Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 8/18/2017

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/on the mend Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). It wasn’t the best week this week. Between racist morons, four days of migraines, shattering a bowl, forgetting a housing association meeting, not sleeping enough, and Tulip not feeling well (don’t worry, she’s better now) I’m glad it’s finally Friday. But let’s not dwell on the negative, and instead focus on some truly outstanding comics! Also, let’s get amped for some Defenders action on Netflix. Heck, yeah! Anyhow, we’re going for a walk to get some breakfast burritos, the ones stuffed with tater tots. So, as you settle in to watch some Defenders, 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

Mage: The Hero Denied #1

Written and illustrated by Matt Wagner, colors by Brennan Wagner, lettered by Dave Lanphear, consulting editor Diana Schutz, design and production by Steven Birch, published by Image Comics. If I wasn’t so worried about damaging my copy of this comic, I would be luxuriating in a bubble bath with my hair wrapped up in a towel and a fine bourbon gracing my lips as I finished reading what is the actual beginning of Kevin Matchstick’s final journey. What I mean by “actual”—in case you happened to miss it—was the Mage: The Hero Denied #0 issue from last month. This prelude is not critical to following the story, but as a die-hard Mage fan, it was mandatory I procure a copy; come to think of it…you should seek it out.

As a brief refresher, the first issue of the first part of the Mage trilogy, Mage: The Hero Discovered, was released way back in 1984, followed by Mage: The Hero Defined in 1997, and now, after a nearly two-decade hiatus, we finally have this Donist World Darling in our eager, shaking hands. But was it worth the wait? Holy guacamole, yes!

We pick up with Kevin Matchstick years after the events of the second chapter, and much has changed for our hero. He’s married. He has a young son. He has an even younger daughter. He has also become proficient in his mighty powers and perhaps even a bit content. To be honest he might even be…happy. Unfortunately, when you are the Pendragon, the mystical forces of darkness will try to destroy you, and those forces just found Kevin and his family.

I love this issue, Denizens. It was so easy to slip right back into this magical world that so thoroughly enchanted me back in the ’80s, again in the ’90s, and looks to fill me with that same warm thrill today. Seeing Kevin so confident and so strong, so at ease in his own skin is a beautiful touch, but it will not last given Kevin’s antagonist who makes me quite worried for our hero. The fight scene (one of the enemies I will call “Knot-Dingus”) made me gasp in awe at Kevin’s display of power and Wagner’s dialogue kept me transfixed throughout. His art has evolved along with the protagonist, and Brennan Wagner’s colorist skills are tremendous given the importance of color in this tale.

My main disappointment with Mage: The Hero Denied falls squarely on the fact that we now only have 14 issues until this series, which I hold so near and dear to my heart, comes to an end. If you have not read the Mage series, then you simply must start at the beginning with Mage: The Hero Discovered, move onto Mage: The Hero Defined, and THEN jump into this final chapter. No hyperbole, I can’t wait to see what happens next.


Descender #23

Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics. Okay, after the terrible week I’ve had, having such phenomenal new comics to read definitely helped me maintain my sanity. We are full swing into the “Rise of the Robots” event and it does not disappoint. In the last issue, much happened on many different fronts, and most all of it was dire: Dr. Quon took on Tim-22; Andy, Blugger, Queen Between, and Bandit were captured by the UGC, Telsa was drowning, and The Hardwire had Tim-21 in their clutches as they enacted their deadly plan. I’m practically sweating with nervousness just thinking about it all, and this issue definitely does not help as it keeps the pressure on.

I still love this ’80s-style, sci-fi space opera and it seems to only get better the further along we go. I truly care about all the characters in this great series and really can’t call any of them evil now that I know what each one has been through and what drives them; this includes Tim-22. Getting readers to empathize with his characters is one of Lemire’s many talents, and it definitely doesn’t hurt to have Nguyen’s oh-so-lovely watercolors bring them all to life. This is one beautiful book, Denizens, in both written word and painted image.

You’re reading Descender, right? It’s been my favorite comic currently hitting the stands for a couple years now, so please trust me when I say this is a really really really good book. If you are new to the series, then rest at ease, because you can pick up the first four trades today and then double dip on the oversized hardcover, like I will, come December. The world of Descender is one which I hope to be immersed in for a good, long while. Love it!


Southern Bastards #17

Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated and colored by Jason Latour, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics. I’m not really sure what’s happening with the release schedule of this fantastic comic that, hopefully, will one day become a hit television series, but all I know is that it’s been seven months since we got the last issue. So I had no idea what had happened in the past and no idea what I was about to get into.

Then I read the issue.

I’m still a little shaky on some of the newer characters, but one thing I had not forgotten is just how vile a human being Coach Boss and his cronies are. The ending made me cheer and then made me bummed as I dreaded another lengthy delay in the release of this raw, Southern crime story set in a small town (Craw County) where college football brings life its desensitized populace.

Then I saw the letters column…and the reason for the delays. My condolences to Latour for the loss of his father.

As I’ve said before, I don’t care about sports. I find them boring. But Aaron’s riveting story and Latour’s wonderful storytelling and art have made this harsh comic one of the best crime books on the stands. You can catch up on this much-lauded series with the three available trades or the lovely oversized hardcover. Coach Boss has ruined many people’s lives, and it looks like his time of reckoning is at hand, but I’m sure he won’t go off into that good night easily.


Slice into the Woods

45 and His Pals the Nazis and White Supremacists  - How are these idiots still a thing? How can these angry, white men actually believe the shit they are spouting? It makes absolutely no sense to me. Thankfully, there are way more of us than there are of them.


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