Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 7/28/2016

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 / carpet stain hater Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Okay, the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) is still under siege as the new carpet will, once again, attempt to be installed. You see, last week our old carpet was torn out, and new foam padding was placed down only discover that the “new” carpet looked to have been stained with a barrel of spilled olive oil and had apparently been driven over by a tank. No joke. So, despite some heavy negotiation between the carpet company and Tulip and the Reverse Obie, we’ve been forced to live with foam padding everywhere, exposed carpet nails, and a continued interruption to our plans of maintaining our spot among the Fortune 320,000. <sigh> Anyhow, I got to move some more heavy stuff before the carpet installers get here, but while I stress out, y’all should relax, pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee, cook up some delicious 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***

Future Quest #3
Future Quest #3 - Written by Jeff Parker, illustrated by Steve “The Dude” Rude and Aaron Lopresti, inked by Karl Kesel, colored by Steve Buccellato and Hi-Fi, lettered by ALW’s Dave Lanphear, published by DC Comics. Last month’s excitement is interrupted for a look into two of Hanna-Barbera’s superstars: Birdman and The Herculoids!

I know, I know, simmer down, Denizens, simmer down. When the very first page — a gorgeous Birdman splash page by Rude, no less— said that this was a flashback issue my first thought was, “Instant score or RECOMMENDED!” To be completely honest, I was peeved that after only two issues, we were already hitting the flashbacks and not progressing with the story I had come to love over the first two issues. Future Quest was the comic I was most looking forward to reading, and it was the first comic that I read. Dang. One page, and this Donist was all salty and dismissive. But I took a breath…and turned to see what the story had to say.

What follows is the condensed version of my thoughts as I read this tale: Ohhhhh, look at Birdman hanging with Avenger <scorn> I can’t wait to see what happens next <sarcasm> Oh, wow. I want to watch the old cartoons now <sarcasm, holds a hint of truth> Here’s that spy woman, and look at…oh, is that the big bad from issue one?! <I sit up straight> Yeah, this is probably gonna be lame. <doubting> Rude’s art is dang fine, though. <sincere> Whoa! Oh my stars and garters, cool! <digging this comic = 97%> Wait, what?! It’s over?! That was freakin’ awesome. <100% loved this story…so glad, to have been so wrong>

Seriously, Denizens, that is how this issue went and it wasn’t even over. We also get an equally stunning — in both visuals and written word — origin of The Herculoids and what ultimately brought them to the planet Quasar. I went into this half happy, and left even more so. Every member of the Herculoids had their moment to shine and I was completely in from the first splash page to the end. The colors are bright and vibrant, bringing back a warm nostalgia of watching Saturday Morning cartoons as a kid, when I made sure I was always in front of the television to watch my favorite family of monsters. Man, this was really good.

The only fault I can find with this comic is that it wasn’t 100-pages-long. That is my biggest and only disappointment. With this issue of the gosh-darn-amazing Future Quest, I started with a crummy attitude, and left all smiles and desperate for more. This is how it has gone for every issue thus far in the series. If you are not reading this tremendous comic that successfully brings a ray of joy back to the usually dreary world of comic books, then you should remedy that immediately. Future Quest is good. It’s really good, and whether you are reading out of nostalgia for the old, or looking for something new, you are certain to be pleased. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wonder Woman #3
Wonder Woman #3 - Written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Liam Sharp, colored by Laura Martin, lettered by Jodi Wynne, published by DC Comics. Wonder Woman seeks the aid of one her most ruthless enemies: the Cheetah.

I could not help but pick up this “DC Rebirth” title, and I’m so glad I did. This issue has it all: beautifully choreographed fight scenes, drama, some truly heartwarming moments, and a concurrent story with Steve Trevor that is mighty interesting in and of itself. Rucka and Sharpe grab you with the very first page, and successfully prove why Wonder Woman is such a strong and admirable character. She’s fierce, yet compassionate, with her body language relaying of a staunch confidence and a stalwart dedication to those once close to her. What I’m trying to say is you best respect the Wonder Womans…she’s hella badass.

So, yeah, I am sooooooo loving this new series and by that I mean the whole series. In case you didn’t know, all of the odd-numbered issues are devoted to Wonder Woman in the present, and all of the even-numbered issues are a look into the Princess of Power’s past. Each storyline has a different artist, but both storylines are out of this world. Just to be safe, you should be reading every issue of this tremendous series. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Archie #10
Archie #10 - 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. It’s Mr. Lodge (Veronica’s father) versus Mr. Collier (Riverdale’s most beloved / reviled high school teacher) for Mayor of Riverdale. What could possibly go wrong? Answer: Hurricane Andrews…Archie Andrews, that is.

Speaking of comics that shine brighter than the darkest, blackest, direst of nights — or is it knights? — is the ever-delightful Archie. Although the artistic style is greatly different than what most people remember across the comic’s many decades of publication, Fish’s modernized look continues to bring a lighthearted and fun-filled mood to this charming series. The tone of the story, however, remains just as humorous and true to the characters while thematically mixing in a touch of current events (political elections, anyone?) in relevant ways. But no matter how much things change, one thing is for certain: Archie is every bit as great now as it was back in the ’50s.

Don’t get me wrong, Denizens, there’s nothing wrong with darker comics, it’s just that if you need a break from some of the more heavy titles out there, then you positively cannot go wrong with the new Archie series. Heck, if you need to lift your spirits in the wake of the current election year, you can not only catch up with Archie via the first trade, but you can still go to the darker realms with the fantastic Afterlife with Archie (different creators) if you so wish. Whatever you do, just don’t discount Archie. Give it a try. I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

East of West #28
East of West #28 - Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Dragotta, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics. Death, his terrifying Horse-Beast, and the nightmarish talking eyeball gain traction in finding Death’s son, as the boy continues to roam the plains.

I’m not going to lie to you denizens. Not much happens in this issue, but Death does gain some insight (through the creepy-as-all-get-out spider-eyeball thing) and is now moving with determination toward his son who continues to be fed lies about the world through his virtual reality helmet. My guess is that we won’t be seeing them again for a few issues given the healthy roster of characters and storylines currently going on, but we’ll know next month(ish). At least we get to see a truly bizarre and impeccably designed new character who I look forward to seeing in coming issues. Beware, though, Death’s Horse-Beast lurks within these pages, and that creature is something that will haunt me for the remainder of my days…I’m just sayin’.

East of West continues to be my favorite post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, revisionist history, political drama, horror, fantasy, biblical(ish), challenging comic on the stands. I say this knowing full well that it is the only comic that fits all those descriptions. It’s weird, it’s varsity level comic booking, it’s worth checking out, which you can do via the trades or the beautiful hardcover. Just don’t blame me if the dreaded Horse-Beast causes you to lose sleep. You’ve been warned. RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Don’t Vote for that Moron Donald “Drumpf” Trump - I’m desperately out of time here, and I know November is a long way off, but whatever you do, don’t vote for that tiny-handed, orange-tinted sociopath. Although I lean left politically, I can understand being fiscally conservative, but this fool is not what any party should choose to represent them. Do some unbiased research on Drumph, you’ll see. Sure, you might hate Clinton, I agree she is as firmly entrenched with Wall Street as almost all politicians, but siding with Trump and the fear-mongering hatred he spews is a step in the complete wrong direction. If you positively hate Clinton, you don’t have to vote for her. Just remember that you also don’t have to vote for the lying, crazy “Drumpf,” either.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 7/22/2016

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 / splinter hater Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Okay, the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) is still under siege as new carpet is set to be put in today, thus I am moving heavy items and furniture around the room as Tulip and Reverse Obie enjoy free rides as I drag a couch here and push a cabinet there. I keep telling them to get off — they’re a combined 45 pounds — but after Tulip’s trying day yesterday, I’m kind of okay with them goofing off a bit. So, while I lament not being at the SDCC, and frantically shuffle large objects around, you should pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee, cook up some delicious 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***

Lazarus #23
Lazarus #23 - Written by Greg Rucka, pencilled by Michael Lark, inked by Michael Lark and Tyler Boss, colored by Santi Arcas, lettered by Jodi Wynne, publication design by Eric Trautmann, published by Image Comics. It’s Lazari versus Lazari as Sonja confronts the dreaded Mueller in Switzerland. Meanwhile, Forever’s physical therapy is…problematic, and Johanna speaks with her father about the state of the Family.

Okay, after the day I had today, let’s just say that I’m glad I read this stress-inducing issue on Wednesday. <phew> Geez, Denizens…even after taking a second look at the first page of this issue a day later, my blood starts pumping. Rucka and Lark left us dangling last month with Sonja preparing to battle the imposing Mueller, but here there’s few words before the action begins. There are no humorous quips. There is no witty banter. Only four five-panel pages of silent, brutal combat. Yes, the fight is thrilling — every bit as the spectacular ones we’ve seen in the past — but since her introduction, I have become as charmed by the deadly Sonja as I have been by Forever. With each panel, I practically muttered, “Don’t die, Sonja. Don’t Die,” especially given this incredibly horrific world. There were also a few expletives in my thoughts, especially when the story abruptly cut to a few of the other characters whose stories — although paced diametrically opposite that of the fight — were exhilarating in their own right. I’m not going to spoil what happens, just know that I had to watch some upbeat cartoons before going to bed after reading this nerve wracking issue.

As intense and bloody and unsettling as the fight is in this issue, Lark still manages to turn it into a crowning achievement of choreography and storytelling. Every five panel page is a thing of great beauty. The same can be said for the rest of the pages, only for completely different reasons. When we cut to Forever, or Michael, or Johanna the emphasis switches to character acting and drama, where you can practically feel the hate-filled stare Forever gives her power-hungry sister. Chilling. The colors rarely resemble anything in the warm spectrum, but opting instead to reflect the cold, dismal tones of this fractured world. In other words: the color schemes fit the story perfectly.

I’ve told you before that Lazarus is a troubling book, but I’ve also said that it is one of the best books on the stands. The most terrifying thing about this exceptional comic book is that I can totally see this nightmare of a world coming to pass given current events, yet as scary as it is to read this series at times, I eagerly come back for more. And you should, too. You can catch up with the four available trades, or the two hardcovers, which I strongly encourage you to do. Dang! I’m a mess after reading this issue, Denizens. I’m actually rattled, and you want to know somethin’? I wouldn’t have it any other way. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chew #56
Chew #56 - Written and lettered by John Layman, illustrated and colored by Rob Guillory, color assists by Taylor Wells, published by Image Comics. The end is nigh! And we’re not just talking about this final chapter of the entire series!

Oh man. I can’t believe that after reading this great issue of Chew there are only four issues remaining. This means that by October, this Donist World Darling will be done. Finished. Caput. Oh me, oh my, this is kind of hard to process. Stiff upper lip there, Ol’ boy, stiff upper lip.

All kidding aside (I’m not completely kidding about being upset, mind you), this issue is as enjoyable as one can expect from these crazy creators despite the fact that much of the written and visual jokes make way for the serious business of Tony finally discovering the truth about chicken, the avian flu, and the fire writing in the sky. Although Mason didn’t make life easier for Tony — Mason had always been two or three steps ahead of our hero — it all seems to be by design to push Tony onward to solve the big mystery. At risk of spoiling anything, let’s leave it at that.

One interesting thing is to compare Guillory’s Tony Chu design from issue one to the Tony Chu of today. Don’t get me wrong, I like the earlier look — heck, it gave me a taste for favor of the fever of Chew — but both the characters and the book itself quickly settled into the more certain and recognizable style we see today. It was awesome then, and has been nothing but spectacular ever since. One thing I will say is that I have noticed a drop in the number of sight gags for the past couple arcs, but there is a good one aimed toward a certain racist, sexist, lying, orange-skinned, small-handed moron that made me laugh. Let’s face it…this comic is a hoot.

I’m not ready for a world without Chew, Denizens, but it is a comin’. But who knows…Layman and Guillory have created such a rich, insane world that there will always be room for another Poyo special, or a mini-series following one of the many characters in the Chewiverse, that the legend might go on. Then again, it might not. Way back in the first two arcs the creators told us the series would be done in 60 issues — they even gave us a panel from the final issue, by golly — and I am just tickled that they were able to tell the story they wanted, as they wanted to tell it, with no interference from anyone; few comic book creators can say that these days. If you held off reading the most unique comic on the stands, then you can catch up with the trades, the Omnivore Edition (I need to double-dip number five still), or the immense (and pricey) Smorgasbord Edition. Whatever you do, just read Chew. It’s finger-lickin’ good. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

We Had to Rush Tulip to the Vet Yesterday - In addition to all the other stressful nonsense I’m being forced to deal with, we had to rush Tulip off to the vet yesterday. We were out throwing the ball, when all of a sudden she paused, limped back and was panting excessively. We immediately called the vet, set up an emergency appointment, and rushed downtown. Thankfully, nothing was broken or torn, but the doctor did pull something out of her back leg with the tweezers. I’m guessing it was a splinter or a stinger or something, but I’m glad that’s all it was. The $150 bill hurts (visit and a shot in case it was a venomous sting), but at least my pal is doing just fine now.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 7/15/2016

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: DescenderWonder WomanSabrina

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 / color coordinator Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Okay, the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) is getting a refresh as a team of painters have descended upon us and begun working their craft. Its a much needed  move guaranteed to revitalize our creative juices while keeping us steadfast in our goal to remain a Fortune 320,000 company. Now, while I try to determine which tarp Reverse Obie is currently trapped under, you should pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee, cook up some delicious 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***

Descender #13
Descender #13 - Written Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics. Telsa Nagoki steps into the spotlight with a glimpse into her past, present, and future.

Yup, Descender is still my favorite comic currently hitting the stands. Every time I get home with a brand spankin’ new copy, I do everything I can to set aside some uninterrupted time where I can pour myself a drink and immerse myself in Lemire and Nguyen’s wondrous world. Denizens, it’s always the first comic I read in the stack and also the last as I dive back in.

This is the issue I’ve been waiting for. Ever since the first issue, I’ve been eager to get a deeper look into Telsa’s past, and this issue delivered beyond my hopes. The creators rewind us to the point just before that one powerful splash page so many issues again, where we saw the loss of Telsa’s mother in the wake of the Harvester’s assault. Dang, and here I thought that scene was brutal, but when expanded upon in this issue, it is all the more devastating for both character and readers alike. This is to be expected from a Lemire comic, however, given how the creator once made me weepy over a story about hockey (read the masterful Essex County to see what I mean). Never fear, though, there’s plenty of triumphs to elevate your spirits in this issue as we see key moments in Telsa’s past before we are brought into the nerve wracking present. <gasp!>

Nguyen’s art is a triumph, which is saying something given how gorgeous all of the previous issues have been. Every watercolored panel is something to admire, but when he throws in some particularly nasty new (and old) aliens, you too will be lingering on the page and coming back to experience it all again. The character acting, the storytelling, the character designs…all bring back the warm nostalgia of the best of Epic Comics in the ’80s, while still being its own unique thing.

Criminy, I love this book. It’s space opera, sci-fi goodness with characters I adore and a compelling story that is certain to enchant those seeking something new and exciting. I double-dipped on the two trades (which you should get!), and I will triple-dip whenever the oversized hardcover drops. Descender’s the real deal, folks, you need to be reading this epic-in-the-making. Next issue: Bandit!!! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wonder Woman #2
Wonder Woman #2 - Written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Nicola Scott, colored by Romulo Fajardo Jr, lettered by Jodi Wynne, published by DC Comics. Travel back in time to see the Princess of Power’s early years and her first meeting with Steve Trevor.

When I first heard about DC doing the whole twice a month shipping on their main titles, I scoffed. My reaction might have been a tad presumptuous. Each successive issue is supposed to alternate between present and past with different artists for each, in a sense giving us two different books under one title; after reading this issue, I’m totally chill with this arrangement.

Rucka gives us a glimpse into Diana’s relationship with her mother and her fellow Amazonians, while also developing Steve Trevor’s oft-ignored life and friendships. By the end of the issue, we have a rich backstory for each character, a sense for each of their worlds, and need to join them on their journeys. There’s hope, a need to experience all life has to offer, duty, dread, isolation, camaraderie, desire, and so much more. Again, all in one issue.

The eyes have it in this comic as Scott’s tremendous ability to convey the weight of a scene with but a downward turned head followed by a knowing look tells you just how bad (or good) a situation is about to become. Her silent panels tell you everything you need to know without having to rely upon intrusive exposition to get a point across; you know how a character is feeling by the heaviness of their eyes and the slight turn of their lips. Fajardo Jr.’s vibrant colors make Scott’s already stunning art heavenly, bringing a liveliness to the superhero world that we, sadly, rarely see these days.

I am so onboard for this latest incarnation of Wonder Woman, Denizens, and I hope you are, too. With only the Rebirth issue, and these two issues out so far, it should be easy for you to catch up. But remember, this is a bi-weekly series, and you best hop on this train before you get left in the dust and miss out on the story of the strongest female character there’s ever been. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Chilling Adventures
of Sabrina #6
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #6 - Written by Roberto, Aguirre-Sacasa, illustrated by Robert Hack, lettered by Jack Morellli, published by Archie Comic Publications, Inc. The witches’ familiars discuss lives long past and the moments of their greatest mistakes…when they were transformed into beasts.

That’s the ticket! A (nearly) bi-monthly issue of Sabrina! With my deep love of the phenomenal (and equally delayed) Afterlife with Archie series, I initially had some hesitance jumping into the equally amazing Sabrina. Now, this ain’t your grand pappy’s Sabrina, or the ’90s television show version with the woman I had a huge crush on…nope. This is straight up horror. There’s witchcraft, the scary kind. The kind with blood, and sacrifice, and vengeance, and betrayal, and cannibalistic aunts. It’s dark, gruesome at times, but it still has its unmistakeable, if not murky, ties to Riverdale with the occasional bits of humor. This is not necessarily the best choice for the wee ones, Denizens. What it should be is the last book adults read before going to bed and turning out the lights.

In this issue, Sabrina and Madame Satan mostly step aside as Salem, Naga, and Nagaina provide a side tale of how they went from being humans to animal familiars. Given all of the delays with the series’s release, I was initially more interested in seeing what happens next in the main narrative, but the creators tell two compelling stories that greatly expand upon this rich, creepy world. The tone of the captions and dialogue, and the lovely art all succeed in reminding me of the old Warren mags that used to freak me out decades ago, which is one of the highest forms of praise I can offer for this fantastically scary gem.

Although Sabrina appears in both Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Afterlife with Archie, near as I can tell, these are two separate worlds and two separate versions of the same character. You’re just going to have to read them both, which I strongly encourage you to do. If you have been too big of a fraidy cat to read this spine-tingling tale, then now’s the time to stop your chattering teeth, pull your sheets up close, and give this beautifully written and illustrated tale a read. You might not sleep all that well, but this ride is definitely worth it. A trade of the first six issues drops in August. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Out of Time…Again - I know, I know. But seriously. Our place is having the interior painted, and I’ve been having to move lots of furniture around, while safely stashing pictures in closets. Now it’s time to turn off the computer and pull the desk into the center of the room. Ugh…I can’t wait to have the Donist World headquarters back to normal. See you next week.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 7/8/2016

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: Future Quest, Tokyo GhostPaper Girls, Empress, Black Science, and The Flintstones

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 / fireworks denier Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). We need to get right into the thick of things this week, so the intro is going to be short. Just know that Tulip and Reverse Obie survived the apocalyptic fireworks display this past Monday, through their bravery…and through the concrete safety of the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement). Now that the horror of the loud fireworks and flashing lights has ended, we are back at work and reading comics with tenacity! So, pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee, cook up some waffles to your specifications, 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***

Future Quest #2
Future Quest #2 - Written Jeff Parker; illustrated by Evan “Doc” Shaner, Ron Randall, and Jonathan Case; colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered byALW Studios’ Dave Lanphear, published by DC Comics. The Herculoids make their appearance in the battle against Omnikron, and Jonny and his friends make a startling discovery…as the agents of FEAR make a discovery of their own.

Wow, Denizens! It seems like only yesterday that I was raving about the first issue of Future Quest — okay, yesterweek to be more precise (read about it here), but you know what I’m sayin’ — but here we are again, and my excitement stays the course with this tremendous followup. Even if I did not have very fond memories of Hanna-Barbera’s more fantastic and superheroic cartoon offerings, I would still be loving this new comic series mashup thanks to Parker’s thrilling story and pacing. Last issue he introduced a handful of characters and by the end had us caring about each of them and excited to see more. He works the same magic here with additional new characters on top of the ones from last month with glimpses and promises of more characters to come, all while making an organic, captivating, and at no time overcrowded story.

Despite the fact that there are three artists on this issue, the shift from one to the other in no way impacts the flow of the story (that’s what the highly intrusive ads are for), keeping the reader firmly glued to the action, drama, and humor (when was the last time you read a comic that was actually humorous that didn’t have a “mature readers” warning on it?). In fact, each artist’s work complements that of the others with the change in line weight being the only real thing to catch my attention, and that was only because I was looking for the switch. The unifying key is Bellaire’s lively colors, which prove that dire circumstances don’t always need to be drab. I especially love the scenes with bad-guy-extraordinaire Dr. Zin and Jezebel Jade…speaking of which, is she single?

I love this series, Denizens, and I am completely pumped for the next issue where we will meet even more new characters as the stakes escalate and the story continues to captivate. There are so many moving parts to this thoroughly enjoyable tale, but the creators keep things moving effortlessly, which is not an easy thing to do. You need to be reading this series, and given that the second printing of the first issue just dropped last week, and the second issue dropped this week, you can be caught up in no time. Dang. If things continue like this, I can see a quest for a double-dip hardcover in my future. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Tokyo Ghost #8
Tokyo Ghost #8 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Sean Murphy, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Davey Trauma’s on the loose once again, and Led Dent is under his control. Will the Tokyo Ghost be able to break the spell and free her one, true love?

Waitaminute…dagnabbit. Are there seriously only two more issues in this fantastic series?! Ay, Chihuahua! There are way too many series I love wrapping up this year, which freaks me out, but that’s a separate matter. <sigh> Anyhow…this issue is as intense a roller coaster ride as ever as the creators play with our heartstrings through some touching flashbacks, and some seriously messed up moments. And when I say “messed up,” I mean keep all children faaaaaarrrr away from this one, as there are some particularly graphic and violent sequences that are startling even to this seasoned comic book lover. This is fine — so long as you’re an adult —because as brutal as things get, it is all relevant and true to the story.

Murphy’s art is as impressive as ever, especially on steampunk nightmare Dave Trauma and the ever-lovely Debbie Decay, but I have to say I am also deeply fond of Hogosha the red panda, who is as cute as he/she is vicious . The shift from action to drama and back is quick, yet at no time are you jarred from the story. This is Murphy, after all. You have no choice but to be drawn ever deeper into the thick of things. Hollingsworth’s colors also remain beautiful with the electric blues of tech-run-awry and the glowing white / pinks of the Tokyo Ghost using her powers. Crack this comic open and you have no choice but to think, Dang…this book is pretty.

Tokyo Ghost is not just another run-of-the-mill, futuristic, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic thriller. It’s much more. It’s also a cautionary tale about the perils of tech addiction and living in a society that has pushed aside normal human interaction in favor of social media, brain-dead television programming, and subservience to a sole corporate entity; it’s kind of scary. You need to be reading this Donist World Darling, which you can do with the first trade, and with the final second trade of this great mini-series dropping in October. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Paper Girls #7
Paper Girls #7 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matt Wilson, lettered and designed by Jared K. Fletcher, color flats by Dee Cunniffe, published by Image Comics. The past and the future intersect in the present, and what’s the best place for just such a meet-up? Why a creepy, old, abandoned shopping mall of course. Oh…gross parasitic monsters, too.

Okay, I’m going to be honest here…I don't know what the heck is going on other than three of the four girls traveled from the ’80s to the present, where one of them meets her older self. Beyond that, I kind of adrift, which is usually a sign for this ol’ Donist to cut losses and bail. But not with Paper Girls. Vaughan has such a wonderful way of developing his characters and of writing beautiful dialogue, that you have little choice but to fall in love with these people and care for their wellbeing.

It also doesn’t hurt to have Chiang bringing out some great character acting and emotion in this issue that predominantly — except for the brief weirdo monster battle — has people hanging out talking. In lesser hands, this could irk some readers, but these creators instill such a heavy degree of reader investment in their characters, that watching three girls and an adult chitchat actually is quite fascinating.

Of course you like Brian K. Vaughan. How could you not, especially after all the phenomenal books he’s given us over the years? It’s safe to say you can add this series to that ever-growing list. Paper Girls is mostly sci-fi, but there’s also some fantasy elements, time travel, monsters, humor, and best of all…four foul-mouthed paper girls from the ’80s trying to make sense of it all. Buy yourself the ultra-cheap trade, you deserve it. Treat yo’ self! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Empress #4
Empress #4 - Written by Mark Millar, illustrated by Stuart Immonen, inked by Wade von Grawbadger, colored by Ive Svorcina, lettered by Peter Doherty, edited by Rachel Fulton, published by Icon, a Marvel Comics imprint. The Royal family is still on the run from the savage grasp of their dictatorial husband / father / employer, but being stranded on a ruined planet doesn’t necessarily count as being “free.”

I’m still greatly enjoying Empress and its nonstop run of perils and adventure and space battles and pulse-pounding excitement and…you get the picture. That said, I wish we had more time (more issues) to get somewhat deeper glimpses into each of the characters’ pasts and how King Morax has personally affected their lives. Thus far we have jumped quickly from scene to scene, location to location (thanks to Ship!), and I love all of the characters; I just want to know a bit more.

Immonen’s art continues to be stunning especially when it comes to his character acting, character design, and storytelling, but as I’ve mentioned with each of the prior issues, his backgrounds and spaceships must be seen to be believed. Svorcina’s colors push Immonen’s art even further, opting for more lively colors than most comics have these days — with the exception of the ruined planet Golgoth, of course, which needs to look bleak. The imagery is gorgeous as it is, but when combined with the exceptional story, you get one heck of a solid sci-fi tale.

Even without the character depth I am longing for, Empress is a fun, thrilling comic worthy of your time and money. There will be a hardcover released at some point next year, but why wait? At only four issues in and with reprints and multiple covers, you should be able to find these first four issues with little difficulty, and you’ll be all set to read the final three issues over the coming months. After that, you should be able to see the film adaptation in a year or two, as well. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Flintstones #1
The Flintstones #1 - Written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Steve Pugh, colored by Chris Chuckry, lettered by Dave Sharpe, published by Marvel Comics. Welcome to the town of Bedrock…Mark Russell and Steve Pugh style.

I used to love The Flintstones cartoon as a kid, but if someone told me I would buy, read, and love a The Flintstones comic at the wise age of __, I would have called them crazy. Well, here I am, enjoying yet another Hanna-Barbera relaunch. The key factor in my picking up this book is writer Mark Russell, whose Prez comic (I can’t wait for its return) was one of the best comic books released in 2015. With Russell’s flair for political / societal / economical commentary and his overall sense of humor, The Flintstones is a definite win to this Donist.

I have been a fan of Pugh’s art since first seeing his work on Hotwire and on the New 52’s second half of Animal Man, and although his work on The Flintstones is quite different from previous series, it is impressive none the less. Having steered away from intricate sci-fi detailing and the roughness of horror, Pugh embraces a crisp, clean line and exaggerated humor. His dinosaurs and mammoths are awesome (a mix of funny and scary), his men and neanderthals muscular hulks, his women gorgeous (Wilma and Betty…wow), and his goofy buildings and backgrounds have so many hidden jokes that you will need a few reads to catch them all.

The main thing that struck me as odd about this fantastic start is that the comic spent a fair amount of time concerning Mister Slate and the neanderthals versus Fred, Wilma, Barney, and Betty. But that’s cool, it’s world building, man. We do get commentary about civilization and war and the results of war, but most of all we get a funny comic that is definitely more for adults than for kids. Also, a work “hot tub party?” Ummm…no way, creepy, that’s just so ’70s. Dang this is a fun book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Black Science #22
Black Science #22 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Matteo Scalera, colored by Moreno Dinisio, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Grant McKay continues his search for his missing crew members who have been scattered across parallel worlds. Next stop: his daughter, Pia.

The previous arc was a hard look at anarchist scientist McKay’s past and what led him — for better or for worse…mostly worse — to become the man he is today. He also got hella even with the saboteur of the Pillar, the device that allowed McKay and his crew to travel to other dimensions. So imagine my surprise with this issue when, after such an abundance of heavy sadness, the tone shifts completely to comedic. I have to admit to initially being taken aback by the change, but seeing as how this issue is a look at how teens see their parents as detriments to their happiness and a continuous source of their embarrassment, I settled in and laughed with each of McKay’s failed attempts to reconcile with his daughter and the enormous repercussions of his actions.

Scalera and Dinisio’s art is wonderful with some cool character designs and fantastic storytelling on display. As always, each page is something worthy of framing and hanging on the wall to impress…if only the pages were poster size…

Black Science has been described as Lost in Space meets Indiana Jones, which is pretty spot on. It’s sci-fi weirdness with great characters, heart wrenching situations, gorgeous art, and pacing sure to get your blood pumping. If you are behind on this fantastic series, then you can easily catch up with the oversized hardcover, or the four available trades. You need to be reading this. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Out of Time as Always - Again, I’m out of time. There’s still plenty of awfulness to gripe about, but let’s lift the mood, focus on the good, and by all means read some fantastic comics. Take care.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 7/01/2016

Friday Slice of Heaven

This week: The Sixth Gun, Future Quest, 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 the Reverse Obie* (my friends’ Boston terrier whose fur recently swapped colors) and by our marketing director / administrative assistant / party planner / wafflenator Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). You’ll have to excuse us, Donist World Denizens, as my puppy executive team and I are taking a break from our discussions of maintaining our status as a Fortune 320,000 company in order to fully appreciate our new waffle making station. Tulip is opting for a plain waffle with maple syrup (the classic), Reverse Obie is more of a strawberries with whipped cream kind of puppy, and I going all out with the chocolate chips and whipped cream. Nothing says “victory” like a waffles and sequential storytelling. So, pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee, cook up some waffles to your specifications, 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***

The Sixth Gun #50
The Sixth Gun #50 - Written Cullen Bunn, illustrated by Brian Hurtt, colored by Bill Crabtree, lettered by Crank!, designed by Keith Wood, edited by Charlie Chu, published by Oni Press. The gates to hell have been thrown open by the Six Guns, and Griselda the Grey Witch means to rebuild the world to her suiting…that is unless Becky, Drake, and their companions put an end to the evildoer and her army and somehow rid the world of the guns once and for all.

<pwaw> <puff> <puff> <pwaw> That, Denizens, is the the sound of this Donist figuratively having a smoke after such an immensely satisfying read of an immensely satisfying series. (Seriously, though, I’ve never even tried smoking and you shouldn’t either, as it supports a corrupt business that poisons people and the planet, but that’s neither here nor there.) <sip> <rustle> <rustle> <sip> That, Denizens, is the sound of this Donist literally taking a celebratory sip of Henry McKenna Kentucky Bourbon (which you should switch to a strong ginger ale, if you are not old enough to drink alcoholic beverages.) Anyhow, what I’m trying to say is that after 50 issues, The Sixth Gun has run its course and come to an end, an end of the creators’ choosing, done how they wanted it to be done. This is a great thing for everyone indeed.

I’m not going to spoil this issue, other than to say you need to be ready for the $9.99 cover price, but you can rest easy since this issue runs for 60 glorious, uninterrupted pages and ends with a kindly letter to the fans from Bunn. You’ll rest easier over the initial sticker shock of the price once you actually get this issue in your dagburned, grubby little mitts and see how heavy it actually is. Then you start to read. If you remember, there was a lengthy delay between the end of the previous arc and the beginning of this one, and although I like issue 48, I was not blown away by it. Issue 49 — which I had to buy digital because my LCS sold my copy to someone else — had some big surprises that made me want to cheer aloud and served as a strong lead in for this series finale. I was pumped.

Okay, I will give you a little nibble by saying that you won’t need to worry about the ending being just a bunch of folks sitting around conversing. Nope. If you’ve been loving The Sixth Gun as much as I have over the years, then you are expecting battles, monsters, demons, shocks, and thrills, as well as an ending that beautifully sticks the landing and artwork that remains as solid as it has ever been; you get it all. Bunn’s narration and dialogue continue to pull you in as the stakes escalate throughout. Hurtt delivers some of his best work to date with some cool creature designs, and storytelling that keeps you glued to the action as Crabtree’s not overly rendered colors depict Hell in greyed tones except when vibrant, blood reds burn in the underworld’s gloom; as far as Hell goes, it’s rather pretty, if not for the urgency of…you know…the end of existence.

I’m a happy buckaroo, Denizens. Not for the end of a fantastic series, of course, but for a solid ending that respects and builds upon everything that came before. I loved it. In fact, think I’m going to fast forward a reread of the entire series to the top of the reread tower to experience the series in all its glory once again. I honestly can’t wait! Speaking of not waiting, if you never read the best supernatural Western comic to ever grace the stands, then you have a hefty amount of reading to do with the soon to be nine trades (not counting three side story trades), or go for the pricey-but-glorious hardcovers. You’ll be glad you did. Huge congrats to the creators and a hope that we someday see The Sixth Gun done properly on television. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Future Quest #1
Future Quest #1 - Written by Jeff Parker, illustrated by Evan “Doc” Shaner and Steve “The Dude” Rude, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered by ALW Studios’s Dave Lanphear, published by DC Comics. As a mysterious menace seeks to take over the universe, a lone warrior wages a losing battle to keep it at bay. Meanwhile, on planet Earth, the Quest family takes notice of mysterious rifts in space and time, as does a more devious mind.

Okay, full disclosure: I had no intention of picking up this book. Thankfully, the many glowing reviews and high praise all around made me reconsider. Why wouldn’t I want to read a mashup of some of my favorite childhood cartoons? There’s characters from Space Ghost, The Herculoids, Jonny Quest, Birdman, and a bunch of others from shows I did not watch — for you youngsters out there, I’m talking ’bout the dark days before the interwebs, streaming, and DVRs…spooky…scary. Anyhow, I don’t know why I didn’t think I’d want this excellent, fun, thrilling comic, but I’m glad my guy at the LCS talked me into letting them order me a copy.

The issue is $3.99, which is more expensive than the current “Rebirth” titles from DC, but it also has 30 pages of compelling, all-ages story that’s sure to please fans of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons, while intriguing those with limited experience to those great shows. In these 30 pages, Parker gives us a little space opera, a dash of jungle adventure, a pinch of spy intrigue, a tablespoon of superheroics, and a quarter cup of danger, all carefully folded into a pillowy phyllo dough of fun. (Ahem…sorry about that. It’s almost dinner time and I’m hungry.)

Shaner, Rude, and Bellaire make nearly every panel a visual one-two punch of storytelling that refuses to allow you to look away, while gliding you through the course of the book, eager to see what happens next. The vibrant colors add tension and excitement, and with the beauty reflected on every page, it seems like the creators have an appreciation, if not total love, of the source material. You also can’t go wrong with mechanized eyeball spiders, or a French bulldog named Bandit.

I love this comic, Denizens. It’s a joy to read. Even without the nostalgia factor, the story and art are enough to make me a fan. Plus, a good thing about getting a hold of a copy this late in the game is that this coming Wednesday issue two comes out! So, if you have not given the fantastic Future Quest a try, then you should pick up a copy before it vanishes from the stands, so you can be ready for the next issue of what looks to be a heavenly series. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

East of West #27
East of West #27 - Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Dragotta, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics. When the Chosen gather, no good can ever come of it.

Dang. This issue struck a little too close to home. It very much reminded me of the annual Donist Family Reunion. You get everyone together and it is all fine…for about the first ten minutes. Next thing you know, it all falls apart: old grudges resurface; the bickering starts; the two or three sane people in the bunch are happy to see each other, yet acknowledge getting together is not the best of ideas; old wounds reopen. And then Aunt Bernice stands up. “Oh gawd,” people mutter, “here we go again,” as Aunt Bernice knocks a cup of demon’s venom (aka…wine) from cousin Billy’s hand before launching into her tirade about hellfire and brimstone; it’s no wonder Uncle Stu up and vanished…we hope of his own accord. <ahem> So, yeah. This issue is kind of like that, only with a big, white nether demon added to the mix…as well as foretellings of the apocalypse…both of which could go down at the Donist Family Reunion come August. (Why do I keep going to those?)

Anyhow, this issue has all of the complexities East of West fans have come to expect from new installments, with not much coming from this meeting of The Chosen other than some bad tidings for one character in particular…which really bums me out as we have not yet fully gotten their story. <sigh> Oh well, I still hold out hope that we have not yet seen the last of the mysterious character, and someday understand what their deal is, what their relationship to another is, how they met another character, and why they played such an intriguing role only to be possibly “kilt!” in this issue. Dragotta’s sequentials continue to be fantastic, and his character designs great, especially on the increasingly-gross Ezra.

East of West continues to befuddle the bejesus out of me, but I am still enjoying the comic…even when one of the coolest characters is (supposedly) taken off the board. If you like to work for your comic book enjoyment and you are a fan of sci-fi, post-apocalyptic / pre-apocalyptic, supernatural, fantasy, political dramas, then East of West is the book for you. You can catch up with the five available trades, or super-size the experience with the first hardcover. RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Out of time as always - Again, I’m out of time. There’s still plenty of awfulness to gripe about, but let’s lift the mood, focus on the good, and by all means stay the hell away from Aunt Bernice. Take care.