Sunday, July 22, 2018

Comics Lust 7/21/2018

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/belly flop specialist Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Greetings, Denizens. I am so grateful it’s the weekend and that the weather has been fairly cool thus ain’t gonna last. My puppy executive team and I are loading up on lime popsicles and we’re scrounging as much mint as we can so we can make a fuel-tanker-sized batch of iced tea to help get us through the next week...or longer...gulp. Anyhow, keep cool—the heat returns here tomorrow, ugh—be kind to each other, mind your health, keep your pets safe, cherish the ones you love, hydrate, 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.

***Possible Spoilers Below***

Comics Lust

Comics by the Poolside (Part 1)

Summer is here. Or you’re on a non-summer vacation. You finally have some time to yourself where you have no commitments and you had the foresight to turn off your phone’s ringer and you’ve taken a vow of abstinence from the horrid social media. You might have an immense swimming pool just feet from your toes, or maybe you have one of those plastic kiddie pools filled via the garden hose, or maybe you’re on the deck where no one can bother you. You have iced tea/water/beer/coffee close at hand or you’re lucky enough to have a high-falutin’, fancy-pants margarita. You aren’t being chill, you define chill. You reach down and pull out a brand-spankin’ new comic; just be sure there’s no sunblock on your hands and your swimsuit is dry enough to not get your comics wet. With your nirvana skill unlocked you can finally slip into some fantastic new worlds.

These are the poolside comics that brought me to that heavenly state…

Thanos: Thanos Wins

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Geoff Shaw, colored by Antonio Fabela, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, trade published by Marvel Comics in 2018)
I’m overly critical of any writer who tries to tackle the Mad Titan Thanos who isn’t Jim Starlin. There are a few who’ve done right by the character—Hickman, Abnett and Lanning, Lemire—but Starlin still reigns supreme. This Cates cat, though...dang...he has written the best non-Starlin Thanos I have ever read. Not only does he give us the Death-obsessed demigod and the tragedy and destruction that readers expect to see follow in Thanos’s wake, but we also get intense action, thrills, and the occasional bits of humor. We are even introduced to a new character, the Cosmic Ghost Rider—now in his own killer, five-issue miniseries!—whose origin is sure to throw you for a loop and I’m not about to spoil it for you. Thanos faces some startling adversaries and his throne…let’s just say I gulped audibly once I figured out what it was. The story is gorgeously brought to life by Shaw’s intricate art and compelling storytelling and his character design on the Cosmic Ghost Rider has to be seen to be believed. Even the coloring takes this book to the next level with a vibrant palette that contrasts nicely with the dark subject matter. This is what happens when a madman gets everything he desires. This is what happens when Thanos wins. You definitely need a dip in the pool after reading this fantastic series. You don’t need to read what came before to follow this trade, which collects issues #13–18 and Annual #1.

Space Mullet!

(Everythinged by Daniel Warren Johnson, trade published by Dark Horse Comics in 2016)
I was first introduced to Daniel Warren Johnson through the must-own, must-read, please-Image-release-an-oversized-director’s-cut hardcover collection of Extremity series, and immediately after ordered the cosmic-ass-kickin’ Space Mullet! Oh, my dawg! I love this series and I’m floored that although this is one of his earlier works, it is every bit as intricately plotted and gorgeously illustrated as that of a seasoned pro with many decades in the comics world. At its bare bones, Space Mullet! starts with the story of ex-Space Marine Jonah and his alien partner Alphius roaming the spaceways trying to scrounge up some sort of living and all too often coming up short. Jonah has a dark past that haunts and shames him, but through an ever-expanding roster of characters, he might just find a crew that gives him purpose. Part Firefly, part Akira, all space opera comic goodness, Space Mullet! satisfies everything I want in a sci-fi comic. It was originally released as a webcomic, partially collected by Dark Horse, and there’s much more to read online that has not yet been collected, I really hope to see more than just a couple more trades of this grand epic everyone needs to read. Oh, looks like my margarita needs a little refresh.

Doctor Strange: God of Magic

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta with some art by Niko Henrichon, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, trade published by Marvel Comics in 2018)
Collecting Doctor Strange #381–385 and yet another comic that grabbed my attention because of Cates and the one-two knockout punch of Walta—who illustrated the critically acclaimed The Vision—there was no way I could pass this up. Why is Loki now the Sorcerer Supreme? What the heck is Doctor Stephen Strange doing as a veterinarian? What is this battle he supposedly lost? Thor shows up briefly and a mystery hero appears to fight a grand enemy?! Why is the Sanctum Sanctorum floating twenty feet above the street? I honestly wasn’t sure, and that’s fine. Cates does a fine job of filling in just enough gaps as to what came before to keep you immersed in his tale as well as desperate to see what happens next. I haven’t read Doctor Strange in…well…hmmm…forever, and this series had me madly hitting the “spend my money” button to get the just-released Doctor Strange: Damnation - The Complete Collection which I have at the ready for my next personal pool party. Well, looky there, Marvel’s pulled me back in with the magic of Doctor Strange. Oh, I should get in the shade for a bit.

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated and lettered and colored by David Rubín, flats by Kike J. Díaz, trade published by Dark Horse in 2018)
Lemire is the writer of my favorite book on the stands Descender among a host of other books. One such book is the phenomenal Black Hammer series which I should have been buying in floppies but did not pick up until the first trade came out; it was the best new-to-me series of 2017. Black Hammer is a love-letter to the bronze/silver age superhero comics of old with amalgams of Marvel and DC’s most famous heroes. It’s also a horror/mystery comic with heavy elements of sci-fi that everyone must read. But, Donist, why are you talking about Black Hammer, when this is about something called Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil? Simple, Denizens, Sherlock Frankenstein was once the greatest foe of Spiral City’s heroes, but since the heroes vanished after defeating Earth’s greatest threat, Sherlock Frankenstein has also vanished. The Black Hammer’s daughter, Lucy Weber, now ten years older and a journalist, believes her father and the other heroes are still alive, and if she is to find him, only the brilliant mind of a terrible villain looks to provide the answers to bringing them home. Okay, you don’t need to have read Black Hammer before reading this heavenly book, but it most certainly helps. If this story was illustrated with stick figures I would probably still recommend it, it’s that strong, but when you add Rubín on art you should probably run to your LCS to secure a copy. So very, very good and almost made me cry...dang that Jeff Lemire. I need some more poolside snacks: taquitos it is.

Ether: Death of the Golden Blaze

(Written by Matt Kindt, illustrated by David Rubin, trade published by Dark Horse in 2017)
Well whatdoyouknow, another glorious comic illustrated by the immensely talented Rubín. Hey, and check that out, written by frequent Lemire collaborator Kindt. There was no way I would not like this, I just wasn’t ready for how much I loved it. Ether is the story of obsessed scientist and explorer, Boone Dias, who discovers a doorway to a fantastical world of strange beings and mysterious magic. The only problem: Boone doesn’t believe in magic and seeks to prove anything described as such can be explained away through science. But when the denizens of this bizarre world hire Boone to solve the murder of the Blaze, protector of the Ether, his disbelief in magic is put to the test as his grasp on his own reality begins to fade away. Rubín’s art is vibrant, lovely, and the many groovy monsters, creatures, buildings, objects and everything else are so inventive and much deserving of your time and money. The story is amazing and I cannot wait to read the follow-up, Ether: The Copper Golems. You should probably think about turning over to even out that tan.

Rumble, Volume 4: Soul Without Pity

(Written by John Arcudi, illustrated by David Rubín, colored by Dave Stewart, designed and lettered by Shanna Matuszak, trade published by Image in 2018)
Anyone else notice a little theme goin’ on for these last three books? Here’s a hint: David Rubin is a dang-fine artist whose work I recently discovered and now have to acquire everything he’s ever worked on. Yeah, I’m loving how Rubín’s work can just transport you to another world and make you forget all the problems found in your own. If you’ve not read Rumble before, then this is one that kind of requires that you have read the first three volumes—which were illustrated by former Rumble artist James Harren—in order to properly follow along. Don’t worry, though, Rumble is a great series about a dead warrior-god whose soul was placed into the body of a scarecrow that now walks the streets of modern times accumulating a ragtag group of human allies. The world is steeped in a rich mythology with monsters and magic and mayhem aplenty and this fourth volume keeps the action flowing. This trade finds Rathraq, the scarecrow warrior god, at his darkest and deadliest as his friends attempt to bring him back to their side. The Rumble series is one you can buy all four volumes at once and know you made the right choice and are in good hands.

And with that...time for a poolside nap. Until next time.

This Week’s Reading List

I had eight books in my pull this week and I was even missing two, but I'm out of time and need to get back to the pool. Here's what I have read thus far:

  • The Immortal Hulk #3(Written by Al Ewing, illustrated by a bunch of different artists, published by Marvel Comics)
    Another great, creepy, horror-tinged issue.
  • Mage: The Hero Denied #10(Written and illustrated by Matt Wagner, colored by Brennan Wagner, lettered by Dave Lanphear, consulting editor Diana Schutz, design and production by Steven Birch, published by Image Comics)
    Oh, no, we are 2/3 through the concluding act of the trilogy! Still love love love it!
  • Gideon Falls #4
    (Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, colored by Dave Stewart, lettering and design by Steve Wands, edited by Will Dennis, published by Image Comics)
    Yup, a month behind and new issue #5 missed this week...go figure. Creepy as hell in the best of ways.
  • Oblivion Song #5
    (Written by Robert Kirkman, illustrated by Lorenzo De Filici, colored by Annalisa Leoni, lettered by Rus Wooton, associate editor Arielle Basich, editor Sean Mackiewicz, published by Skybound an Image Comics imprint)
    Given the current state of our country, I can see where the inhabitants of Oblivion are coming from.
  • East of West #38
    (Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Dragotta, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics)
    Although many delays between issues, I’m still along for the complicated and intense ride.
  • Royal City #12
    (Everythinged by Jeff Lemire, lettered by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics)
    I knew it was going to be a rough journey, and I suspect the last few issues are going to be a heart-rending affair.
  • Stellar #2
    (Written by Joseph Keatinge, illustrated by Bret Blevins, lettered by Rus Wooton, associate editor Arielle Basich, editor Sean Mackiewicz, published by Skybound an Image Comics imprint)
    They had me at space superheroes. Interested to see where this one goes!
I have one more comic to read from this week and hope to get to it later this afternoon. See you next time!


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