Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 9/30/2016

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 / concertgoer Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Earlier this week, the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) let out early to attend a Dolly Parton concert at the Santa Barbara County Bowl. Now, Amy the intern (my wife), Reverse Obie, and Tulip were really excited about the show, but I was mostly indifferent…until the rhinestone goddess took the stage. Holy moley was she amazing. She has one of the strongest voices I have ever hear, she played six or seven instruments, she told stories in between numbers, joked with the crowd, and is one of the best performers I have ever seen. Period. Dang, Tulip still can’t stop singing “Jolene,” which is weird to hear a dog do, yet I find myself humming along with her. <phew> Anyhow, comics…So, while queueing up some classic Dolly Parton tunes, be sure to read some of the awesome Prez comic, checkout tonight’s premiere of Luke Cage on Netflix (I can’t wait!!!) 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***

Saga #38
Saga #38 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, lettered and designed by Fonografiks, coordinated by Eric Stephenson, published by Image Comics. Marko, Alana, and crew look to refuel their rocket tree and help out a stranded family of seemingly innocent creatures. Meanwhile, The Will looks to meet up with Gwendolyn, as new player The March makes their debut.

Whoa, boy. Dang, Denizens. Now the creators have gone and done it. <sniffle> I just need to take a breath and not overthink what went down this issue, so I can cleverly dance around the fact that something terribly distressing happens in this book, and I’m not about to tell you what that is. I know, I know, but spoilin’ something of this magnitude would be a total dick move, and I’m not about to do that to you, Denizens. Nay. I respect you way too much. All I will say is that with Saga, you can expect to read a beautifully told story, with gorgeous art, characters you will come to love, and the occasional moments that will leave you rolling with laughter or turning away in disgust — oftentimes both. Sometimes, every so often, you can expect to be shocked to the core and to have your heart torn from your chest to be drop kicked across the room; this happens to be one of those times. No more on the story, only that it is as great as usual.

Also “great as usual,” an understatement to be sure, is Staples’s art, which delivers the devastation through the emotional roundhouse blow of her flawless character acting and storytelling. The new characters are delightfully odd and intriguing, but also worthy of melting the ol’ peepers is the coloring and backgrounds. Every panel Staples lays out is a thing of vibrant beauty that continues to leave me scratching my head over how the heck she manages to make already stunning art look even better. I know I keep saying this, but I really want a process video or a quick look under the hood of her layers (whoa…that sounded kind of bad), so I can finally rest knowing that it doesn’t involve actual magic.

If you’re a Saga fan, then I’m certain you’ve already read this issue, and you’re just as distraught as I am. I mean, you must be, right? It’s been 24 hours since I read the latest issue and I’m still kind of messed up over what happened. If you are new to Saga, and you’re curious as to what all the hullabaloo is about, then just know that this comic is a (usually) NSFW, sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, drama, about love, life, loss, and <sniffle> death. Be prepared for laughs, be prepared for heartache, be prepared for a dang-fine series and one of the best comics on the stand. Do not just dive in willy nilly! Start at the beginning either with the trades or the lovely oversized hardcover, just be sure you aren’t missing out on the heavenly Saga. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Descender #15
Descender #15 - Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics. Since the coming of the Harvesters, Andy and TIM-21 have not seen each other for ten years. Much has changed since then. As Andy attempts to find his “brother,” we take a look at those missing ten years and his relationship with the girl who will one day become Queen Between.

It’s an unseasonably hot day, but I have the fan on, a cold beer on my left, Tulip sleeping on my right, and a new issue of the Donist World Darling, my favorite comic being published, Descender. All is well. Since Andy’s reintroduction to the story as an adult, I have been desperate to know what happened to him during those ten years he was separated from TIM-21, and we finally get some answers. We also get a bit of back story on Andy’s wife, Queen Between, or Effie as she was known way back then. This is a Lemire story, and as such you can expect plenty of touching, heart-wrenching moments, handled with such realism that you will at times forget the story is set in outer space, with aliens, robots, and spaceships. There’s loss and change and growing apart to an extent that, even before a new tragedy strikes, it’s clear that things will never be the same for Andy and Effie. And although we already know how things end up for these two, it’s all so very sad, nonetheless.

Despite the tragic tone of this issue, however, what is sure to lift your spirits is the outstanding visuals of Nguyen’s phenomenal watercolored artwork. Previous issues have featured lush worlds, bizarre alien races, and a diversity of robots, but this one mostly focuses on the drama, which is what makes the devastating moments of the amazing story all the more powerful. Again, the art is watercolored, which is a skill few can pull off, yet Nguyen not only makes the book lovely, he makes it look effortless.

Yeah, I love this comic. I mean, I really love this comic, and if you are a fan of the look and feel of ’80s sci-fi comics, anime, or movies — or great sci-fi in general — then you need to immediately get a hold of the first two trades and the third when it comes out in December. I can safely say I will be triple-dipping on the oversized hardcover when it is eventually announced and released. Descender is the real deal, Denizens, and although there are some fairly sad moments, I promise this wonderful book is well worth your time. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wonder Woman #7
Wonder Woman #7 - Written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Liam Sharp, colored by Laura Martin, lettered by Jodi Wynne, published by DC Comics. Wonder Woman and the Cheetah move to rescue Steve Trevor from the clutches of Cadulo in hopes of stopping the madman from bringing the god, Urzkartaga, into the world.

I am totally enjoying both the past and present tales in Wonder Woman, and this showdown with Urzkartaga is exactly what I hoped it would be: a reminder of how iconic and great Wonder Woman is. In this series, Diana is a confident, fearless warrior intent on saving her friends and keeping her promise to free Barbara Ann from the curse of the Cheetah. I won’t spoil the ending, but will say that I loved seeing the effect our hero has on the prisoners as she inspires them to stand up to their oppressor and believe in themselves; it’s exactly what being a superhero is all about.

Sharpe’s art seems to be getting better and better, which is saying something as it’s been beautiful since day one. I especially liked the hyper-creative panel layouts which reminded me of various moments from Swamp Thing throughout the years. I also appreciate the confidence behind Wonder Woman’s slight smile during her battle with the evil god (is he somehow related to the Swamp Thing or the Green? Kinda seems like it. Hmmm…). Cheetah stomping Cadulo and the jackal men are pretty alright, too. I will say that although I love Martin’s colors on this issue, they are from a darker palette than in previous issues, but then again, the story takes place in Urzkartaga’s lair, and he doesn’t appear to be down the livelier colors of the rainbow.

Wonder Woman’s good, Denizens. It’s a blast, and like I said above, the issues set in the past are every bit as good as the ones set in the present. If you’ve been looking for a good Wonder Woman story to jump in on, then rest assured this is one not to be missed. The creators look to have some great things in store for us, and I’m happy to say I will there to see it all unfold. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Deadly Class #22
Deadly Class #22 - Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, colored by Jordon Boyd, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. Freshman finals is over, and the survivors return to King’s Dominion to find a new batch of freshmen and to see new plays for power.

Remember issue 21, Denizens. Remember what a mess I was after reading it? Yeah. Shizzle. Went. Down. And it all went down hard. Part of me went “Holy moly. There’s no way that really happened.” Apparently, it did. Dang. A lot of characters died in that issued, and I guess they’re gonna stay dead. Again, dang. Now that the survivors know what to expect, it’s fascinating to see them already vying for leadership over the other students, and how the new crop of kids attempt to impress each other and the sophomores; the coming year promises to be brutal for them all.

After the hiatus — only a couple months, but it felt like forever — Craig doesn’t miss a beat with his superb storytelling and his ability to utilize high-panel-count pages in ways that few can effectively pull off. (Dang, I need to look into getting some of his original art.) The black and white line art alone would make this comic worth the price of admission, but the addition of Boyd’s coloring makes this comic quite lovely. Boyd utilizes little rendering, focusing predominantly on monochromatic and analogous colors that perfectly set the tone of the story while giving the book an experimental look and edge. It’s stunning.

I have some ideas as to what is going on but given the punishment these creators routinely put on us through — I’m not complaining, mind you — I could totally be wrong. We’ll just have to wait and see. That said, for all you Deadly Class newbies, don’t jump in here. Don’t do it. Yes, this is year two, and it might seem like a jumping on point, but it is not. All the crazy — boy, howdy, do I mean crazy! — stuff that happened in the previous 21 issues necessitates starting at the beginning of this fine series to better understand this world, the characters, and their relationships. Plus, messed up stuff goes down often in Deadly Class, and why would you want to miss any of that? So, if you’re in the market for a series about a school for young assassins, then you should start with the first four trades or the lovely hardcover; you’ll be glad you did. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Heat Wave - Enough is enough, already. Thankfully, things have finally cooled down some, and I hope that fall is ready to stick around. As much as I loved the Dolly Parton concert, the mixture of intense heat and the intensely uncomfortable chairs hurt the experience some, but not enough to prevent us from having a blast. Sleeping through the night with this heat this week, though…ugh. Awful.


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