce and Lucius talking. Hollingsworth’s colors add to Janín’s already impressive line work, and the colors add perfectly to the mood of each scene.

Even though I still have some questions, I have to say that I enjoyed this book, and I’m curious to see where things are headed in Batman #1. I am especially interested to see exactly how Snyder will traumatize me come August when All-Star Batman debuts, because we’re all aware just how well the writer knows how to divvy out the thrills and the chills. I can’t wait. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Beach Cleanups - No, I’m not against taking a work day to clean the beach, I strongly believe in doing so. Too much crap ends up in our oceans nowadays. The oceans…our supposed source of endless food, but I don’t see anyone serving up plastic water bottles or cigarette butts with a garlic-butter sauce alongside a baked potato and a sprig of parsley. No. My problem with beach cleanups is that we even have to have such things. Here’s the deal: if you go to the beach, pickup after yourself; if you go to the park pickup after yourself; don’t give your hard-earned money to big tobacco; don't give big corporations money for bottled water, use a reusable bottle. Basically, leave the world a better place than you found it. *This has been a public service announcement from the Donist World Green Team.

Some Kind of Nuttiness Involving Captain America as a Hydra Agent - In a rare turn of events, a few overly-vocal comic fans have had at best their fee-fees hurt and at worst their childhoods ruined by the revelation in the new number one issue of Captain America: Steve Rogers that the hero has actually been a secret Hydra agent, or something. Now, granted, I have not read the issue, so I cannot comment on the writing or the art, but I can comment on the outcry and complaints. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion as to whether or not they like a book for whatever reason. If you liked the comic, great. If you didn’t like it, bummer about the lost $4.99 + tax sales price (Wow! Now that’s something to be upset about). But for those outraged by the massively spoiled twist of this issue, chill the hell out. It’s a plot twist. It’s a component of story, meant to make readers go, “Huh?!?!” You’re supposed to wonder what happened, why it happened, and how it happened. I can promise you that by the time the story arc wraps, we’ll all find that something crazy happened with ol’ Stevie-boy that will probably make everyone breathe a sigh of relief once it all gets straightened out. Also, for those complaining and angrily decrying Marvel and the creators on social media, you do realize that every trembling-with-rage, tear-stained post you make sells more copies. You do, right? What it comes down to is if you don't like it, don't buy it. Simple. It’s comic books, folks, there’s supposed to be shockers.


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