Saturday, January 27, 2018

Comics Lust 1/27/2018

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/negotiator of normalcy Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Finally, a week that was relatively normal. The 101 freeway opened up again after a two-week closure. I was able to work at my office. No fires. No mudslides. No illnesses. No toxic air. Although, you can’t go swimming because of the high amounts of fecal matter as a result of the mudslides, but it’s winter and I’ll take what I can get. Tulip and Reverse Obie are happy to have taco truck service restored despite my doing a Real Food Challenge which doesn’t allow cheese or corn, which means no tacos for me. I’m just glad to see my puppy executive team happy for once. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health, drink plenty of water (no beer, I’m two weeks into a six-week Real Food Challenge), cherish the ones you love, and read some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks 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.

Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.

Comics Lust

The Scene of the Crime (Part 1)

A comic book genre that took me a long time to work up the interest to dive into was the “true crime” genre. I guess my rationale for the delay was that comics served as a means of escape, a trip to the fantastic through superheroes, dragons, monsters, hand-wringing supervillains, colorful outfits, and barely-there costumes. If I wanted reality, I could turn on the television or step outside my front door and stare in awe at the audacity of the thieves who smashed the back window of my neighbors’ white ‘70s van, crawled into it, exited on the front passenger side, and stole the front passenger-side door…2017 was a weird year. Anyhow, we all know there are literally tons of comics out in the wild, many of which were calling my attention, but certain titles kept coming up and again and again. Okay, I thought, I’ll give this crime comics thing a shot. Good thing the book I settled on was…

Criminal (Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips, now published by Image Comics)
I picked up the first trade of Criminal at a Borders Bookstore (RIP), after the temptation of a burning-a-hole-in-my-pocket gift card coupled with the desire to read something new had become too great; I settled on Criminal: Coward. When I got home, I read the first few pages, and I could not put it down. This first trade follows Leo, the man with the plan. Leo is the go-to-guy if you need to plan a heist, but—and this is a big ‘but’—only if he can be sure the job is void of risks. Unfortunately, for Leo, other criminals are more along the lines of thinking that “The rewards outweigh the risks.” After breezing through the first volume, I immediately went to the second trade, Criminal: Lawless, and began picking up the series as floppies from that point on; I was hooked. Here’s the beauty of the Criminal series: each trade follows a different set of characters and different crimes, and you don’t need to read them in any order…although I would suggest you do, as it’s exciting when characters from previous volumes pop up or are mentioned. Thus far, there are seven volumes of Criminal, each worthy of your attention. Volumes three through seven are as follows: Criminal: The Dead and the Dying, Criminal: Bad Night, Criminal: The Sinners, Criminal: The Last of the Innocent (a masterpiece of a crime comic and the best of an already great series, btw), and Criminal: Wrong Time, Wrong Place. Brubaker’s writing perfectly displays a deep understanding and love of film noir and the pulps, while Phillips’s flawless character acting and storytelling—both vital components of a crime comic—combined with heavy shadows set the mood and make this series THE starting point for those interested in the genre. A warning: you will most likely become hooked like I have.
*Note: Criminal originally started as an Icon/Marvel series, and there are six trades floating around under this publisher. The creators then switched to Image comics where they published the first six volumes, complete with new trade dress, and released two “specials”—available in regular comic size and magazine size!—with those being collected in the seventh volume.

The Fade Out (Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips, published by Image Comics)
One thing I began to figure out years ago, is that despite all the glitz and glamor Hollywood projects on the outside, what it has buried deep on the inside, what it oftentimes tries to sweep under the rug, is something much darker; something troubling. There’s no shortage of deaths, murders, scams, cheats, and abuse in all its myriad forms than when it comes to Hollywood. Brubaker and Phillips draw from that sordid past and craft one of the best Hollywood tales I have ever read. Set in 1948, The Fade Out has it all: a dead starlet who might not have committed suicide, an inconvenient alcohol-induced blackout, a screenwriter with a devastating secret, another screenwriter blacklisted for being a “communist,” a powerful studio mogul and his brutal chief of security, the new starlet, and so much more. Everyone has something to hide, and some are willing to kill to keep their secrets hidden. The Fade Out is a beautiful series in both writing and art as can be expected from these tremendous creators. Haunting and sad with a glimmer of hope—as well as a fair amount of fear and desperation that propels some of the characters—this series is a great follow-up to Criminal or as an equally great starting point for those new to crime comics. Originally a 12-issue series, The Fade Out is available in three trades or a gorgeous hardcover.
*Note: Brubaker has said that, like Criminal, The Fade Out will return with a new story and new characters, with old characters flowing in and out from time to time; I can’t wait.

Gotham Central (Written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka, illustrated by Michael Lark and Brian Hurtt, published by DC Comics)
Now, you might be thinking, Enough with the Brubaker, already, and if that is the case, then that tells me you don’t understand just how strong a hold this creator has as one of the top crime comic book writers in the industry—don’t even get me started on his spy/soldier works. But before Criminal and before The Fade Out, Brubaker teamed with spy/international intrigue novelist and comic book creator Greg Rucka on the amazing Gotham Central. Given the popularity of the television franchises NYPD Blue and Law & Order, these creators decided to tell their own police drama, with one writer handling the day shift detectives and the other the night shift detectives. The exceptionally cool thing about this idea is that it takes place in Gotham City, home of the Batman. The even better thing is that Batman rarely even appears in this book, leaving the series to focus on the police and detectives who attempt to stop Gotham criminals and supervillains alike, while shining the light on crooked cops and those attempting to climb to the top with little regard for who they step on. Gotham Central shows what happens behind the scenes of a city plagued by supervillains and how normal men and women try to keep Gotham’s citizens safe. It is also one of the best things DC Comics has ever published, which is saying something.

Southern Bastards (Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Jason Latour, published by Image Comics)
This is a series about crime and college football. It’s a story of legacy, corruption, people reaching their breaking point, and of those who’ve become numb to it all. Did I mention it involves football? A sport I loathe for countless reasons? Even though this series heavily involves a college football team coached by the diabolically wicked Coach Boss, it is a massively addictive read. I’m not going to spoil the first chapter shocker that I in no way saw coming and which left me stunned for days afterward, but I will say that the creators succeed in making one of the vilest characters I have ever read in a comic. The crazy thing is that despite how much you hate this Coach Boss, they at one point manage to get you to sympathize with this monster at least for a moment. Coercion, drugs, violence, revenge, complicity, and cruelty rule Southern Bastards, and because of this we have a handful of characters looking to set things right and the reader desperately wanting to see Coach Boss finally get what’s coming to him; unfortunately, these “good guys” might not be all that willing to work together. This series is already slated to become a television show, so jump in now with the three available trades (a fourth in February 2018), or the lovely hardcover of the first two trades.

Somerset Holmes (Scripted by Bruce Jones, co-plotted by April Campbell, co-plotted and illustrated by Brent Anderson, published by Pacific Comics then Eclipse Comics)
Of course, I had to hit you with one that you’re going to have to do some digging in the bargain bins in order to read, but trust me, it’ll be worth it. When a woman awakens on the side of the road with no idea of where she is or who she is, her life becomes infinitely worse when a helpful doctor she meets is murdered. Shortly after, a disturbing telephone call sends the woman on the run with little more than a mysterious key and her temporary name of Somerset Holmes to aid her on her quest to find her missing identity while avoiding those seeking to do her harm. Holy moly, it has been a while since I read this series and I now need to reread it more than ever. A true gem from the ‘80s and one that is captivating whether you are specifically looking for a crime comic or just want something good to read. Beautiful art that’s indicative of the time with the flat colors I love so much, and an amazing story—I need to give Jones his own section someday—will make Somerset Holmes a comic well worth seeking out whether you buy the six floppies or the possibly more elusive trade.

Trust me, Denizens. I am well aware that I omitted a powerhouse writer/artist from this list, but I figure he will headline when we get to “The Scene of the Crime (Part 2)” at some point this year. Meanwhile, you have PLENTY to keep you busy for a good, long while.

This Week’s Reading List

Doomsday Clock #3 (Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Gary Frank, colored by Brad Anderson, lettered by Rob Leigh, back matter design by Amie Brockway-Metcalf, published by DC Comics)
I am 100% in on this Watchmen sequel. One character returns to dish out some revenge, one character betrays another, and the couple that slays together stays together in this, dare I say, fantastic event comic. Trust me, I had my doubts, too, Denizens, but then I read the first issue. Also, the Mime and the Marionette are probably my favorite new villains of the past decade. You need to be reading this.

Southern Bastards #19 (Written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Jason Latour, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, edited by Sebastian Girner, published by Image Comics)
Coach Boss continues his rampage and will stop at nothing to get his Running Rebs college football team the win Craw County so desperately wants. Unfortunately, those he’s wronged care less about football and more about getting revenge for past grievances. Releases of this phenomenal crime comic (see “The Scene of the Crime” above) might have been spotty over the past year, but every time I start to think of switching to trades, a new issue comes out that reminds me that enduring the wait for a trade is just too painful of a prospect to consider.

Black Science #34 (Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Matteo Scalera, colored by Moreno Dinisio, published by Image Comics)
Ignore the $4.99 cover and rest comfortably knowing that this concluding chapter is double-sized and every bit worth the increased price tag. Grant McKay and his family are scattered and shattered as the world faces a giant millipede death cult, invading ghosts, a mighty witch, and a betrayal that spans the many worlds of the onion. With doom falling from every direction, it honestly can’t get any worse for our heroes, and all I will say is that the wait for the next chapter is going to be a rough one indeed.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Comics Lust 1/20/2018

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/consultant of chill Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister).Okay, I just lost the first 30 minutes of writing this post, so here we go again… It’s been a crazy frantic work week this week, which has predominantly been done from my home, as the 101 Freeway was again shut down because of the mudslide that devastated Montecito nearly two weeks ago. At least I was able to join some of my coworkers at a Santa Barbara meeting space to give myself some semblance of normalcy, but still…it’s been a rough time for everyone. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health, drink plenty of water (no beer, I’m doing a Real Food Challenge for six weeks), cherish the ones you love, and read some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks 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.

Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.

Comics Lust

Team Me Up, Donnie!

Non-Big-Two Superhero Team Comics!

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone unfamiliar with at least one of the many Big Two superhero teams floating around out there. Especially given the huge success of such properties as The Avengers, The Justice League, The X-Men, The Defenders, and many others on both the home and silver screens. But ask even diehard comic book fans to name their favorite non-Big-Two superhero teams and you might just get a blank stare in return. Why limit yourself to just the Big Two when you might be missing out on your next favorite series? Let’s have a look.

Black Hammer (Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dean Ormston with some issues by David Rubin, colored by Dave Stewart, published by Dark Horse)
Black Hammer is the story of seven heroes who defeat a universe-crushing threat only to find themselves hurled to an unknown, rural location where they have been trapped for ten long years. Now down to six members after one dies, the survivors have tried to find a way to escape the confines of their small town, but to no avail. Some find comfort in a life devoid of superheroics, others find their altered powers a curse, others seek love, while others seek isolation in this tale that is a mystery, a family drama, a horror piece, and a sci-fi epic all rolled into a superhero book. Lemire is one of my favorite writers (Descender, Royal City, Sweet Tooth, Essex County, Old Man Logan, and many more) and Black Hammer is definitely one of my top five favorite comic series on the stand. Ormston’s character designs are captivating and unique even when the characters are amalgams of the creators’ favorite Big Two superheroes; his storytelling is equally beautiful. Having just reread the first amazing volume and hammering through the second over the course of two days, I’m already eager to reread both to see if I happened to miss anything, or if there are potential clues I might have missed. Trust me when I say you will fall in love with these complicated, traumatized characters as you get drawn into the mystery of what is preventing them from escaping this dark town. Now, I have to count the days until the Black Hammer miniseries spin-off, Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil, arrives this May.

Stormwatch (Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Tom Raney and Bryan Hitch, published by Wildstorm)
I know some of you are thinking that Wildstorm is an imprint of DC Comics, and you are right, sort of. Wildstorm was created by Jim Lee in 1992 but was then bought by DC Comics in 1999, shuttered in 2010, and restarted in 2016. Stormwatch began in 1993, so it was not a Big Two book at the time of its creation or by the time it ended. I was drawn to this series because of Warren Ellis and even though the first trade picked up at issue 37, I took a chance and was glad I did. You don’t need to read the first 36 issues (unless you want to bargain bin dive for the individual issues) as Ellis takes the massive backstory with its impressive roster of characters, and strips Stormwatch into three smaller teams to focus on a completely new story and summarily fires all of the other characters; all within the very first issue. He also introduces three new characters: Jack Hawksmoor, Jenny Sparks, and Rose Tattoo. There’s murder, intrigue, strange science, superhero battles, politics, betrayal, camaraderie, and kickass superhero antics. Best of all, the series later introduces Apollo and The Midnighter for one of my favorite superhero team books of all time. If you want a thrilling comic with great characters, then look no further than this series I reread every couple of years. Once you finish Stormwatch, however, you will want to follow up with…

The Authority (Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Bryan Hitch, published by Wildstorm)
The Authority leaps straight from the end of Stormwatch V.2 #11 and manages to surpass what was already a brilliant series. Here, Ellis teams with “widescreen” artist extraordinaire Hitch to create a new team with some old and some new characters: Jenny Sparks (The Spirit of the 20th Century), is the leader of the team with electrical powers; The Midnighter (Nights Bringer of War) is partly a Batman analogue; Apollo (The Sun God) is partly a Superman analog; Swift (The Winged Huntress) whose title says it all; Jack Hawksmoor (The God of the Cities) has weird city-size related powers and alien implants; The Doctor (The Shaman) is an Earth mage; The Engineer (The Maker) has nano machinery in her blood that she uses to do magnificent things. This team exists to protect the planet from worldwide threats from superhuman global terrorists, to invaders from a parallel world, to an invading “God.” I love every page of this gorgeously illustrated, spectacularly told superhero story that puts you squarely on the side of these beautifully fleshed-out characters. Dang. I think it’s time for a reread.

Elementals (Everythinged by Bill Willingham with many later artists and later writers, published by Comico)
Okay. I know. I hate to do this to you, but many people don’t know of this fantastic series that started back in 1984, and that is mostly because there are no readily available trades or reprints because of the series’s complicated rights issues; basically, Willingham does not own the rights and the owner refuses to do anything with them. Fans of Willingham’s writing on the hit series Fables may not be aware that Willingham is also an accomplished illustrator and it was his art on Elementals that initially brought me to the series, but it was the story and characters that sucked me in. Elementals is comprised of four humans who died horribly in tragic fire, water, air, or earth related accidents only to find themselves resurrected with the abilities of the very element that caused their demise. They join together to fight the centuries-old Lord Saker, a sorcerer of immense power, who has created a devastating weapon that harnesses the elements and which prompted the creation of the Elementals (Morningstar, Vortex, Fathom, and Monolith). The series ran from Volume 1 (#1–29), Special (#1–2), Volume 2 (#1–26), Elementals: Ghost of a Chance #1, Volume 3 (#1–3, which I have not read), Elementals: How the War was Won #1–2. In addition to this impressive run, there are a bunch of solo miniseries adventures, Justice Machine Featuring the Elementals #1–4, Sex Specials (don’t ask…or check these V.1 #1–4, V.2 #1, V.3 #1–2), a Lingerie Special, a Sexy Lingerie Special, and a Swimsuit Spectacular. Whew! What’s most important is the main story, and although Willingham was only writer up until issue #22 of volume 2, it is still worth reading through to the end. Again, this ain’t gonna be an easy series to get ahold of, but it is one that is well worth some bargain bin diving…or taking the easy route and ordering online.

There are plenty of other non-Big Two superhero team comics out there that are worthy of your time, but those are for another day.

This Week’s Reading List

Mage: The Hero Denied #5 (Written and illustrated by Matt Wagner, colored by Brennan Wagner, lettered by Dave Lanphear, published by Image Comics)
First off, I have to admit being a little lost after the flashback at the beginning of this issue, but I guess our hero made it back safe and sound. What follows is some wonderful family dynamic moments, a check-in with the baddies of the series, a visit from an old friend bearing news I did not want to hear, and an appearance by an even older friend that gave me chills of delight. Despite the slight confusion at the beginning, I’m still loving Mage: The Hero Denied and eagerly await seeing what is to come next. As always, though, don’t start here. Go back and read Mage: The Hero Discovered and then Mage: The Hero Defined before jumping in on the concluding chapter in this monumental trilogy. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

I read some other awesome stuff, but I will wait until I finish those collections before diving in. I will say that one is old Bronze Age Marvel goodness and the other is my second leap into the Valiant universe and I will say it has been glorious!


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Comics Lust 1/13/2018

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/distraught by disaster Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Remember last week how I said, “Well, it’s been a long month after losing my grandma, ending a position at my company, starting a new position at my company, having two harrowing weeks with the Thomas Fire, dealing with the holidays, and now dealing with a knock-down, drag-out cold.”? Things have not gotten better. This week, Santa Barbara County suffered yet another disaster, this time in Montecito where deadly flooding and mudslides have killed and displaced many people, destroyed homes and businesses, and indefinitely shut downn the 101 freeway. I know people who woke in the middle of the night and had to immediately evacuate to safety, people I work with have lost loved ones and have damaged homes, Neither I or my Santa Barbara-based coworkers can get to work, and businesses already struggling after the December fires are once again losing business all around Santa Barbara. Honestly, it has been fucking awful. But we will get through this. Anyhow, be kind to each other, mind your health, drink plenty of water before enjoying that beer, cherish the ones you love, and read some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks 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.

Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.

Comics Lust

Comics Worth Rereading

The wonderful thing about comics is that there are so many I completely, wholeheartedly love. There are certain series that I read over and over again throughout the years to where it has become somewhat of a ritual (The Micronauts, Preacher, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run, Jim Starlin’s Adam Warlock and Thanos material). However, having a love of comics means there’s always something new, something that you hear is amazing and worthy of your time and dollars, vying for your attention every bit as much as the most treasured books in your collection. But then you look at your bookshelf or come across some issues from a fairly recent comic that somehow slipped your mind and you know you MUST reread them again as soon as possible. That’s what we’re looking at today: The comics I have not read for quite some time that are beckoning me to immerse myself in their rich realms once again.

Fear Agent (Written by Rick Remender, predominately illustrated by Tony Moore and Jerome Opeña, published by Dark Horse Comics)
Back when Fear Agent was first being released, I kept hearing and reading rave reviews for this weird, sci-fi, adventure series; I ignored them for over a year. The praise just kept on coming, and one fateful day, with a $20 Borders gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket, I said, “Fine. I’ll give this Fear Agent thing a shot.” I’m so glad I did. Having a definite beginning, middle, and end, the creators were able to tell their story exactly how they wanted to tell it. Fear Agent is about the last member of an intergalactic peacekeeping group who calls themselves Fear Agents, Heath Huston, whose life changed the day warring alien species chose to make Earth their battleground. Now, having lost everything, Heath balances killing himself slowly via the bottle and getting justice against the alien hordes that decimated his planet be they space amoebas, reptilian conquerors, or ruthless robots. Fear Agent is fun, touching, thrilling, and devastating all at once as it merges war, sci-fi, and horror comics all into one amazing package. Remender’s story is phenomenal and Moore and Opeña’s art is both a gorgeous homage to pulp sci-fi and a gold standard to which many comics hold themselves to today. I am dying to jump back in on this amazing tale. Trades and two oversized hardcovers are readily available. Get it now!

Locke & Key (Written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, published by IDW)
This was another series that I resisted buying despite the heaps of praise circulating about. So, the day I saw the first issue was available free digitally, I downloaded the comic. And there it sat for months. I eventually got around to reading it and ordered the first hardcover shortly thereafter. I was blown away by the mix of horror, family drama, and supernatural mystery in this beautifully illustrated and impeccably told tale about the horror that follows a family—three children and their mother—devastated by the grisly murder of the father/husband. Deciding to heal by retreating across the country to their remote family estate, one of the Locke family discovers a key that unlocks a bizarre power along with a malign spirit bent on completing a diabolical mission. I immediately ordered the next two volumes, and then was forced to endure the painful wait between hardcover releases until the day the sixth and final volume, “Alpha & Omega,” arrived. Locke & Key greatly surpassed all of my expectations as I cringed, smiled, laughed, worried, cried, feared, and rejoiced throughout this marvelous series. I have since listened to the audiobook version (different, for sure, but fans should check it out) and I am beyond excited for the television release from HULU.

Descender (Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, published by Image Comics)
Not all comics on this list have long since wrapped. In fact, Descender is very much still being published and continues to be my favorite comic book hitting the stands. Lemire and Nguyen’s compelling space opera oftentimes seems as if it were written specifically for me: lovely, ethereal watercolored art; a ’80s sci-fi vibe; aliens and robots abound; a heartfelt, character-rich, complex story. Descender sets the stage with the robot culls that happen after nine immense robots appear out of nowhere to devastate all nine planets that make up the United Galactic Council. The story follows one boy robot, TIM-21, who awakens after ten years of being offline to an extremely different universe. I absolutely love this series, and now that the fifth chapter, “Rise of the Robots,” has finished, I am biting my nails in anticipation for what comes next. You can easily find the five available trades, or you can pick up the recently released hardcover which I opted not to buy because it is standard size and has no bonus material at all, but it will give you three trades in one collection. Regardless of how you read this great series, just make sure you do!

Runaways (Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Adrian Alphona, published by Marvel Comics)
I picked up the hardcover of the first 18 issues on a whim a while ago and loved what I read; it has a been a good long while since that day. Fast forward to 2017 where Amy and I are watching the first episode of HULU’s Runaways television show, and it all came rushing back just how much I enjoyed the comic book series. I also realized there’s a ton of stuff I don’t remember and I now want to compare the book to the show—we just watched the awesome season finale—and see how it differs. What’s it about? Basically, being a teenager ain’t easy, especially when the bad guys we all make our parents out to be is 100% true. This motley group of childhood friends—some with strange abilities, some with powerful tech gizmos, one with a pet dinosaur—uncover some of what their parents have been secretly doing, and are forced to run for their lives. If you love the television show as much as we do, then you definitely need to check in with the comic book series from which it was inspired.

Ex Machina (Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Tony Harris and others, published by DC Comics)
What do you know? Another comic written by BKV! But given all the amazing comics Vaughan has written throughout the years, it’s not all that surprising. Mitchell Hundred, mayor of New York City, was once the world’s first superhero, but it is a life he desperately tries to leave behind after realizing the amount of sacrifice required brings almost no reward. But try as he might, Mayor Hundred and his ability to talk with all forms of machines and electronics keep being forced to deal with those who want him to return to superheroics, while others with mysterious abilities make their presence known. I remember loving this series with every trade that came out, but for the life of me, I can remember very little about this comic I enjoyed from back in the day. Ex Machina will most likely lead me back to Vaughan’s Y the Last Man, which I begrudgingly left off this list, before the end of the year as well.

Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War (Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by many, published by DC Comics)
After mentioning this powerful comic book event last week as one of my “Top Ten Comics for a Deserted Island,” I really fanned the flames of fandom and now need to experience this marvelous epic all over again. This storyline sees the yellow lantern Sinestro tapping into the power of fear and creating his own corps of yellow lanterns to sew fear and transform the universe into Sinestro’s idealized vision. It is a ruthless war/space opera tale that spans many galaxies, with stakes so high, I often felt like putting the book down and doing some stress-relieving jumping jacks before diving back in. I can’t wait to revisit Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War, but I also don’t want to stop there. I fully intend to carry on to the Red and Orange lantern storylines and on through to Blackest Night, which I remember as being somewhat of a letdown, but I’m curious to see what I think after reading it with fresh eyes. The beginning of this journey, however, is definitely solid gold.

This Week’s Reading List

Mister Miracle #6 (Written by Tom King, illustrated by Mitch Gerads, lettered by Clayton Cowles, published by DC Comics)
I’m still not sure who or what is messing with Mister Miracle, but I AM sure that I totally love this 12-issue miniseries thus far. This issue utilizes a nine-panel grid from beginning to end and simultaneously shows what total badasses Mister Miracle and Big Barda are while accurately depicting a (painfully) honest husband and wife conversation over “redoing” the house. For most of the issue, I was chuckling along with the spousal banter with periodic moments of my god, Mister Miracle just cleaved that guy in half, and Barda just annihilated that other dude. The reasoning behind their conversation took me by surprise, but not as much as the final-page reveal. Issue seven needs to get here ASAP. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batman Vol. 4: The War of Jokes and Riddles (Written by Tom King, illustrated by Mikel Janín, published by DC Comics)
We might as well stay on the Tom King love train, as I finally read this captivating storyline about what happens when the Joker and the Riddler go to war and the impact on everyone caught in the crosshairs. The story shows how ruthless and cunning each criminal can be, as well as how determined the Batman is as stopping them. The issue about Kiteman is hands down my favorite and…let’s just say you won’t believe what a raw deal this poor d-level criminal bastard receives—man, I still feel bad for the guy. Trust me when I say this isn’t just King’s best Batman tale (thus far!), but one of my favorite Batman tales period. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Comics Lust 1/6/2018

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/chicken soup sous-chef Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Well, it’s been a long month after losing my grandma, ending a position at my company, starting a new position at my company, having two harrowing weeks with the Thomas Fire, dealing with the holidays, and now dealing with a knock-down, drag-out cold. Let’s just say that we at Donist World are ready to see some good times roll for a change. Anyhow, mind your health, drink plenty of water before enjoying that beer, cherish the ones you love, and read some great comics. Thank you for reading!

*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks 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.

Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.

Comics Lust

Top Ten Comics for a Deserted Island

I ain’t gonna lie denizens, this brutal cold has me feeling quite a bit brain broke, so I’m going to…borrow…a recent idea from my favorite comic book podcast, 11 O’Clock Comics. Today, I’m going to list the top ten books I would want with me were I to be stranded on a deserted island. Now, there are some rules that I have to adhere to, namely nine of these books have to be collected editions that have been offered or will be offered in the near future. For the tenth spot, I can have a custom omnibus collection of the series of my choosing; I actually own just such a custom bound series, but we’ll get to that towards the end. For now, in no particular order, the ten books I would need to keep me entertained for a good, long while.

1) Mage: The Hero Discovered (Everythinged by Matt Wagner, published by Image Comics)
There were a ton of titles that thrilled and wowed me back in the ’80s, books that are part of the most revered period of comics history. But even with such a wealth of material, if I had to choose one to accompany me to my deserted island, it would have to be Matt Wagner’s Mage: The Hero Discovered. 15 issues in length, and revitalizing a mythical character in the form of Kevin Matchstick, Mage kept me desperate for each subsequent issue and never let me down despite breaking my heart on more than one ocassion—dang, I love those characters—all the while reminding me of the hero who dwells in us all. The third and final chapter of this fantastic trilogy is currently being released.

2) Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume (Everythinged by Jeff Smith, published by Cartoon Books)
I’ve mentioned before that I suggested a friend have his son read the incredible Bone collection…he heard my suggestion as me giving him my copy. That’s cool, though, his son loved the series and probably read this hefty collection until the pages fell out. Still, I need a replacement copy so I can bring this fun, all-ages, fantasy-adventure comic along for my long period of isolation. Cartoony, whimsical, and fun, this oh-so-gorgeous series also held some gravitas and danger. Bone has been on my mind for quite some time now and looks like I need a replacement copy asap. Bones, and dragons, and rat things, oh my!

3) Age of Apocalypse Omnibus (Written and illustrated by a bunch of people, like Mark Waid and Scott Lobdell, published by Marvel Comics)
At over 1000 pages, you might have to have a spotter to help your heft this beast of a book. One thing I love about the immensely successful Age of Apocalypse event is that it broke away from the painfully complex continuity of the X-titles and created its own alternate universe free of the constraints of decades of stories. At the time the issues were coming out, I had not touched anything X-Men related in years, but because of the many recognizable characters, as well as plenty of intriguing new ones, and a new world, I gave most of the revamped series a chance, and I’m so glad I did. The entire event has a beginning, middle, and end, and although I had no idea of what led up to this event, I was able to follow along just fine. Oh, and for the record, I LOVE the new Sunfire design.

4) Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga (Written by Paul Levitz, illustrated by Keith Giffen, published by DC Comics)
Oh, how my brother and loved this storyline. Oh, how we still do. Jeff and I were already huge Legion of Super-Heroes fans, with its massive roster of cool good guys and bad guys, but when you bring Darkseid and his genetically altered clones into the mix…we had struck comic book gold. The cool thing about this volume is that it contains the issues leading up to the arrival of the first minion, which were issues we had somehow missed the first time around. It also contains all of the glorious issues we did have, the ones that have practically disintegrated from hundreds of rereads. It’s the Legion’s darkest hour, and It’s one of the brightest spots on my favorite bookshelf, as this treasure more than stands up to the test of time. Not bragging—which means I’m about to brag—but my copy is signed by Mr. Levitz, as well, and will some distant year join me in my tomb.

5) Planetary Omnibus (Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by John Cassaday, published by DC Comics)
Dang. I knew I had to put either Planetary or The Authority on this list, and given that Ellis and Cassaday’s Planetary is the longer of the two—27 issues versus 12 issues—I was able to make the difficult choice. The fact that the end of Planetary is so touching that it brings me to the verge of tears with every single reread also doesn’t hurt. Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner, The Drummer, and Ambrose Chase are all some of my favorite comic book characters because of this masterfully told and illustrated love letter to pop culture; there’s no way I’d leave home without it. My only gripe is that this supposed omnibus doesn’t also collect the Planetary/Batman standalone tale, but whatchagonnado. ( can, however, get the recently released Planetary: Book One trade and then the Planetary: Book Two trade in March, and you’ll have the whole kit and kaboodle for cheaper.)

6) Swamp Thing: The Bronze Age Omnibus Vol. 1 (Most notably written by Len Wein, most notably illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, published by DC Comics)
Since starting “Comics Lust” I’ve mentioned that Wein and Wrightson’s Swamp Thing is what made me fall in love with comic books. I could not go without this treasure. Not only does it contain all of the material they created together, it also contains the stuff that came after Wrightson left the series (which I have sadly not yet read), as well as The Saga of the Swamp Thing material before Alan Moore came aboard (which I have read and definitely love). One of my all-time-favorite characters as created by two of my all-time-favorite creators, my life would be lessened were I not to have this 724-page beauty by my side.

7) Guardians of the Galaxy: Solo Classics Omnibus (Created by many people with Jim Starlin being my personal hero, published by Marvel Comics)
I was close to putting Jim Starlin’s Infinity Gauntlet on the list, but even though I love that storyline, Starlin’s early work on Adam Warlock and Thanos won out in the end. I LOVE that stuff, but when you wrap that treasured material In a monster burrito of content containing the likes of Groot, Gamora, Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, Drax the Destroyer, and many of the mainstream heroes we know and love, there’s plenty to be happy about with this 1100+ page beast. What’s even better about this collection is that I haven’t read a bunch of it, so with the sun at my head and the surf at my toes, I will have something new to while away the time.

8) Fourth World by Jack Kirby Omnibus (Everythinged by Jack Kirby, published by DC Comics)
Speaking of stuff I haven’t read before…I’ve actually only read some of the New Gods material, and have not read a single issue of Mister Miracle or The Forever People, so this 1500-page behemoth would be a welcome addition to my deserted island or to the comfort of my home. I love Darkseid from the Legion books and for being a menace to the DCU in general, while Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Orion, and the rest have all appeared in so many titles throughout the years that they are practically family. Unread comics: check. Jack Kirby material: check. Cool characters I dig: Check. Now that I’m on the subject, I really want this ultra-groovy tome.

9) Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Vol. 1 (Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by many, published by DC Comics)
I really enjoyed Johns’s run on Green Lantern: Rebirth, but his “The Sinestro Corps War” storyline is one of the best DC events…ever. Why should the Green Lanterns be the only ones with rings of power? Why is Sinestro the only one with a yellow ring? Are there rings that harness the power of the other colors in the spectrum? Well, this beautiful collection answers all those questions and more and succeeded in turning this Donist from someone who always liked the character into a Green Lantern fan. Dang, I really need to reread this run and I will probably continue on to the material that can be found in the Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Vol. 2 collection.

10) The Micronauts (Written by Bill Mantlo; illustrated by Michael Golden, Pat Broderick, Butch Guice, and others; published by Marvel Comics)
Here is my cheat book. Many years back, I took my treasured collection of The Micronauts and had them library bound into a three-volume collection. As I mention often to anyone who will listen, this is the series that made me a comic book collector: I love it with all my heart. For this deserted island, I would want one collection to rule them all of the Mantlo penned issues, including the four-issue miniseries of The X-Men and the Micronauts. I also painfully realize that because of the nightmarish licensing purgatory that is The Micronauts property, it will be a while before we see any sort of legit collection or omnibus of this Donist World Darling of a series. The Micronauts…don’t get stranded on a deserted island without it.

What’s your “Top Ten Comics for a Deserted Island” list?

This Week’s Reading List

Doomsday Clock #2 (Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Gary Frank, colored by Brad Anderson, lettered by Rob Leigh, published by DC Comics)
Oh, my gosh! I am LOVING Doomsday Clock. I had completely written off any attempt at a sequel to Watchmen, but Johns and Frank have not only accomplished the impossible task of following up a masterpiece, they are also merging two comic book worlds into one! I love the new villains of Marionette and the Mime, and this issue (again) knocks it out of the park with both the story and the art. You need to be reading this. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

X-Men: Grand Design #2 (Everythinged by Ed Piskor, published by Marvel Comics)
I freaked out about the first issue, and I am freaking out about this second issue as well. Again, Piskor flawlessly takes the quagmire that is the X-Men’s continuity and focuses it into an enjoyable, coherent, and accessible story. The art and production are beyond gorgeous in this double-sized, must-own treasure. I can’t wait for the summer when the next chapter is set to arrive. Come late March, Marvel will be releasing a collection of these two issues, which I fully intend to pickup…I'm just hoping it ends up being oversized despite what the specs currently say. This is must-own material in every form that sees release. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 (Written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Mike Feehan, inked by Mark Morales, colored by Paul Mounts, lettered by Dave Sharpe, published by DC Comics)
I love Russell’s Prez. I love Russell’s The Flintstones. If this impressive first issue is any indication of what is to come, then it’s safe to say I will love Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles as well. Set in the ’50s, Snagglepuss is a closeted gay playwright about to become the target of a “Subversives” hunt. At one issue in, this comic is a historical, satirical look at the base elements of McCarthyism, while taking a shot or two at the stupidity of today’s toxic political climate. Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles is one you best grab right away. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!