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.


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