Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 10/07/2016

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 / pumpkin bread connoisseur Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). I’m not gonna dance around the subject, Denizens. It was my birthday on new comic book Wednesday, so the gang and I have been a little…less than productive around the ol’ corporate office (Mom’s basement) this week. The pups and Amy the intern (my wife) pulled together and baked me some exquisite pumpkin bread, then took me to dinner at a beer / burger joint where I had spicy chicken sliders, a Founder’s Breakfast Stout (love it), and an ultra-special Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA (I’ve been wanting to try this for years!). They also gave me Shang-Chi: Master of Kung-Fu Omnibus Volume 1 which I am thrilled to finally read in its entirety after all these years. Man, I tell ya, a fella could sure get used to this. So, pour yourself a Founder’s Breakfast Stout (or a coffee if beer ain’t your thang), check out Luke Cage on Netflix (so far, so freakin’ great!) 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 #4
The Flinstones #4 - Written by Mark Russel, illustrated by Steve Pugh, colored by Chris Chuckry, lettered by Dave Sharpe, published by DC Comics. Fred and Wilma are happily married, but monogamy is a relatively new and scandalous way of being with someone, and some of the more “deplorable” members of society ain’t gonna stand for it. Also, the appliances hang out.

Denizens, remember all the praise I’ve been heapin’ on the new The Flintstones comic? Yeah, more of the dang same stuff, except I would like to kick it up a notch. The previous issues have tackled some pretty grand political / societal issues, with this month’s installment exploring the relatively new (to Bedrock at least) institution of marriage as a sinful, hedonistic way of life that has many up in arms. In true Russell fashion, this reversal of a hot-button topic — yeah, I know, it’s 2016 and it’s still a hot-button topic. How…deplorable — had me laughing at the absurdity of the situation and shaking my head in frustration that some (deplorables?) think they have a monopoly on the practice. But before my smile can be turned upside down, we are introduced to the characters of Adam and Steve, and I couldn’t help but laugh aloud. Adam and Steve…heck yeah! Can I get a “Praise Gerald!”? (That exclamation won’t make a lick of sense unless you’ve read the issue that covered religion…such a crack up.)

Pugh is a champion of both character acting and body language this issue to such an extent you can practically feel the enthusiasm or apprehension or irritation of each character on every page. Were the book wordless (perish the thought), you could pretty much gauge most of the situations, including the ones involving the animal appliances. One thing that definitely does not need words is the lovely Wilma, whose beauty under Pugh’s pen is enough to fortify the idea of monogamy in any stone-age town. At the same time, Pugh adds weight to the less-attractive Fred’s brutally honest worries at the marriage retreat, which reminds readers that as humorous as the situations are and as gorgeous as the art is, The Flintstones still has plenty of heart.

Dang. I think I’m going to reread the series from the beginning, and we’re only four issues in. I love The Flintstones so much, which is something I never thought I would say. I’m also going to go out on a limb and say that this book is approaching my love of Russell’s other amazing work Prez — which was sadly canceled. If you have nostalgia for the cartoon and an interest in incredibly smart satire, then you positively cannot go a day longer without taking a look at this fantastic series. Such L-O-V-E. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Paper Girls #10
Paper Girls #10 - 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 weirdness continues as monsters appear, future Erin reveals herself, and the girls take a terrifying leap of faith.

Calling all Denizens. I repeat…calling all Denizens. You need to be reading Brian K. Vaughan’s amazing new ’80s-present-future, sci-fi, adventure about four paper girls standing up to invaders from the future. At least, I think the enemies are invaders from the future…no, I’m pretty sure they are from the future, but they might be from a parallel dimension or something or…crud, I don’t know. What I do know is that I love the characters — both good and bad — and although I don’t really know what the heck is going on, I’m stickin’ around for the long haul.

The dialogue and dramatic moments of this book range from laugh-out-loud funny, to touching, but more than anything this tale is hella compelling (scientifically speaking, of course) in no small part because of Chiang and Wilson’s beautiful art. Past issues have wowed with crazy creatures and bizarre technology, of which little can be found in this issue. However, here we have the power of Chiang’s strong character acting and storytelling to drive the story, and Wilson’s otherworldly colors to set the tone of the issue. When writing, line work, and color palette all meld to this level of perfection, you get one heck of an enjoyable read.

You know that Netflix show, Stranger Things, that I’ve been carryin’ on about for just over a month now? Well, if you love that series even half as much as I do, then it’s a safe bet you’ll really dig Paper Girls, too. You can quickly catch up with the super-inexpensive first trade, with the must-read second trade dropping towards the beginning of December. Then you get to wait in the same painful boat as the rest of us as we wait for the third arc to start up the beginning of February 2017. Dang, this series is a blast. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Cage #1
Cage #1 - Written and illustrated by Genndy Tartakovsky, inked by Stephen DeStephano, colored by Scott Wills, lettered by Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics. A comic series long thought lost finally sees the light of day. Sweet Christmas, it’s Power Man!

In order to talk about this awesome, fun new mini-series, I have to mention not just my love of Luke Cage during his Power Man and Iron Fist days, and my renewed love of the character from the awesome new Netflix series Luke Cage, but I have also had a deep love of Tartakovsky’s gorgeous Samurai Jack cartoon for some time. As a kid, my Power Man and Iron Fist comics were barely held together by what remained of the staples, and oftentimes the covers had fallen off, and although I wasn’t able to actually read the comics, they were much loved. As an adult, I would watch my Samurai Jack DVDs late at night, while sipping a beer, all the while marveling at the stunning backgrounds, character designs, and story. Dang, Denizens, you gotta love when two great things come together in a great way.

I’m not going to go into the story other than to say it’s set in the ’70s and centers on the mystery of both superheroes and Misty Knight disappearing, which puts Power Man on the case. The story and dialogue are a reminder of the lighter, goofier tone of the period, and mixes humor, action, and drama successfully; I was smiling and laughing from beginning to end. Tartakovsky’s cartooning is exaggerated in the best of ways with some great panel layouts, and his storytelling is spot on, with the only distraction to the story that I could find being that I was sadly approaching the end of the issue. You ever see Power Man punch a fool in the face so hard that his ski mask explodes? I know you haven’t. How about someone pull a snitch through jail cell bars so that all his clothes are left on the other side? Nope, I kinda doubt you’ve seen that, either.

I have a feeling this comic is going to sell out quick. You need to do something about it ASAP, and get yourself a copy. It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of the character or a fan of the creator or a fan of both, what is important is that you like fun, unique, action-packed comics done right. Man, I cannot wait for issue two. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Future Quest #5
Future Quest #5 - Written by Jeff Parker, illustrated by Evan “Doc” Shaner and Craig Rousseau, colored by Hi-Fi and Jeremy Lawson, lettered by ALW Studios’s Dave Lanphear, published by DC Comics. A hero returns as new heroes arrive.

To be honest, the 12–13 pages of material tied to the main story, and roughly 10 pages of side story to introduce even more new characters is kind of making the story drag a bit. Were this comic to be coming out every two weeks like most of the DC superhero titles, then this format would work a bit better. Now, I don’t mean to bash Future Quest, rather I am loving the series over all, but the urgency of the terrifying enemy and the desperate hope promised by the appearance of Space Ghost in those first two issues had me completely amped to see what was to happen next. I admit, the allure of having all these great characters appear in one book was exciting at first, but now I think it is all a bit too much. Maybe sticking to Space Ghost (and gang), Birdman, Jonny Quest, the Herculoids, and Mightor would have been the way to go, and then keep the other characters on the side for a future Future Quest series. That said, I am still immensely digging this comic.

I know it sounds like I’m just griping about this series, Denizens, but that is not the case. I’m not dropping Future Quest or anything; I still love it quite a bit. If anything, it’s the love — both of what came before, and of what we currently are reading — that has me so pumped to see how our heroes (all 10,000 of them…roughly) will save the day. Maybe, what I need to do before the next issue is a quick back-to-back read to get me good and psyched to see what these talented creators have in store for us next. RECOMMENDED!

Slice into the Woods

Next Week - Hmmmmmm…Next week is a tricky one. There’s a bunch of books coming out and I’m not going to be around to write actual reviews for them. In the past 6 1/2 years that I have been posting at Donist World, I have never missed a week of writing at least something. What I will probably do is take a look at some other books I have read recently, or maybe repost last year’s Halloween reading with any updates I can think of. Not sure what I’ll post yet, just know that I might have to skip or greatly condense my look at next week’s titles. Just letting you know.


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