Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 6/16/2017

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 / bacon breakfast burrito believer Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). The Donist World fuel gauge is running pretty close to empty this week, Denizens, but never fear, we still have a little somethin’ somethin’ for you to check out below. Of course, it has been a crazy week and I got home much too late from a work event but the lights of the Donist World corporate office (Mom’s basement) are always on. That is unless the landlord (Mom) tells us to knock it off and go to bed, which she just did. Okay, fair enough. We can’t hope to maintain our status as a Fortune 320,000 company if my puppy executive team and I can’t keep our eyes open long enough to read a darn comic. Amirite? So, while Reverse Obie pulls down the blanket and Tulip takes the good pillow, pour yourself a cup of “Sleepytime Tea” and check out some great comic books before you crash out. 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***

Keeping Up with the Trades

I read a lot of comic books, Denizens, and not just the Wednesday new releases. Actually, I have tons of older comics, trades, rereads, and digital comics I read every week. Unfortunately, I sometimes forget to mention some of these awesome titles, but no longer. In “Keeping Up with the Trades,” I will pick a selection of heavenly titles I recently read, love, and that you all need to know about. I hope you enjoy them.

Wolverine: Old Man Logan Volumes 1–4

Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, published by Marvel Comics. A month and a half ago, coming hot off the wonderful yet brutal film Logan, I mentioned I wanted to reread Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s equally brutal yet enjoyable as heck Wolverine: Old Man Logan storyline (see this post about post-apocalyptic and dystopian comics). I reread it over two days shortly thereafter and it reminded me that I never mentioned having read Lemire and Sorrentino’s continuing take on the character. Thankfully, I’m finally fixing that oversight. However, thanks to Marvel’s recent bout of renumbering madness, navigating the world of Old Man Logan can be a bit tricky.

First of all, you have the Millar and McNiven introduction of the character (mentioned above) that originally appeared in Wolverine #66–72 and Wolverine: Giant Size Old Man Logan from way back in 2009. Then, years later, in the onslaught of 2015’s Secret Wars event, Brian Michael Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino released Wolverine: Old Man Logan #1–5 (collected here), which I have not yet read. Finally, my hero Jeff Lemire took over writing duties on the new 2016 series Wolverine: Old Man Logan #1–24. Wait. What?! See what I mean, Denizens? Kind of a mess if you’re new to the character or just saw Logan and want to dive into a comic. My recommendation is to start with the Millar/McNiven trade to get familiar with what happened in the future, but you should be fine diving into Lemire/Sorrentino’s run headfirst as Lemire catches you up quick with our favorite berserker mutant.

Now, keep in mind that I have read the first two trades and I started the third last night, which I’m actually quite eager to get back to reading. This series begins with a grizzled Logan from a tragic future, one where he saw everything that was good destroyed right in front of his eyes, awakening to our modern world. Everything is wrong: his friends are no longer dead, his enemies have not seized control of the world, and those who live are all much younger than they should be. Realizing he has traveled back in time, he sees an opportunity to make certain his world never comes to pass by eliminating key evil figures one by one. Unfortunately, maneuvering around the younger, living friends he loved so dearly complicates matters.

Wolverine: Old Man Logan gives me everything I want from a Lemire comic: strong characterization, emotional beats that hit at all the right moments, and an intricately plotted story that keeps me fully engrossed in this fascinating take on one of Marvel’s most popular characters. Sorrentino’s art captures the dour atmosphere that pervades Logan’s world view and the darkness that weighs upon his soul. If you are a fan of Sorrentino’s work on the tragically short-lived I, Vampire or on his and Lemire’s run on Green Arrow, then you definitely need to see his work here, as it is lovely indeed. Please excuse me, I have to run upstairs and continue with volume three before jumping immediately into volume four of this outstanding series.


Manifest Destiny Volumes 1–4

Written by Chris Dingess, illustrated by Matthew Roberts, colored by Owen Gieni, published by Skybound, an Image Comics imprint. Oh, how I love this series, Denizens. I originally talked about volume one (here) and volume 2 (here), but I only mentioned volumes three and four briefly on the 2016 Year-End Roundup; that’s not good enough for this dang fine series. So, no time like the present than to restate my deep love for the amazing horror comic that is Manifest Destiny, especially seeing how trade number five is nearly upon us come August of this year.

Manifest Destiny is a historical reimagining of Lewis and Clark’s exploration of the untamed American Frontier. Much is the same, including the team of enlisted men, convicts, and other unsavory miscreants, it is the secret mission that holds the twist. Unbeknownst to Lewis and Clark’s crew, the real reason they are exploring the uncharted wild is to catalog any monstrous flora and fauna— physically and through Lewis’s journaling — and where possible, eliminate any and all threats that get in their way. There’s also the ever-present threat of angry natives and mutiny among the crew, but they thankfully have the aid of the fierce Sacagawea, who is a total murder machine and who also happens to be pregnant. Their journey is a trying one at the best of times.

Each volume, thus far, focuses on a specific region that just so happens to be inhabited by a towering arch that is somehow linked to the various horrors plaguing all forms of humanity whether they be explorer or native. Thus, each volume contains a few types of monsters that Dingess and Roberts use to terrify their readers with, and trust me, these monsters are as unnerving as they are imaginative –ugh, that flying one with the head thing…I still get the willies thinking about it. The great thing about this exquisitely paced and intricately illustrated adventure/horror tale is that the “good guys” really aren’t all that good. I was fine seeing a few of Lewis and Clark’s crew meet their horrific ends, but I was also deeply disturbed by certain actions taken by the explorers in volume three; I suspect you will find some of the grim undertakings to be extremely troubling. But as unsettling as things might get, you will most certainly be back for more.

Manifest Destiny is one heck of a compelling series. Roberts’s art is flawless in both storytelling and character design, while Dingess’s dialogue and pacing make this revisionist history tale of monsters and mayhem a thrill ride you will never want to end. The arrival of volume five in August cannot come soon enough.


Slice into the Woods

The Traitor Jeff Sessions - Liar liar pants on fire. DANG. Satan’s very own Keebler elf of darkness put on quite a show of lies, contradictions, fabricated rules, and immensely selective memory this past Tuesday, but hopefully, his numerous counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and that pesky treasonous behavior not only ruins his career but ultimately lands his racist ass in prison. It’s about time the AG learned a little something about obeying the law.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 6/9/2017

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 / dog gone Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Huh? Now, where are my puppy executive team members? I was just telling them about my trip to the dentist and mentioned that Tulip and Reverse Obie should probably get their teeth cleaned too, and the next thing I know I’m the only one in the corporate office (Mom’s basement). I guess the mere mention of the word “teeth cleaning” is enough to send them scrambling out the door and into the loving embrace of the taco truck. Oh well, looks like it’s just me working to maintain our status as a Fortune 320,000 company. So, while I roll up my sleeves, pour yourself a refreshing beer or ginger ale, order up a taco platter, and check out some great comic books. 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***

Keeping Up with the Trades

I read a lot of comic books, Denizens, and not just the Wednesday new releases. Actually, I have tons of older comics, trades, rereads, and digital comics I read every week. Unfortunately, I sometimes forget to mention some of these awesome titles, but no longer. In “Keeping Up with the Trades,” I will pick a selection of heavenly titles I recently read, love, and that you all need to know about. I hope you enjoy them.

Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka

Written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by J.G. Jones and Drew Johnson, published by DC Comics. Yes indeed, Denizens. You know I saw the new Wonder Woman movie last weekend, right? Boy howdy, I saw the movie and I, of course, loved it. But we’re not here to discuss how Gal Gadot truly IS the princess of power, or that I kind of believe she could actually smack a fool with a tank. Nope. For now, we’re taking a look at Greg Rucka’s initial run on Wonder Woman in this hefty collection containing Wonder Woman: The Hikateia and Wonder Woman the series, issues 195–205. All are must-read material.

Originally published in 2002 as a standalone hardcover OGN, this trade quickly establishes Diana as a Themysciran ambassador to the United States who finds herself charged with protecting a young woman, Danielle, against all who might cause her harm. Diana’s aid is sealed by an ancient Greek ritual that will destroy her if she ever breaks her oath. Unfortunately, The Batman knows why Danielle is on the run, and he means to bring her to justice. Jones’s art and storytelling are lovely and the collision of myth and the real world and that of superheroes is expertly handled by Rucka. There are some action sequences, but this story mostly centers on the dramatic, which very much works in its favor.

The comic series itself pretty much picks up where Wonder Woman: The Hikateia leaves off, but be prepared to be introduced to a host of characters and villains, many of whom appeared at some point in the previous 195 issues. Never fear, though, Rucka will help you catch up just fine. A cybernetic angel woman? No problem. A murderous dwarf with ruthless psychic powers? You’ll catch on. Much like the first quarter of this collection, each story leans more toward the dramatic with occasional action sequences that will make you gasp. Even though there’s not much fighting — although a fierce warrior, Diana stands for peace and love — Rucka’s Wonder Woman is charming, bold, a pillar of nobility who inspires most of the people she meets. Dang, what I wouldn’t give to have her take me on my own personal flight (no innuendo, I’m being honest here, read the book and see, pervs).

If you like the latest series or the movie, or you love Wonder Woman and missed out on Rucka’s first run, then you must pick up this fantastic trade. The cool thing is if you go to Comixology before Monday, 6/12/2017, then you can get it digitally along with tons of other Wonder Woman goodness for only $5.99. As luck would have it, volume 2 of Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka releases mid-July, which I will definitely be picking up!


Rumble Volume 3: Immortal Coil

Written by John Arcudi, illustrated James Harren, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered by Joe Sabino, book design by Vincent Kukua, published by Image Comics. Did you know this book was 100% made for me? That’s right, Denizens, the creators must have crept into my dreams as a child — or possibly as an adult, this book spans the ages — and delivered the heavenliness that is Rumble unto me. Hot diggity dog, this is what happens when an “immortal,” monster-slaying warrior-god, Rathraq, falters only to have his spirit cast into the frail form of a scarecrow. Throw in awesome flashbacks of the good old days, monsters posing as humans in today’s world, and a few humorous human characters in the know, and you have everything in the world a Donist could want. Dang, there’s even stuff I never knew I even wanted: a hydra playing fetch (in the first trade)…yes siree Bob.

Arcudi brings both hearty laughs and heartfelt sorrow to this installment. Rathraq is, of course, awesome whether looking at his warrior-god past or his scarecrow present, but the human sidekicks, something I usually do not like, make this series so very compelling. Bobby, Del, and Timah all have their parts to play in the knock-down-drag-out-slice-and-dice fest. Harren’s art is freaking phenomenal in every aspect regardless of if you are talking about character design, storytelling, fight choreography, character acting, or drama.

As I said, this book was made for me. It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s touching. It’s tragic. But more than anything, it is a joy to read. With this trade, you get a gallery of covers, pin-ups by other artists, as well as some sketches by Harren (who will soon be taking over art duties on two issues of the must-read Seven to Eternity by Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña) to round out this awesome monster-mash comic. This might be (not totally sure) the last collection of Rumble, but I know I will be returning to it often over the years.


Black Hammer Volume 1: Secret Origins

Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated Dean Ormstom, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered by Todd Klein, published by Dark Horse Books. I know, I know. It’s been a while since I mentioned a Dark Horse comic, but this isn’t a slight against them, there’s just a lot of great comics out there. The best way to pull me in a desired direction, however, is to put out a comic by Jeff Lemire and he will Pied Piper my exquisitely-sculpted behind (I hope Gal Gadot is reading this) to his book, regardless of the publisher. My biggest regret with Black Hammer is not jumping on sooner.

Black Hammer is Lemire’s take on some Big Two characters…oops…I meant to say his take on a group of bizarre superheroes, who are pulled from their home of Spiral City and left trapped in a small town from which they cannot escape. Some members relish the idea of leaving superheroics behind and staying on the farm, but most want to escape by any means necessary. Why are Abraham Slam, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly, Golden Gail, Barbalien, and Talky-Walky stranded in this small town, and who or what is keeping them there? Only time will tell, and I can tell you, Denizens, I will be there to see what happens next.

The first issue in this collection introduces us to the cast of characters and their plight. The remaining five issues continue to move the story forward, but each focuses on a particular member of the group, looking into their past, and helping us understand who they are. True to most all of Lemire’s work, it’s easy to become attached to each character, even those who at first rub us the wrong way, but succeed in gaining our sympathy as we begin to know them. If Lemire is not going to provide the art for a title, then an illustrator like Ormstom is the perfect person to bring an overall sense of mystery and an unsettling eeriness to this strange world, while occasionally bringing scant moments of hope when needed. Stewert’s colors push the mood of Ormstom’s art from the plain palette of the farm to the otherworldly hues of the more supernatural moments.

Black Hammer is a damn-fine book that is certain to please fans of Lemire’s Descender and Sweet Tooth, while also being one of the best non-Big-Two Big Two Elseworld books on the stand. You definitely need to be reading this awesome new series. I cannot wait to see where Lemire and Ormstom take us next.


Mega-Marvel Digital Sale at Amazon

Holy moly! Man, I went a tad crazy with Amazon's digital Marvel sale. It will probably be a while before I get to all of these as some are part of the issue-packed “Epic Collection” line, but I’m excited to dive in. In no particular order, here’s what I picked up:
See what I mean? A virtual ton of reading material; I can’t think of a better problem to have.

Slice into the Woods

For Once, Let’s Keep it Positive - Here’s hoping James Comey’s testimony sets in motion everything needed to rid us of the traitors.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 6/2/2017

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 / Wonder Puppy Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Dagnabbit, here we go again. Both members of my puppy executive team are wandering around the corporate office (Mom’s basement) pretending to be Wonder Woman in anticipation of the movie releasing this week. They somehow even managed to make aluminum foil tiaras with matching bracelets. They’re also wearing red tops that I believe were cut from the legs of my comfiest sweatpants. It’s all rather impressive, but given the level of disappointment they’re about to suffer when I sneak out of the window to see the film, I’m willing to overlook the demise of my worn-out loungewear. Anyhow, I thought we would once again take a look at some comics I sadly missed the first time around yet hope to remedy by reading in the near future. So, pour yourself a refreshing beer or ginger ale, sit down, strap in, and think about those comics you might have skipped all those years ago. 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 Ones that Got Away (Part 2)

“What the heck kind of doggone title is that, Donist?! Do we need to be worried about you?! Are you okay?!” Never fear, Denizens, all is well with the Donist and Donist World. I just happened to be sitting in our conference room — the area roped off by hanging sheets in Mom’s basement — and thinking about all of the comics I wanted to read throughout the years but had missed for one reason or another. As I thought about them, I realized there were tons of series that snuck by me somehow, and I’m not even counting any comics from the past two decades. So, let’s have a look and see what can be done about this now that we are in the age of the internet where online shopping and digital services can help remedy this dire situation. As I prepare to stumble into the confessional booth, I want to hear about your regrets concerning comics you missed out on over the years, so please let me know about them by posting a comment. I’m happy to lend an ear, to commiserate, to help you work through the emotions and try to find a way to move on. Together, we can find a way to set things right. (You can check out ”Part 1” here.)

Wonder Woman by George Perez

Written by Len Wein, illustrated by George Perez, published by DC Comics. With the Donist World corporate office bursting with anticipation of this week’s official release of the Wonder Woman movie, there’s no better title to start this week’s post than George Perez’s Wonder Woman . Now, as you might remember from my first installment of “The Ones that Got Away,” I had missed out on The New Teen Titans, which was also gorgeously illustrated by Perez, and I had remedied my error by picking up the first three collections through a digital sale — I’m now on volume 2, by the way, and loving it. I did the same dang thing again and picked up this little puppy with some slashed pricing through Comixology. I’m thrilled to finally check it out after all these years.

This run on Wonder Woman is written by Len Wein — who we all know co-created and wrote the first run of my beloved Swamp Thing series — and is one that nearly won my limited allowance funds on many occasions as a kid. This wasn’t only because the art is by Perez, who completely melted my eyeballs with his stunning art on both Crisis on Infinite Earths and The Infinity Gauntlet, but because Wonder Woman is simply badass.

Even before I was old enough to read, Wonder Woman was there every time Lynda Carter twirled into magnificence right before taking out some bad guys or stopping a major calamity. She was there for me on the Super Friends cartoon as a kid, and there on the Justice League cartoon as an adult, while frequently showing up in one comic book series or another. I have read fair chunks of Greg Rucka’s run and Brian Azarello’s run, but the series drawn by Perez is the one that has been sitting in the back of my mind for far too long. Now with this comic ready to go and the movie being released, I have a sneaking feeling I’ll be picking up Wonder Woman: War of the Gods, while it too is on sale. I cannot wait!

The New Mutants

Written by Chris Claremont and others, illustrated by Bob McLeod and others, published by Marvel Comics. Seeing this title on the spinner rack month after month was enough to drive this Donist a might crazy. Thankfully, I was usually able to console myself with copies of The Uncanny X-Men, but then again Charles Xavier’s premiere mutant team featuring Marvel’s rising star Wolverine was part of the problem. You see, my brother and I were positively bonkers for The X-Men, and having a second book loosely tied to their universe put this title firmly on our radar. That pesky allowance limitation, though…oh well. Still, we were able to somewhat get to know Sam, Bobby, Xi’an, Danielle, and Rayne as they made the occasional appearance throughout many comics of the Marvel Universe.

It wasn’t just the fact that this new team of mutants is closely tied to the X-Men, but seeing them on the cover of Marvel Graphic Novel #4 definitely caught my eye, especially Sunspot with his Kirby Krackle and the energy encased Cannonball as he launched into battle. I often flipped through the books wondering what enemies they would face and if some of those evildoers might be former X-Men foes. Oh, the torment of it all. Now, I finally get to see for myself who crosses their paths as I anticipate the arrival of Magma and Warlock.

I, of course, just picked up this collection in an amazing sale that I could not pass up and it is now in the queue for this summer’s reading. I do have to say, that as excited as I am to dive into this series, I am most looking forward to the next “Epic Collection” release as it will contain the “The Demon Bear” storyline and art by the amazing Bill Sienkiewicz. Still, getting to that point should be a heck of a lot of fun.

Strikeforce: Morituri

Written by Peter B. Gillis, illustrated by Brent Anderson, published by Marvel Comics. I remember seeing this one on the shelves at the LCS back in the day, but it never really caught my attention as it came out in 1986 and we all know there was another title from another publisher that was soaking up all of the attention back then, namely Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Sadly, I didn’t realize Strikeforce: Morituri was such a revered book in and of itself and that it was one I desperately needed to check out; perhaps if it had only come out a year sooner…

Anyhow, it wasn’t until about ten years ago that I started noticing more and more mentions of this series as something of great import. After some research, I learned the comic is about an alien invasion of Earth and the only hope of stopping the invaders is by giving humans amazing superpowers…unfortunately, those powers will kill its host within a year. Holy schmoley, what’s not to love about that horrific premise?

Yup, that’s all I know. Sold! And I’ve been sold on this comic for quite some time now. Thankfully, I askeed my Magic 8-Ball if I will be able to read the first volume of Strikeforce: Morituri in the near future, and it told me“It is decidedly so.” I can’t argue with that.

Slice into the Woods

#45 to Withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement - Because of course he would. This was completely expected, but nonetheless frustrating. Thankfully, it should be put back in place once that traitor is impeached and spending some quality alone time behind bars…where he belongs. Enjoy your two scoops of ice cream and your chocolate cake while you can, loser.

Grown Men Whining About Wonder Woman - Oh, yeah, before I go…I would also like to say, “Suck it, man-babies!” to all those “men” crying about the select women/girls-only advance screenings of Wonder Woman. What the heck don’t you get? It’s a movie about a female superhero who is meant to champion women and provide someone for women/girls to look up to. An extra week to wait is not a big deal. Comic books have sat predominantly in the older male realm for far too long, and when more people become interested in comic-related properties, that means more money, more attention, and a higher likelihood of seeing even more fantastic movies and comics in the future. We all win if Wonder Woman is truly as great as early reviews suggest, crying because you don’t get your way this one time is simply pathetic.