Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 8/26/2016

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 / Prez worshipper Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). The Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) had some surprise guests, and we are dreadfully late, so I’m keeping the intro short. So take a breath, take a slice of pizza, read some of the awesome Prez (see “Slice into the Woods” below <sniffle>), and check-in on an episode or two of the exceptional Stranger Things on Netflix, and most of all read some great comics…like Prez. 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***

Chew #57
Chew #57 - Written and lettered by John Layman, illustrated and colored by Rob Guillory, color assists by Taylor Wells, published by Image Comics. Mason might have been hesitant to clue Tony into what exactly caused the catastrophic avian flu, but he is now more than willing to throw open the door to knowledge, and what a monstrous door it is!

Three more issues! <waaaaaaaa> Only three more issues left in the phenomenal series that has been a Donist World Darling since 2009, and now that we are in the homestretch, answers are coming fast and hard. Well, relatively fast, as the oft verbose Mason relays what he had learned throughout the course of the book in the character’s own unique fashion. The answers are not what I was expecting, yet they fit perfectly within the Chewiverse in that the cause of the avian flu is weird, gross, funny, and substantial; just like Chew.

The art is as beautiful and unique as it has always been, only this issue sees a few more sight gags added into the mix than we have seen as of late. Things are serious, Denizens, but despite end-of-the world level happenings, these creators continue to keep you smiling as your nerves become increasingly rattled. Given the particularly rough cliffhanger we are left with this issue, Layman and Guillory look to ramp things up and keep us off balance all the way through to the end. Fine by me.

You know I love Chew. I’ve been jawin’ on and on about it for years now, and I’m gonna keep extolling the virtues of the most unique comic on the stands all the way through to the end at issue 60. Even after that, you can expect me to mention this great comic fairly often just because it is so near and dear to my heart. So what are you doin’? Sittin’ around goin’, “Dang, Donist, maybe I shoulda checked Chew out.” Yes, you should have, dagnabbit, but it’s not too late. You can pick up the trades, or the Donist World weapon of choice the Omnivore Editions, or, for those with cash to burn, the glorious Smorgasbord Editions. Whatever you do, get this series into your collection so you can display it proudly on your favorite shelf. Trust this ol’ Donist, it’s so very worth it. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wonder Woman #5
Wonder Woman #5 - Written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Liam Sharp, colored by Laura Martin, lettered by Jodi Wynne, published by DC Comics. Steve Trevor captured by a malevolent dictator with not-necessarily delusions of grandeur? The Cheetah slipping deeper under the power of a dark god? It’s up to the Princess of Power to save them both while seeking answers to her own plight.

I never thought I would say this, but I am loving the biweekly shipping schedule on this series. Yes, it is all under the same title, but with the even-numbered issues taking place in the present with one artist (Liam Sharp), and the odd-numbered issues taking place in the past with a different artist (Nicola Scott), it really seems like two separate Wonder Woman series are currently being published. Hey, if Supes and Bats can have tons of books every month, the third part of the trinity should as well, especially given the awesome stories Rucka is giving us and the gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous, art gracing each page.

Even though we get more questions than answers with this issue (namely who is this Sasha woman, and what exactly is this bond between Steve and Diana that everybody but them understands?) I am so attached to these creator’s take on Wonder Woman that I am cool with them growing the mystery and telling the story however they see fit. Things are moving fast with this biweekly series, Denizens. Whether you’re interested in Wonder Woman’s past or present, both periods are worth checking out, which I recommend you do by starting with Wonder Woman: Rebirth and then jumping into the series proper. I’m thrilled to be this excited by a Wonder Woman comic once again. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Archie #11
Archie #11 - Written by Mark Waid, illustrated by Ryan Jampole with finishes by Thomas Pitilli, colored by Andre Szymanowicz with assists by Jen Vaughn, lettered by Jack Morelli, published by Archie Comic Publications, Inc. It’s a battle of the bands as The Ronnies square off against Betty and the Waves in the school talent contest.

Archie continues to be a fun, thoughtful, often heartfelt tale loyal to the much-loved characters, while simultaneously ushering them into the modern age. Not an easy thing to do, but Waid has me hooked. I also appreciate the evenly divided Riverdale in regard to the mayoral race and how it is driving a wedge between people just as Archie’s relationship with Veronica continues to be a strain on his and Betty’s friends. As goofy as things might become, Archie is highly relatable, which is all part of its allure.

I have to admit that I am missing Fiona Staples and also Veronica Fish with this issue, but the art is still good, and the comic is something those seeking a break from superhero comics — except for Wonder Woman, of course — need to be reading. You can and should jump in with the first amazing trade and I’m certain you will pick up the second upon its release in time for the holidays. RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Prez Cancelled?!?! - After telling a coworker about the glory of the heavenly comic Prez, one of the best comic maxi-series published in 2015, I thought I would take a look and see if there was any news as to when the final act would begin to appear. I was pained to learn that the series has been cancelled. This f_ing sucks. Prez (Written by Mark Russell and illustrated by Ben Caldwell) is a futuristic satire on American politics, society, healthcare, foreign relations, immigration, global warming (yes, it’s real…it’s called f_ing science) and so much more. It is laugh out loud funny, up until you start to realize just how steeped in reality this comic actually is. I started wishing we had a Beth Ross running against the candidates we have now, and I was super pumped to see how the series would end. Apparently, instead of the promised final six issues, we will get a 13-page story in some other comic at some point in the future. This. Is. Weak. Sauce. How hard is it to put out the final six issues concerning a fictional teen president, that is brilliantly critical of current situations, while being a critically acclaimed and entertaining comic to boot? This is an election year, for Pete’s sake, and an incredibly polarizing one, as well. Why was this series not sent to the monstrously import Last Week Tonight with John Oliver ages ago? He just featured a novel about a child president, dagnabbit! Prez would surely have had a shot to be featured on that show. <argh!> It’s pretty safe to say that Prez was not moving Supes or Bats level of numbers, but given the timeliness, the subject matter, and the acclaim these talented creators have received, NOT putting this book out is a sad misstep and quite possibly a huge missed opportunity. Poopies.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 8/19/2016

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 / banisher of flus Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). The Donist World office (Mom’s Basement) has gone from a seemingly unending remodel to a sick ward this week, as my puppy executive team attempts to bring me back to health so we can continue our quest to solidify Donist World’s position as a Fortune 320,000 company. Tulip is kindly pouring me an Emergen-C and soda-water drink, as Reverse Obie stirs a steaming pot of chicken soup he’s made, and he’s only eaten about half of the chicken; such love! So get plenty of rest, pour yourself a fresh cup of green tea, get that chicken soup cooking, and check-in on an episode or two of the exceptional Stranger Things on Netflix, 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 #14
Descender #14 - Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics. TIM-21 was inactive for ten years on the dead mining colony before he reactivated to very different world. Thankfully, he was not alone: his trusted robot dog Bandit was there to watch over him the entire time.

Denizens, I cannot tell you what a joy it is to find a new copy of Descender in my pull (even though I just told you in writing what a joy it is). I tend to make such Wednesdays truly special by pouring a fancy beer, setting out a piece of chocolate or a cookie, and slowly making my way through what is easily my favorite comic currently being released. Unfortunately, my self-imposed, stupid diet prevented the celebratory beer and cookie this week, but even the absence of such scrumptious delicacies could not diminish my enjoyment of this tremendous series.

As I have said with every one of the previous issues, I love everything about this comic, from its ever-expanding roster of compelling characters, to the intriguing mystery behind The Harvesters (giant robots), to the mysteries surrounding TIM-21, to the gorgeous watercolored art, to the design, to the…well…everything. I don’t even have any nitpicks about Descender outside of always needing more more more.

With this latest story arc, we get something I have been wanting since issue one: a deeper look into the background of some of the many characters found in this exciting universe. The previous two issues looked at TIM-22 and Telsa, while this issue delves into Bandit, the yappy robotic dog and what it was up to for the ten years TIM-21 was deactivated. For the first time, we see what happened to the mining colony and how Andy, TIM-21’s human brother, survived the disaster. It’s all brutally heartbreaking, but the story, characters, and art enchant you, keeping you thoroughly invested in everything that happens, even when — especially when — the focus is on a robotic dog that looks kinda like the original iMac on wheels. The mostly-silent, goofy, adorable Bandit, succeeds in making this flashback issue yet another great read amongst an entire series of great issues.

<sigh> So, I guess I have a month before I get a peek into Andy and Queen Between’s situation, which means I’m in for a painful wait, indeed. But I can tell you this, Denizens, when I find the latest installment in my pull, I think I’ll forget the diet and have the beer and cookie. Y’know. Treat yo self! And you can “treat yo self” to the first two trades of this Donist World Darling today, and experience for yourself this incredible space opera that has me in such a whirl. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Power Man &
Iron Fist #7
Power Man & Iron Fist #7 - Written by David Walker, illustrated by Sanford Greene and Flaviano, colored by John Rauch, lettered and produced by Clayton Cowles, published by Image Comics. Danny Rand (aka Iron Fist) is behind bars, and he intends to stay there until he can free — legally, of course — some wrongfully imprisoned men. Luke Cage (aka Power Man) tries to find a way to free his friend. Oh yeah, some “Civil War II” nonsense, too.

Dang, I know I say I like to keep things positive — negativity is far too easy to find these days — but there’s no quicker way to irk me than to by forcing an event into a book I’m enjoying. Now, if Power Man & Iron Fist was on issue 24 or something, I might be a little more forgiving, but we only got five issues of this fun comic before the latest event hijacked the story. Okay, “hijacked” is a bit harsh, but you know what I mean.

You can almost read this issue and ignore most of the “Civil War II” stuff, but it is there and now it looks like next month’s issue will have yet another superheroes fighting superheroes extravaganza; all I want is to read the story the creators are actually trying to tell. Without all this event stuff, this issue would read so much better. <pfffft> There are also two artists this issue, and I believe a new colorist as well, but I’m not sure. This isn’t necessarily bad, just different and noticeable for those who’ve been with the series since the first issue.

Oh, comic book events…so obnoxious. Anyhow, enough with the negativity. This issue is still enjoyable and worth checking out if you liked the first arc. If you are new to the series, however, don’t start here. Instead pick up the first trade in October and see what makes this cool series starring two of my favorite Marvel characters so much fun. Because of the annoying Event this book merely comes as RECOMMENDED!

Batman by Neal
Adams Omnibus
Batman by Neal Adams Omnibus - Written by Neal Adams, Denny O’Neil, and others, illustrated by Neal Adams, published by DC Comics. From the ’60s to nowadays, the masterful art of Neal Adams is something most heavenly to behold. He writes some of these tales, too!

37…38…<grrrrrr>…39…<huff><puff>…40! <phew> Oh, hi there, Denizens. Don’t mind me, I was just getting a quick workout in by bench pressing my copy of Batman by Neal Adams Omnibus. At a whopping 640 pages of Neal Adams awesomeness, you might need a spotter to help you read this beast of a book as it is easily the heaviest publication to be found anywhere in the Donist home . But regardless of how you manage to actually read this conversation starter, just be sure you actually read it. It is truly out of this world.

I’m not about to go in depth about every story in this collection, or about the loads of backup material, or the oh-so-lovely covers, but I will mention a couple things that really resonated with me. One of the main bits of nostalgia that grabbed hold of my heart is the inclusion of the “Robin Meets Man-Bat” story originally found on the Power Records set of the same name. Now, I owned a bunch of Power Records’s offerings back when I was a wee Donist, but this one was one of my favorites. Heck, I nearly wore out the dang 45 from how often I played it in my room (you can check it out on YouTube here!). I LOVED this story, and reading it all these decades later it is safe to say it still holds up to the test of time, only with the added benefit of now having a finer appreciation of Adams’s artistry. Come to think of it, I love all of the Man-Bat issues included in this volume.

But wait, there’s so much more…

You also get Deadman, and wacky contests between Batman and Superman where they award one another trophies. There’s something called a Hellgramite (the writer really loves to say the word “Hellgramite” throughout the tale) in a story that involves the Creeper. There are ghosts, Teen Titans, Sergeant Rock, timeless lovers, The House of Mystery, ummmm…circus folk including a boy called…ummm…Flippy, Ras Al Ghul is all over the place, groovy teenagers on the pot (or something else), the Joker, corrupt politicians, and, again, so much more. When I say “so much more” (for the umpteenth time), what I mean is all 13 issues of Batman Odyssey.

Batman Odyssey was released between 2010 and 2012 and is written and illustrated by Adams. If you want me to tell you what it is about, it is quite simple. It’s a tale wherein Bruce Wayne tells a story to a mysterious person (hostage? the reader?) about the time he told a story about a story to Robin? Or did he tell the story to Alfred? Or was the story about Alfred? I don’t know. Doesn’t matter. So it’s about the time Bruce had a gun and shot at a bunch of train passengers to make them get off the train, and Man-Bat appears to help fight a fake Riddler, Deadman shows up as do a caveman Batman and a dinosaur Robin with a very unnerving smile. But back to the story which centers on…ummmm…giant bats, and Rhas Al Ghul, and some old guy, or…crud. Honestly, I have no freaking clue what this series is about. I will say that even though Batman often goes from smiling one moment to psychotically angry at the flip of a switch, this comic is beautiful to behold. It’s Bat-Bonkers to the extreme and a heck of a lot of fun, especially since the story is being told to us or to  the hostage-person (not sure which) by a, for all intents and purposes, naked Bruce Wayne. Wait…What?!?! No joke. To be honest, this story cannot be summarized. You just need to experience it in all its glory and go with the flow.

Whether you are a fan of the Bat, or a fan of Adam’s gorgeous art, this massive tome is something no true fan should be without. Even if you read only an issue a night, you will be reading this book for a good long while. I loved every page of this beauty, and in between reps of doing curls with this thing, I can also prop up my car when I go to change the tire. You need the Batman by Neal Adams Omnibus, Denizens. You can also tell me what Batman Odyssey is about…I double dog dare you to try. Treat yo self! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

I am Sick of Being Sick - After all of the home-based calamities over the month of July, I of course had to go and get sick. I’m sure it all had something to do with the stress, but it didn’t help that most of my department at work fell ill as well as a good portion of the rest of the office. Oh well, if anything, the illness forced me to slow down and lie around for most of last weekend, and I was able to finish the absolutely fantastic sci-fi novel Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. This book has it all: futuristic colonization, a mystery, a hardboiled detective, a dire plot, and even a deadly threat. Now that I finished the first book and I prepare to launch into the audiobook of the sequel, I am gearing up to watch the television version of Leviathan Wakes called The Expanse, which I will be watching this weekend as I attempt to shake the remnants of this damned cold. I can’t wait to continue with this compelling-as-all-heck story. Check it out when you can.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 8/12/2016

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 / home improvement hater Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). The Donist World office (Mom’s Basement) continues to have problem after problem as each voluntary and involuntary phase of the remodel goes shockingly askew. This week, we finally got the new flooring put in, but while taking a break from our discussions on maintaining our status as a Fortune 320,000 company, and attempting to load a tray of spicy meatballs into the oven, well…the oven door fell off. No kidding. 375 degrees and the hefty door just popped off. Thankfully, my puppy executive team was not near the door, and the heated slab of metal did not damage the new flooring, but I was definitely freaked out. Don’t worry, Denizens, the spicy meatballs were fine as I was able to trick the door back onto the oven to finish cooking, and I later was able to fix the mysteriously locked hinge with no problems — fixing that thing is like a setting a freakin’ bear trap, though. <ugh>. So sneak a few sips of coffee before pouring yourself a fresh cup of green tea, grab some carrot sticks (I want pizza! Beer! <sob> French…fries…), check-in on an episode or two of the exceptional Stranger Things on Netflix, 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 Flintstones #2
The Flintstones #2 - Written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Steve Pugh, colored by Chris Chuckry, lettered by Dave Sharpe, Published by DC Comics. Consumerism, 24-hour news, and a glimpse under the hood of the god Morp come to Bedrock!

As I said last time, I had no intention of picking up The Flintstones until I learned that Mark Russell was writing. My interest quickly went from a total lack thereof to extreme excitement. You see, Denizens, Russell’s (and Ben Caldwell’s) Prez is one of the best books I read in 2015, so there was no way I was going to miss out on this modern take of the cartoon I used to hold so near and dear to my heart. Unlike the cartoon, and very much like Prez, Russell provides both subtle and in-your-face commentary on society, religion, and the news — with a touch of the ol’ Ponzi for good measure — in a satirical upgrade to the more tame and kid-friendly cartoon show.

As serious as this comic might sound, don’t worry, it’s a crackup from beginning to end with Pugh’s art and Chuckry’s colors. The men in this series are predominantly brutish cavemen, the women lovely, the creatures laugh-out-loud funny — Powergoat! — and the character acting make this one heck of an enjoyable funny book even before the tons of sight gags. The colors also keep the mood lighthearted and more vibrant than a place named Bedrock has any right to be, with the exception of the few desaturated flashbacks that bestow a mood all their own.

I still eagerly await the return of Prez, but if The Flintstones continues to be this fun, this smartly written, this beautifully illustrated, then I am totally chill hanging with the fab family from Bedrock. I will say that this series is more geared towards adults than children, but then again aren’t most comics? Two issues in, and The Flinstones looks to be one of my favorite books of 2016. You should give it a try. “Powergoat, biznatch!” VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wonder Woman #4
Wonder Woman # 4 - Written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Nicola Scott, colored by Romulo Fajardo Jr., lettered by Jodi Wynne, published by DC Comics. We jump back to the past with Diana’s first encounter with Steve Trevor and the events that will bring her from the paradise of Themyscira to the world of men.

The creators pick up the pace this issue as they move Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor from their first encounter, through the contest that decides their fates, and on to their journey to the mortal world. There are no bad guys, no ultimate evil to clash with this issue. Rather we see the governing individuals deciding what to do with this man, and how he, let alone anyone, was even allowed to reach their island to begin with. They also discover the weapons Steve and his now deceased team brought with them. This issue is mostly deliberating and confiding between characters, but I was fine not having any battles. Instead, I let the character development and world building take over as Scott provides some tremendous character acting and drama, adding weight to each scene. The lively colors continue to elevate this comic above the drab that has pervaded too many superhero comics for too long.

Diana and Steve are on their way to Steve’s world, and the next issue might possibly be a look at Wonder Woman’s attempts to understand her strange, new surroundings, again with no real bad guys to be seen. I am more than okay with that so long as the Princess of Power continues to receive a tale truly worthy of her greatness. With Rucka and Scott, I know we’ll get it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Empress #5
Empress #5 - Written by Mark Millar, illustrated by Stuart Immonen, inked by Wade von Grawbadger, colored by Ive Svorcina, lettered by Peter Doherty, edited by Rachael Fulton, published by Icon, a Marvel Comics imprint. The Empress and her children have been divided, but just because the children are on their own, does not mean they are helpless; King Morax is their father after all.

As far as roller coasters go, Empress continues to be exciting as heck. But with the fast pace, there’s little opportunity to catch your breath and dig into all of the cool characters. Don’t get me wrong, Denizens, I’m not ripping on the mini-series, or saying that I am not thoroughly enjoying the comic, but rather the creators made me care so much about these characters in the first issue, that I really want to know some more about each of them. With only two issues left and a lot of craziness to deal with, those backstories might not be coming. Still…this comic is a blast to read, and the art is stunning — seeing King Morax’s daughter whup ass doesn’t hurt in the slightest, either.

Empress is a great sci-fi series, and I can’t wait to see it done properly for the big screen once all is said and done with the comic series. You need to be reading this thrilling mini-series, but at this stage in the game, unless you can get all the floppies in one fell swoop, you might have to wait for the inevitable hardcover, which is certain to be lovely. Just make sure you read it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

All Star Batman #1
All Star Batman #1 - Written by Scott Snyder, illustrated by John Romita Jr. and Declan Shalvey, inked by Danny Miki and Declan Shalvey, colored by Dean White and Jordie Bellaire, lettered by Steve Wands, published by DC Comics. It’s two tales: one involves Two-Face and a deal no one can refuse, the other finds the detective and his new partner investigating a grisly scene.

Snyder’s Detective Comics run is one of my favorite Dark Knight tales of all time, and his New 52 Batman series — especially “The Court of Owls” storyline — is simply fantastic. One thing in common between those two series is the lengthy, multi-issue (occasionally multi-year) storylines found in each. That is where the new series differs from Snyder’s earlier work.

All Star Batman is set to feature a host of different and prominent artists of Snyder’s choosing, as well as multiple tales each issue and much shorter arcs. Each story is to focus on a different character from Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery, and the book wastes no time as the first story quickly brings in four (!) villains, not to mention Batman with a chainsaw and a host of new enemies created by Two-Face. Romita Jr. and White’s art is beautiful, dynamic, and exciting, and the story wastes no time throwing the readers into the thick of things as the details of what is going on slowly unfolds between all of the excitement.

The second story, illustrated by the great Shalvey and Bellaire team, is shorter in length, and does not reveal the villain who has created the, frankly, disturbing crime scene that Batman and Duke — I still know little about this guy, but I definitely like him — are forced to investigate. Both tales have that tinge of horror Snyder is so well known for, but there are also lighter moments in this book that were a rarity in the writer’s previous takes on the Dark Knight.

We’re off to a great start with All Star Batman, and I am excited to see where these storylines go, as well as which superstar artists popup in future issues. Prepare to be shocked by the $4.99 price, but pick up the book and you will see it is 40 pages of great material, wrapped with a lovely, thicker matte cover, and is every bit worth the price. We might be only one issue into this series, but All Star Batman looks to be everything we could hope for. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

I am Sick of Home Calamities - Multiple-daylong and delayed paint jobs, washing machines rifling water from the second story onto the patio below, old carpet tear outs followed by ruined carpets and weeklong delays, missed work to accommodate shifting schedules, oven doors falling off midway through cooking meatballs, no toilet, near toilet catastrophes…I’ve had it, Denizens. This brutally expensive nonsense has been going on for a month now, and I want nothing more than to kick it in my crib this weekend without a SINGLE thing going wrong. It’s gonna happen. I got some comics I want to reread, dagnabbit.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 8/5/2016

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). Amy the intern (my wife) is out of the office on vacation (house/dogsitting for a friend in San Francisco) so you would expect things around the Donist World headquarters (Mom’s basement) to be a bit rambunctious. You know: staying up late, eating bottomless nachos, high-stakes poker with my puppy executive team, cigars, beer, and oh so heavenly french fries. Sadly, that is not the case. Instead, we’ve been chilling, reading, and heavens to murgatroyd dieting. Dieting I tell you. Yes, instead of super monster burritos from Freebirds every day, it’s been eggs with broccoli, salads, and hearty vegetable soups. <sigh> Not really what I’d call going crazy, but at least Tulip and the Reverse Obie have been supportive and set up a wellness week here at Donist World focused on exercise, eating right, and detoxing. Oops, look at the time. We have a scheduled walk and talk meeting, so pour yourself a fresh cup of green tea, grab some carrot sticks (I want pizza! Beer! <sob> French…fries…), 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***

Black Science #23
Black Science #23 - 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 has disappointed his children for most of their lives, but even though he has vowed to make things right, his decision to visit the Cursed Witch isn’t improving things.

Last month’s installment kind of took me by surprise with the shift in tone from sci-fi adventure to comedic fantasy, but after taking a step or two back, I realized how much I enjoyed that issue. This month, however, the creators opt to let most of the comedy slide away and focus primarily on fantasy…with a ray-gun. In an effort to repair his troubled relationship with Pia, his daughter, McKay embarks upon a quest to a dark land, to find an evil temple, to steal a magic artifact from a cursed witch. He even rides a horse named Spaghetti.

So, yeah, this arc is a departure from the previous four as it seems kind of like it’s poised to become an AD&D campaign (a great one, mind you), but you know what Denizens? This issue is a total blast. Not only does the story and dialogue stand on its own, but this issue proves to be a showcase for just how gorgeous Scalera and Dinisio’s art is. The first splash page is sure to capture your attention, but it is the pages where McKay and company (not saying who) meet the witch that hold the power to convert non-Black Science readers into true believers. I know this issue just came out, but dang…we need a poster of that McKay meeting the Witch splash page. So. Very. Beautiful.

Black Science is a series that all sci-fi fans should be reading. It’s fun, intense, dramatic, positively heartbreaking at times, and overall thrilling. You probably won’t like Grant McKay at the start of the series, but that is by design. Once you get into the story, though, prepare to see him differently as you ride the roller coaster that is this fantastic series. McKay’s quest might not be going so well, but your quest is a no-brainer as there are four trades available and an oversized hardcover as well. Get ready for one heck of a grand adventure. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Low #15
Low #15 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Greg Tocchini, colored by Dave McCaig, Lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Stel and Zem near the space probe that looks to be mankind’s salvation. All they have to do is fight their way through hordes of murderous insectoids and somehow survive massive radiation poisoning. Still, there is hope.

Dang. Just…dang. Denizens, this series is tied with Black Science as my favorite Remender work currently hitting the shelves, which is kind of crazy given the hell the creators continuously put the poor Caine family through. And seeing as how one of the themes of the series is maintaining hope in the face of great adversity, all I know is that I would have no hope of ever being able to survive in this brutal world; at least not without the help of my hero, Stel Caine. But I have hope for the Caine women, even though one of the twins has gone off the deep end, the other is in a terrible situation, and Stel begins this concluding arc in truly dire shape. Oh, geez, they’re doomed. But there’s hope! Oh, double geez, I hope they’re not doomed.

The art is gorgeous throughout, especially on the double-page spreads, and splashes, with the warm reds and yellows conveying the unrelenting heat of the surface world, as well as the intensity of the killer fight scenes. My only struggle with this issue was that there were a couple panels where I wasn’t completely certain as to what had happened, but those moments were few in comparison to all of the spectacular ones. The design of a new character is great, and those final few pages left me desperate to see what happens next. <grumble, grumble> We’ll all just have to wait and see.

Low is underwater, post-apocalyptic sci-fi at it’s best with characters I have come to love — including the one who did a very bad thing an issue or two ago. I’m sure we have a two or three month break between issues, which is going to be particularly harsh given the crazy ending, but I can tell you I simply must be there to see how the Caine women possibly endure. Two trades are available now, with a third in October. Hopefully, that hardcover I’ve been hoping for comes out before the end of the year as well. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Paper Girls #8
Paper Girls #8 - 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 girls, including Erin’s older future self — weirdness, I know — continue to try to find KJ and a way back home.

Yeah, I still don’t particularly know what the heck is going on and I don’t particularly care, since I love all the characters and I’m totally digging this trippy ride. The mix of ’80s, modern, and futuristic sci-fi goodness with monsters and exceptional dialogue and character acting have kept me smiling since issue one, and this issue does not let me down. The overarching mystery as to what is going on is my own personal neon-blue popcorn ball (don’t sweat it if you don’t know what I’m talking about, popcorn balls were an ’80s food court thang). Just know that bits of information trickle in, as more questions arise, while each issue is a joy to read. That final splash page is sure to keep you hungry for the next issue, too, by golly.

If you’ve been reading comics for a while, then you dang well better know the names of Vaughan and Chiang (with Wilson’s otherworldly colors!). If you are new to comics, then you can’t go wrong with these creators, and the first trade is a perfect place to start. Paper Girls plays beautifully with the ’80s resurgence vibe that’s been going on lately (listen to some Mitch Murder, and watch the freakin’ fantastic Stranger Things on Netflix to see what I mean), while also being a compelling comic. I love this book, and I think you will, too. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Kill or be Killed #1
Kill or be Killed #1 - Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated and lettered by Sean Phillips, colored by Elizabeth Breitweiser, editorial supervision by Eric Stephenson, published by Image Comics. The title says it all as a man is compelled to become a vigilante by forces he does not fully understand.

After Brubaker and Phillips’s phenomenal The Fade Out, Criminal, and Sleeper comics there was no way I was gonna let this one pass me by. It goes without saying that if you are a fan of crime comics, then you are well aware of Brubaker and Phillip’s impressive body of work. Kill or be Killed continues their already successful path of characters that aren’t particularly likable, but whose circumstances surrounding their lives and their drive toward self destruction provide more than enough reason to immerse oneself in their damaged worlds.

Although the series is about a vigilante with possible links to other story genres (how’s that for vague?) as opposed to Criminal’s focus on greed-based crimes, the overall mood and tone of the series is sure to please crime / noir fans. Brubaker’s script is engrossing and Phillips’s masterful character acting never ceases to amaze. Whether you are already a fan of this team, or looking for something outside of the capes and tights crowd, then best jump in early with this great first issue. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Tokyo Ghost #9
Tokyo Ghost #9 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Sean Murphy, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. The world is techno-terrorist Davey Trauma’s oyster, and he means to smash it into gooey bits so he can rebuild it to his liking. All that opposes him is the nearly-broken Tokyo Ghost, Debbie Decay.

Talk about your Rick Remender bonanza week. Wow. Three titles — all creator-owned, btw — and all three a blast to read. This is the penultimate issue in this series and it does not disappoint in the action, madness, or mayhem departments. Now, as exciting and funny as this issue is — I’m still cracking up about “Come at me with your woodland creatures, bro” moment — and as much as I want the series to stick around a while longer, I have to say that I am a bit confused by Debbie Decay’s powers and how she acquired them. But that’s cool. If I have to just accept that she projects an EMP and somehow controls Mother Nature, then so be it. As long as we have this insane world, groovy characters, and Murphy and Hollingsworth’s stunning artwork I’m a happy reader.

Yup, the end is almost nigh, but never fear, you late-to-the-party types. The first trade is cheap and easy to find, and the final trade <sniffle> should be available mid-October. If a comic mini-series about a world where tech addiction runs / ruins everyone’s lives with seemingly one woman to oppose the status quo sounds like your cup of tea, then Tokyo Ghost is right up your alley. I can’t wait to see how it all ends. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Goodbye July I’m so glad July is gone, Denizens. Nothing truly terrible happened, mind you, it was just a steady stream of running around like crazy and dealing with things I didn’t want to deal with. Here’s hoping for a much more chill August.

This Explains it All…