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.

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.

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.

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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