Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 6/24/2016

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Bitch PlanetWonder Woman, Archie,and Power Man and Iron Fist

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 / perpetuator of poolside partying Tulip (my dog, Obie’s sister). It’s been a long work week after having spent last weekend baking in the Ojai heat; thank goodness we had a glorious swimming pool and a bucket full of frosty beverages to help keep us cool. We were also able to catch up on some older comics we missed this past month, but we’ll talk about until next week when it looks like slim pickings for the ol’ comic pull. We’re also glad things are cooler (both in temperature and grooviness) around the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) this week, especially given Reverse Obie’s new office addition of a waffle making station, which is pure magic. So, pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee, cook up some waffles, 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***

Bitch Planet #8
Bitch Planet #8 - Written Kelly Sue DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick, lettered by Clayton Cowles, designed by Rian Hughes, backmatter designed by Laurenn McCubbin, edited by Lauren Sankovitch, published by Image Comics. Even though her new bunkmate was once her jailer, Kamau Kogo will not falter in her quest to find her sister. Meanwhile, Meiko Maki’s father, Makoto, arrives at Bitch Planet and begins to suspect that he is not being told the truth about his daughter’s whereabouts.

We might have lengthy waits between issues of this Donist World Darling (a four month wait this time), but when a new issue of Bitch Planet arrives any grumblings about timeliness tend to wash away with thoughts of Wow, that’s one heck of a strong issue. With this release, a handful of new characters are introduced with one in particular contributing to a major twist that I did not see coming. In fact, there’s a whole populace of Bitch Planet prisoners who of course would end up being removed from society as Noncompliants, and their introduction to the story is positively fantastic. DeConnick and Leandro had my sympathizing with two of the new characters in all of four pages, and when you factor in the Kam and Whitney interactions, then throw in Makoto and the mysterious figure at the end…dang, Denizens, Bitch Planet fans are sure to forget all about the painful wait between issues.

Leandro’s storytelling is as strong as ever, but it’s the character acting that stands out, especially during a touching sequence involving Morowa and Rose. Then again…seeing Kamau tune up Whitney in their cell was pretty darn cool. Fitzpatrick’s coloring in this issue is still eye-catching as a mostly-flat colors on the characters, and bright halftone dots covering the computer generated imagery and special effects; the combination of the two styles plays perfectly to the fake cheerfulness of the fantasy, versus the more subdued colors of reality. Let’s just say it’s a pretty comic.

Not to get political — which means I’m about to get political — but this is the world I could see coming to rise if a certain old, white, male, sociopathic blowhard who was born wealthy and totally detached from reality actually were to become the President. But let’s not think about that egocentric a_hole or the very Bitch Planet-type world he could bring about (make sure to vote) and enjoy this powerful comic. If you have not been reading Bitch Planet and you love sci-fi stories centering around a dystopian society, then you must must must check out this phenomenal series. You can easily dive in with the ridiculously low-priced trade (issues 1–5), and then rush out to get issues 6–8 to be fully caught up. But be warned, I did have one big disappointment: the issue was over way too soon. Let’s hope the wait for issue 9 isn’t too long, because I’m eager to see what happens next. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wonder Woman #1
Wonder Woman #1 - Written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Liam Sharp, colored by Laura Martin, lettered by Jodi Wynne, published by Marvel Comics. The truth of Diana’s past, her origin, has become obscured by myriad lies, but who has tampered with her memories and why? The Princess of Power seeks answers, and her journey will lead her to a land where she is very much unwelcome.

As I said with the “Rebirth” issue, I didn’t want to pick up this series. I didn’t. But the allure of Rucka’s name attached to a character that has always enchanted me, tore down my defenses, and ravaged my wallet. Okay, I’m exaggerating, $2.99 is not that bad at all…especially after reading that issue. So, when I saw the first issue of Wonder Woman sitting on the New Release table at the ol’ LCS, there was no hesitation in picking up what looks to be the start of something pretty darn great.

If you’ve been reading Donist World for a while, then you know I’m a Rucka fan. He has a solid grasp on spy / espionage stories, and he of course excels in his portrayal of strong female characters, and what better superhero comic to showcase his work than Wonder Woman, one of the strongest superheroes of them all. But there’s more to this issue than just Diana fighting her way through a jungle. We also have some scenes with the estranged Steve Trevor, who is on a special mission of his own, one that is sure to reunite him with Wonder Woman and raise questions as to why they have been apart for so long. I can’t wait.

Sharp’s art on this issue is stunning. The character acting shows exactly how confident and determined Diana is in getting the answers she requires. She is every bit as regal in how she carries herself as she is in how she dresses, and although I know some Wonder Woman purists take issue with her more practical armor, this Donist happens to love the design. I also love the designs of her various foes, including the one partially shown on the final splash page, which I can’t wait to see more of in issue three. The colors are also fantastic, although I do hope to see things brighten up some for our hero in the future.

I have to admit that as much as I adore the Wonder Woman character, I haven’t exactly kept up with her over the years. I need to get the previous Rucka material, the Gail Simone trades, and I would love to reread the George Perez stuff at some point as well. I will also be continuing on with this biweekly series where issue 2 starts a “Wonder Woman: Year One” storyline for the even numbered issues, as the odd numbered ones continue where this one left off. If you are a fan of the Princess of Power, or are looking to see what she is all about, then you’ve come to the right place with this issue. VERY HIGHLLY RECOMMENDED!

Archie #9
Archie #9 - Written by Mark Waid, illustrated by Veronica Fish, colored by Andre Szymanowicz with Jen Vaughn, lettered by Jack Morelli, published by Archie Comic Publications, Inc. Mr. Lodge is fine with Archie dating his daughter…just so long as the redheaded teen never ever comes anywhere near him or Lodge Manor.

Ten years ago if you told me I would be reading and loving various Archie Comics comic books, I would have probably written you off as crazy. But here we are. I love this book. I love the characters. I love the creators and how they effortlessly take a love triangle that has existed for decades and brings it into the modern age while keeping a timeless feel to the book that will appeal to fans young and old.

Fish’s art continues to be beautiful, and Szymanowicz’s colors vibrant and lively, but when combined with Waid’s fantastically earnest dialogue, it is nearly impossible to not laugh or at least smile at our friends from Riverdale and their hijinks. This issue especially wins me over with how well the creators manage to make us sympathize with Veronica through her honest attempt at trying to fit in and please Archie’s family. But when we cut to Betty <sigh> I can’t help but feel for her, too (I am still on Team Betty, though).

Whether you grew up reading the Archie Comics of old or you’re a fairly recent convert of this cultural icon like I am, then you simply must read this delightful reboot that is sure to brighten your day even when so many of the comics on the shelves tend to be so very dire. You need to read this series, Denizens, and there’s no easier way than by picking up the first trade (issues 1–6). VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Power Man and
Iron Fist #5
Power Man and Iron Fist #5 - Written by David Walker, illustrated by Flaviano, colored by John Rauch, letters and production by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics. It’s a very public example of “He said, She said,” as Luke and Danny stop by a radio station to set the record straight over what went down during a fight with a numbskull known as Manslaughter Marsdale.

Who says superhero books all have to be gloom and doom? So why not take two classic comic book characters who I have adored since I was a kid, and add a little humor to their new book? The first four issues were funny, but this one had me cracking up. Manslaughter Marsdale is a ridiculous punching bag, the Power-Fist Mobile sequences are a crackup, and the various retellings of the fight by different people — although a device I have seen many times in the past — was well done and had me rolling throughout the issue.

Although this is only the fifth issue and we already have another artist filling in for Sanford Greene, I was pleasantly surprised by how Flaviano’s style perfectly complements the look and tone of the series. The action sequences are grand, and the character acting extreme, and you’re certain to be smiling by the time you get to the end.

Yes this is a fill-in issue, with a different artist than we are used to, but it is still Luke and Danny righting the wrongs, fighting the good fight, and trying not to look to bad in the process. If you need a break from the stressful intensity found in most superhero comics, then the first five issues of Power Man and Iron Fist will set you straight. Be warned, though: next issue is a crossover with the “Civil War II” event, which kind of irks me as this book just got started, but I will still be there to read it when it drops next month. Who knew comics could be this much fun? HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Out of time as always - It’s been a weird week following the awfulness of the previous one, and although there is plenty to be concerned about, let’s leave things on a positive note and have a good weekend filled with friends, family, and great comics.


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