Sunday, July 21, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 7/19/2019

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/FOMCC (fear of missing comic con) Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). It’s that time of year again. That time where Wednesday creeps up and instead of focusing on the new comics that will be coming out, I am instead thinking, dang, I really wish I was at the San Diego Comic Con. Yeah, I know. It’s been over a decade since I’ve been to SDCC and I’m Jonesing to be there…but when I actually start thinking about it, I’m really not. The thought of being surrounded by throngs of people, the lack of food, the lack of deodorant, the actual comic book related programming being replaced by tv/movie/video game properties leaves me cold. Still…that pull to be there comes in waves. Tulip and Obie are even involved in SDCC madness as they have locked themselves in the corporate office (Mom’s basement) as they try to predict the outcomes of the Eisner Awards; I haven’t the heart to tell them that the winners have already been decided. Oh well. Anyhow, take a breath, let your shoulders relax, grab a tasty beer and some pizza, sit back, and afterward 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


Little Bird #5

(Written by Darcy Van Poelgeest, illustrated by Ian Bertram, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Aditya Bidikar, designed by Ben Didier, published by Image Comics)
This is it, Denizens, the eagerly awaited end is here! Or is it? I’m not completely certain, even after two read-throughs. This is the first book I read on Wednesday but after a grueling day at work, a dip in the hot tub, and some Stranger Things S3 goodness, I was barely able to start the comic and had no idea what had happened by the time I made it to the end. So, I reread this issue from start to finish, first thing the following morning, and gained a little more clarity as to the outcome of the story. But I think I need to set aside some time to read the entire five-issue run to know what exactly happened at the end. All of that said, I absolutely love this comic. Van Poelgeest’s story, although a bit confusing to my battered mind, is tremendous and compelling and Bertram’s art is nothing short of heavenly, especially when elevated by Hollingsworth’s vibrant colors that very much give this title the same vibe I felt reading the best comics of the mid-’80s. Little Bird is a dang fine book that I absolutely adore and it will be part of my annual reread schedule from here on out. You owe it to yourself to read this beautiful, violent, and complex work of art. Oh, and the reason I said “Or is it?” is because the creators announced their next project Precious Metal, which will debut in 2020; I am sooooo there.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Silver Surfer Black #2

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Tradd Moore, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
This book is totally dope! Or is it actually “tight?” I don’t really know, but whatever word(s) the cool kids use for things they really, really like, then use that word and know it means Silver Surfer Black is simply one of the raddest comics out there. This was actually the second book I read on Wednesday and I think that so-tired-I’m-starting-to-hallucinate feeling helped make this visual journey even more outstanding. Yes, I had no idea of what I had just read that night, but a quick reread the next morning and I was thrilled by Cates’s intense story of the Silver Surfer squaring off against Knull, god of the symbiotes. Even Galactus’s first herald cannot face down this wicked being and is forced to flee after becoming infected by Knull’s darkness. The ending made me go, “Whoa!” and left me wishing for a blacklight poster of that last page image of the Surfer’s potential new ally before giving me some truly intense dreams that evening. Moore’s art is off the charts weird yet it is gorgeous in how it overemphasizes body postures and expressions. Stewart’s flat and shockingly vibrant colors transform all those glorious lines into something tremendous that you won’t find in any other titles currently hitting the shelves. You need to seek these issues out, Denizens, and hope and pray that we get an oversized hardcover of this phenomenal five-issue miniseries before the end of the year. Now, excuse me while I trip out on this bitchin…gnarly…bodacious…groovy—let’s go with groovy—cosmic comic. Do you grok?
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


The Immortal Hulk #21

(Written by Al Ewing, illustrated by Joe Bennet, colored by Paul Mounts, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics)
After 21 glorious issues of this superhero-turned-horror comic, it’s starting to become increasingly difficult to say something different than what I have already said. Well, at least this month I can say that Joe Bennett gets a much-deserved break and Ryan Bodenheim steps in to give us some insight into General Fortean’s past and why he is so hellbent on destroying the Hulk. We also see what he decides to do with the decimated husk of the Abomination, it ain’t pretty, but those first and final pages sure as heck are. Bodenheim’s art is beautiful as ever, although I wish he outlined his characters a little heavier like he has done on some of his previous works. Now, what did I think of the latest issue? It’s freaking great. Great like the 20 issues that preceded it. If you haven’t been reading The Immortal Hulk, one of Marvel’s most exciting and best comics of the past year, then you need to do yourself a favor and pick up the past three trades.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Gideon Falls #15

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics)
Alrighty, dagnabbit, I’ve been carrying on about how great this Twin Peaks-esque horror title is for the past fourteen issues and I’m all set to preach the same on this latest issue. But, if you aren’t going to listen to me, then how about the fact that Gideon Falls is slated to be a television show after a bidding war won by Hivemind. Not enough for you? Well, buckaroo, how about the fact that Lemire and Sorrentino won the Eisner for “Best New Series”? That’s right, let that piece of information meander in your dome for a moment. Now, if you haven’t been reading this creepy-as-heck, psychological horror comic, then you can remedy that by hammering through the first two trades and then pounce on the third when it drops this October. Oh…as for this issue…Father Wilfred is back but he seems to have left his memories elsewhere and his sudden appearance in place of Norton has Dr. Xu feeling uneasy. So, yeah, things are still really weird and I would expect nothing less from this chilling series that everyone should be reading. Congratulations to the creators for the much-deserved award.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


That’s it for this installment, Denizens, and I promise to start thinking of some new “Comics Lust” posts for some of the slower new release weeks. Thank you for reading.



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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 7/12/2019

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/Commitment Avoider Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). You still have a full day before the Mon–Fri, 8–5 (remember when it was 9–5?) picks up again, but then that dreadful moment strikes: Uncle Billy Bob and Aunt Sally text you “Guess Who’s in town?!” Your heart races. Your blood pressure spikes. You notice your teeth clenched at the prospect of enduring even a minute or two of batshit-crazy, conservative falsehoods yet again. So you pop a CBD gummy, center yourself, and politely text them that you are out of town while reminding them that if they had only let you know they were coming when they knew they were coming months ago that you would have gladly set aside some time to visit. Then, turn off your phone, close the blinds, crack a new beer, and settle in for the next episode of Stranger Things 3. Dang, some of us have to work around here and don’t appreciate the yearly reminder from Uncle BB and Aunt S that “You look to be filling out quite nicely” or that your hair “looks greyer every time we see you” or to hear their thoughts about the “climate change conspiracy.” So, take a nice long breath, let your shoulders relax, grab a tasty beer and some pizza, flip on some Stranger Things, sit back, and afterward 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



Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice #1

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Michael Walsh, lettered by Nate Piekos, published by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics)
Hey, I have to hand it to the Big Two for taking some real risks and embracing some experimental endeavors as of late. Seriously. The more oddball things they have been doing (X-Men Grand Design, the Hulk as a horror title, The Green Lantern, etc.) have really made me excited for their off-the-(WELL)beaten-path offerings. So, imagine my surprise when I held Black Hammer/Justice League in my eager mitts. Now, I have been extolling anything and everything related to Lemire’s Donist World Darling Black Hammer (do yourself a favor and immediately go big with the Library Edition) and the thrill of seeing the heroes from this tremendous series actually have a cross-company crossover is something I would have never predicted. Black Hammer is Lemire’s tribute to the Silver Age heroes he grew up loving and he masterfully pulls inspiration from both sides of the Big Two with characters such as Abraham Slam, Barbalien, Colonel Weird, and the rest. In this first issue (of five), a strange visitor appears and has the heroes of both worlds switch places: the Black Hammer heroes appear in Metropolis to face the might of Starro, as the Justice League takes their place on a strange, not-quite-right, small-town, rural farm from which they cannot escape. The story instantly hooked me and Walsh’s art serves as the perfect bridge between the indie and the mainstream and although little happens—aside from the hero swap—the character building and the wonderful pacing and dialogue left me quite happy but also worried; not that Lemire and Walsh won’t be able to pull off this ambitious crossover, I know they’ll knock it out of the park, but that five issues will not be enough after what is certain to be one hell of a ride.
*side note: This Dark Horse/DC crossover has renewed my interest in their past collaborative efforts that I talked about in “Aliens, Predators, and Terminators Meet DC” here.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!



Criminal #6

(Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips, colored by Jacob Phillips, lettered by ?, published by Image Comics)
If you haven’t jumped on the Criminal train by now…well, the good news is that it is never too late. This series is one that you can pick up ANY of the many trades that preceded this current incarnation and you can rest assured that you will be reading one of the best crime comics around. As for the Criminal issues that you can find on the shelves you can almost pick up any one of them and have a complete done-in-one story that will lead you down tales of murder, mayhem, robbery, deception, desperation, or a whole bevy of subject matter fans of film noir adore. The reason I say “almost” is because some of the issues in this current run are two-parters and they all seem to feature characters from the early days in primary or secondary roles. For instance, this issue follows Teeg Lawless, a despicable man who has featured in many past tales, as he has fallen in love and for the first time in his life approaches something resembling happiness. Unfortunately, for those who wind up in the criminal’s path, happiness is usually something they will never again know. This issue is part one of two and is a great place to start and to serve as an introduction to the rich, pulpy, dark world that Brubaker and Phillips have so keenly crafted. Once you dip your toe in, I suspect you’ll be scrambling for the rest of the back catalog of this amazing crime comic.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Venom #16

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Juan Gedeon, colored by Jesus Aberton, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
Cates is back on writing after a brief, but enjoyable, interlude by Cullen Bunn. This time he is joined by guest artist Gedeon, who does a commendable job of stepping into the Big Foot-sized shoes of series regular artist Ryan Stegman. This issue serves as a lead-in to the forthcoming Absolute Carnage miniseries/“event“ that will not only run through Venom but many, many, many other titles as well. This kind of makes me hesitant to try it out after being burned by the across-the-board “events” of the past. Yeah, not sure, but I will probably get the mini and continue getting Venom until the “event” ends, but we’ll see. Anyhow, this issue follows Eddie and his son as they try to live a symbiote-free life and discover just how hard that can be given Eddie’s past and that pesky thing called money. Eddie secures a job but even without his powers, he cannot help but fall back into old, violent habits. Plus, an old acquaintance who should be firmly in the grave is up and walking around and Eddie probably isn’t going to like it very much. Under Cates and Stegman’s watch, Venom has gone from a character I never really gave much thought, to one that brought me back into the Marvel fold. I very much hope Absolute Carnage is a solid smash and—who am I kidding. Despite my continued declarations of not buying “event” comics, these creators will most likely get me to check it out as the main Venom series has been positively fantastic. Do yourself a favor and check out the first two trades and see for yourself why you too might need to take a chance on Absolute Carnage next month.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


That’s it for this installment, Denizens. So be sure to take back some time for yourselves, kick back with something good to drink, and read some great comics. Until next week…



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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 7/5/2019

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/Sparkler Specialist Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Hello there, Denizens, and welcome back to Donist World. It’s been a great short week for my puppy executive team and I as we cut out early on Wednesday so Amy the intern (my wife) and I could head out to Bibi Ji to celebrate our 15-year wedding anniversary. Tulip and Reverse Obie even went so far as to lay out our slippers and set up a nice bottle of champagne for us upon our return. To be perfectly honest, though, I kind of think this act of kindness was also done to cover up the fact that they had gotten into the trash, but let’s just focus on the positive. Anyhow, I hope you all had a great 4th. So, take a breath, let your shoulders relax, grab a tasty beer and some pizza, get out there and watch the new Spider-Man movie (it’s really good!), sit back, and afterward 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



The Immortal Hulk #20

(Written by Al Ewing; illustrated by Joe Bennett; inked by Ruy José, Belardino Brabo, and Marc Deering; colored by Paul Mounts; lettered by VC’s Cory Petit; published by Marvel Comics)
I’m starting to remember why I began to struggle a bit with the Friday Slice of Heaven posts on the regular comics. My main issue was coming up with something original to say about amazing series such as The Immortal Hulk. You see, this comic came out of the gate swinging with the very first issue and has consistently been great ever since. In fact, every issue has been pretty tremendous, which is what makes talking about it, without spoiling anything, so difficult. Ewing and Bennett took a decades-old character in need of something…different…and they gave us exactly that in this exciting and oftentimes unnerving horror-tinged superhero book. In this issue, if it’s gamma-powered, it’s frankly kind of terrifying. Betty, the Red She-Hulk, is now some sort of vicious, red-skinned harpy creature, but even she is nothing compared to the new Abomination, a stomach acid spewing behemoth with hands that obscure his face and ultimately conceal the identity of the person within. The writing alone offers the mysteries and intrigues and grotesqueries that make this title so dang compelling, but when coupled with Bennett’s ability to bring the drama for the talking scenes and the scares for the fight scenes, you have one of the best comics currently in Marvel’s stable. You need to be reading this Marvel experiment gone right, which you can do with the three readily-available trades and the soon to be fourth that drops around September.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


The Green Lantern #9

(Written by Grant Morrison, illustrated by Liam Sharp, colored by Steve Oliff; lettered by Tom Orzechowski; published by Marvel Comics)
“I really have no idea what the heck is going on.” This is what I find myself saying with each new issue of The Green Lantern. The thing is, I don’t really mind. In fact, the sheer weirdness of this title is a huge draw for me, but nothing compares to having the artistic power of Sharp on this otherworldly series and especially on this issue. Here Sharp gets to draw superheroes, sci-fi craziness, and unbelievable fantasy…oh la la the fantasy. Hal Jordan dressed as an emerald-armored, sword-wielding warrior who rides out on a massive dragon to face down a familiar wizard? Yeah, it’s totally bonkers, but boy howdy is it all so very beautiful. The thing that blows me away the most about Sharp’s work is that he never just stops at the character work; he brings the backgrounds to life and even makes Hal’s stubble something to behold. Anyhow, Hal is on a fantasy world where his ring does not work quite as well as it should, and I believe he is there voluntarily as a way of relaxing, possibly his version of a vacation. Whatever floats your boat, Hal, just so long as these creators continue to bring me their special brand of madness and DC keeps allowing it to happen. Rush out to get this one in hardcover (issues 1–6) when it releases in the next week or so.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Sea of Stars #1

(Written by Jason Aaron and Dennis Hallum, illustrated by Stephen Green, colored by Rico Renzi; letters and design by Jared K. Fletcher; published by Image Comics)
Gil Starx brings his son on what is supposed to be an easy-peasy transport job. He expected a little father and son bonding but instead, they found…monsters. As can be expected with an Aaron book, certain plot points (that I will not spoil) came completely unexpected and totally left me guessing as to what the implications around the boy, Kadyn, actually means once you reach the end of this issue, but regardless of how Aaron and Hallum divvy up the writing duties, I was quickly pulled into the story and I am eager to find out what happens next. The art brings to life some cool (and scary) space monsters through Green’s designs and his character acting is nothing to scoff at either. If the series was black and white Green’s line work and beautifully placed shadows would be enough to bring readers back for more, but Renzi’s rich, vibrant colors—man, those blues, purples, and greens are lovely—makes Sea of Stars something special to behold. Like I said, I’m in and if things continue like this premiere issue promises, I will be along for this ride to the end.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


That’s it for this installment, Denizens. On to some more anniversary celebrations and to read some more great comics. See you next time!



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