Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 8/11/2017

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/Fenrir of Fitness Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). All right, I have but minutes to write a little intro as my puppy executive team and I are rushing out the door to continue our commitment to not only maintain our status as a Fortune 320,000 company but to lead healthier lifestyles, to not sit at our desks for hours on end, to get up and move, and to strengthen our bodies alongside our minds!!! <ahem> Anyhow, we’re going for a walk to get some breakfast burritos, the ones stuffed with tater tots. So, before you get up and get active, grab a tasty beer or refreshing iced tea, relax, and while you’re at it check out some great comics. 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***

Friday Slice of Heaven

Mister Miracle #1

Written by Tom King; pencils, inks, and colors by Mitch Gerads; lettered by Clayton Cowles; published by DC Comics. The week I heard Tom King was doing a Mister Miracle comic, I immediately had my LCS add it to my pull. Seriously, how could I not secure a copy of what is certain to be one of the most talked about superhero comics of 2017? After being so thoroughly blown away by both the critically acclaimed The Vision and the less lauded yet equally fantastic The Omega Men, it’s no surprise that the first issue of Mister Miracle has already sucked me in.

I initially wanted to say that Mister Miracle “charmed me,” but that is not the appropriate term given the opening splash page and the subsequent double-page spread. I’m not going to spoil what you see, but I will say that it is worrisome, it is alarming, and you will most likely carry those feelings with you through to the end of this 12-issue maxi-series. Even Jack Kirby’s original run from the ’70s had a certain edge lurking behind the cheerfully colored yellow, red, and green hero. Mister Miracle (aka Scott Free) was raised in an orphanage within the hell that is Apokolips where he learned to become a master escape artist. Despite Scott’s many adventures and meeting his wife, Big Barda, his time on Apokolips was a rather dreary experience, one which King only briefly mentions, yet carries through via the underlying emotions of his current situation in life.

There are no grand escapes, epic battles, or explosive confrontations in this issue. In fact, the actual moments of physical violence, when Orion appears, are deliberately paced to show the callous expectations these New Gods place upon one another. The menace lingering in those early Kirby issues is now front and center in King’s take on this character, very much making Mister Miracle a worthy follow-up to what he achieved with The Vision and The Omega Men.

If you are expecting the art to be reminiscent of Kirby’s work, then you might be in for a shock. Much like the story itself, the imagery is darker. Here you will not find the lively color palettes and characters performing daring feats, but rather more character acting and murkier color schemes set the tone of what is a thematically heavy book. Never fear, though, once Scott and Barda don their costumes on the final two pages, there is a slight elevation of hope that will have to carry us over the course of the painful month-long wait for the next issue. One interesting thing I have to mention — and I am not sure I believe — is that my guy at the LCS said that if you wear X-Ray Specs while reading the intentionally blurry television interview sequence, then you are in for a cool experience…I don’t have X-Ray Specs, but I kinda want to test this out.

If you are a fan of King’s other superhero reimaginings, then Mister Miracle better be sitting on the table next to you as you read this. If not, rush out and pick up a copy before they’re all gone. As I said, I expect this series to be talked about from issue one all the way through issue twelve and for good reason. One thing I am unsure of is how Mister Miracle will read to someone less familiar with the New Gods mythos and the many characters like Darkseid, Orion, High Father, Granny Goodness, and all the others. If you have a basic knowledge of Kirby’s Fourth World, you will be fine, and if not, then a little time on Wikipedia should bring you up to speed on what is sure to be one of the most important comics of the year. I can’t wait to see what happens next.


Thor Vol. 1 & 2 and The Mighty Thor Vol. 1 & 2

Written by Jason Aaron, mostly illustrated by Russell Dauterman, published by Marvel Comics. Okay, I’m not going to go too far into these four thrilling collections other than to say how much I thoroughly enjoyed reading them and to give you the gist of what is going on. Cool? Cool.

First off, I feel it is necessary to beat Marvel up a little bit over their asinine numbering, renumbering, rebooting, renaming quagmire that is the sequencing of their titles. If you could only look at the covers of Thor Vol. 1 and The Mighty Thor Vol. 1, would you have any way of telling which one you needed to read first? I suspect the answer is “no.” Just looking at them, I have no clue which one you should read first, and there is a definite order to these collections that must be followed, but enough griping, here’s the order:
  1. Thor Volume 1: The Goddess of Thunder
  2. Thor Volume 2: Who Holds the Hammer
  3. The Mighty Thor Volume 1: Thunder in Her Veins
  4. The Mighty Thor Volume 2: Lords of Midgard
Now that we got that settled, you might be wondering who is this woman claiming to be Thor? What happened to Thor Odinson, and why is he no longer worthy? Why were nerds so irate over a cool new twist to a comic that needed a little shaking up? Well, discovering who this woman is is part of the mystery of the book, which is part of the allure of the series. As for Thor Odinson…something happened in an event book that I wasn’t really interested in, and I should probably check into what happened sometime just so I know. And the overly vocal nerds…they can 1) shut it, 2) let Aaron and Dauterman tell their compelling as heck story, and 3) rest assured that things will be right back to normal all too soon.

All four books are masterfully written and gorgeously illustrated with appearances by the Destroyer, Ulik the Troll, Odin, Thor Odinson, Malekith, Loki, and everyone else under/above/upon the Bifrost Bridge. Sequences range from humorous to dire and the battles are as epic as a comic about Norse gods should be. The Goddess Thor is an awesome force to be reckoned with and it’s great to see her use her powers in new and exciting ways that Odinson never imagined. Not only that, the issue devoted to the hidden origin of Mjolnir is especially cool.

If you’ve been following Donist World for a while, you will notice that I have not been reading all that many of the mainstream superhero books as of late, but with Aaron and Dauterman’s fantastic take on the new Thunder Goddess in town, The Mighty Thor is a Big Two superhero comic I am more than happy to read. Now, if only I can figure out what the heck the next trade is supposed to be called…


Slice into the Woods

45 and North Korea  - What in the actual fuck?!?! Someone needs to put our imbecile of a traitorous president in prison and quick.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 8/4/2017

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 / working-for-the-weekend puppy Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Now that we’re back from our vacation and my puppy executive team has forgiven me for Tulip’s trip to the vet, we’re once again working to maintain our status as a Fortune 320,000 company. We’re kicking tail and taking names and ever placing orders with the Taco Guy truck which should be swinging by the corporate office (Mom’s basement) any time now. Hopefully, it won't be much longer until our delicious carne asada tacos are once again in our grubby, little paws. Oh, and that salsa…oh boy! Anyhow, while we pace up and down the hall in anticipation of a tasty treat, have a look at our next batch of comics (see the first batch here) that we love so much we can’t help but come back to them again and again. Enjoy. 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***

Books To Read Again and Again and Again

As always, these are in no particular order other than as they come to mind or as I happen to see them on the shelves; they’re all treasures.

The Upturned Stone

If you’ve been following me for a while, then you have certainly heard me mention Scott Hampton’s brilliant hardcover of The Upturned Stone. In fact, you have probably seen me mention this heavenly treasure many, many times — on six additional occasions, but who’s counting. It definitely bears repeating, because it took me a good long while to learn of the existence of this cross between Stand by Me and Ghost Story with a dash of evil thrown into the mix. Each of the 64 pages of this beautifully watercolored graphic novella manages to both charm and haunt the reader while the story sparks memories of the deep friendships you used to have as well as the things that made you lose sleep at night. I read this Donist World Darling every Halloween season while drinking a cinnamon-rimmed pumpkin ale, a tradition I intend to keep for the rest of my days. Now is the time to finally pick this one up, as the new bargain bin price is now $1.50 per copy if you buy direct from Heavy Metal. I think I’ll order a batch of five to give to friends. If you want to read my original thoughts on this book then jump to this 2013 post. This story is not to be missed.


Crud. I guess I’ve been doing this Donist World thing for so long, I completely forgot to go into any sort of detail about one of THE books of the ’80s. I’ll have to remedy that at some point in the future. Anyhow, Miracleman is a book that kind of blew me away back when I was a teen, and it still stands up to the test of time today, but then how could you expect anything different coming from Alan Moore, who soon after stunned the world with his seminal Watchmen series. Miracleman is one of the earliest deconstructions of the superhero and Moore does not hold back. Right from the first issue, you know this is going to be a dark twist to the Marvelman comics of the ’50s, and Moore wastes little time in setting Michael Moran against one of the wickedest villains of all time. One thing I must stress is that you stick around through the third arc, “Olympus,” to see one of the harshest, most vile battles I have ever seen on a comic book page (beautifully illustrated by John Totleben). Neil Gaimen later picked up the reins of the fourth arc and hopefully, after 30 years, Marvel and Gaiman will some day give us a proper conclusion to this monumental series.


Stormwatch is one of my first experiences with writer Warren Ellis and also with any of the Stormwatch characters. He began his run with issue #37 where he quickly killed a character or two, banished one character from Earth, broke up the Stormwatch team sending most of them packing, and reformed what was left into three much smaller teams; things quickly go crazy from there as Henry Bendix, The Weatherman, sends them on startling and bizarre missions to protect the citizens of the world. Ellis also introduces us to one of the weirdest, but one of my favorite characters, Jack Hawksmoor, whose abilities become stronger depending on the size of the city he is in; he is definitely not a country boy. Even better is the character Jenny Sparks, a nearly one-hundred-year-old, chain-smoking, trash-talking woman who barely looks old enough to drink a beer yet who controls all forms of electricity. The first volume went to issue 50 before continuing another 11 issues in the second volume, which leads us to…

The Authority

I remember coming across the second or third issue of Warren Ellis’s amazing The Authority at my LCS and was blown away by Bryan Hitch’s epic, cinematic layouts. I also desperately wanted to know more about the Batman and Superman analogs (Midnighter and Apollo) and the ultra-groovy metal woman (The Engineer). So, after doing a little research, I found out that The Authority is a continuation of Ellis’s Stormwatch where many of the characters were introduced. I rushed out to pick up Ellis’s entire run of Stormwatch so I would be properly prepared for what would become one of my favorite superhero team books of all time. What grabs me the most about this series — besides the thrilling stories and jaw-dropping art — is how these relative strangers with distrust and personal issues begin to grow closer and more like a family as they face threats of massive proportions. If you are looking for an edge-of-your-seat adventure, then look no further than the stunning achievement that is The Authority. Come to think of it, it’s about time for me to take this journey once again. Hey, it’s also a sister book to the heavenly Planetary!

Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War

Ever since I was a wee Donist I have liked Green Lantern. I had a few action figures here or there as well as a few comics, but I wasn’t what you might call a superfan of the character. I, of course, knew who Sinestro was, but that elongated forehead of his was something that made him look a little…well…goofy. Enter Geoff Johns. While the series was coming out, I kept hearing about how great “The Sinestro Corps War” is and what wonders Johns was putting into the series, so I broke down and bought the Green Lantern: Rebirth collection and I immediately became a Hal Jordan fan. I caught up on Johns’s other GL trades and then dove completely into DC’s grand space opera. Not only was there a Green Lantern Corps, but Sinestro had built up his own army to strike fear into every corner of every universe, creating a very real and thoroughly terrifying threat to everyone. Now, this was enough to have me eagerly whipping through the pages to see what would happen next, and the red ring bearers followed by the rest of the spectrum kept me reading for a good, long while. Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War is a heck of a lot of fun, and is something I am preparing to soon tackle once again.

Slice into the Woods

45 and His Cronies  - Still waiting on ALL of the Stupid Watergate players to lose their jobs and go to prison where they belong.