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.


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