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!


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