Saturday, August 10, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 8/9/2019

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/backup singer for the Donist World team Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Keeping this intro short as we are still talking about the amazing offerings from Marvel this week and we are going to reread them to be sure we didn’t miss anything…plus it’s lunchtime. Anyhow, take a breath, let your shoulders relax, grab some refreshing water or cave and get a burrito and beer, 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

Absolute Carnage #1

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Ryan Stegman, inked by JP Mayer, colored by Frank Martin, published by Marvel Comics)
Absolute Carnage is one I was on the fence about. After feeling so completely burned by far too many Big Two events over the years, I was very much intending to stick to my “No More Events” proclamation—or at least no more events until a lauded trade collection upon completion of an event was released. And I held strong for quite a while, years in fact, but then Cates and Stegman came out with their phenomenal Venom series. With Venom they took a character I only sorta liked from back in the day—right before my sick-of-’90s-comics-bullpucky, multi-year, comic book hiatus—and brought me wholeheartedly into the fold. Cates and Stegman tied Eddie Brock and the Symbiote to Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s tremendous Thor God of Thunder arc, which briefly showed a defeated dark god, and the current Venom creators made Knull, god of the symbiotes; what followed was an exhilarating roller coaster of action, adventure, and horror. I became a fan of Venom with but this single great first issue.
Now, Carnage…alrighty, I knew who the character was back in the ’90s: that he is a serial killer who somehow gained a symbiote that made him a devastating adversary. But was Carnage, aka Cletus Kasady, a part of Venom? Or did he come to be from his very own Symbiote? I honestly have no idea. I’m also not quite certain on how Kasady was originally killed and that’s fine, just roll with it and don’t sweat the details; you’ll be fine. (Just a side note that I went and skimmed the Wikipedia page for Cletus Kasady and my head is positively reeling after trying to follow the quagmire of the character’s history, so I will probably try to read it again after a Stone w00t Stout or two to see if it makes any better sense.) So, whatever the heck went down with Carnage over the past couple of decades, all I know is that he is utterly terrifying and creepy AF in this fantastic, 80-page, $7.99 (and worth every penny) first issue.
Absolute Carnage begins with Eddie Brock and his son on the run from both the law and the forces of Carnage, which leads Brock to seek the aid of one of his greatest adversaries: Spider-Man. The resurrected Kasady is once again Carnage, although he is immensely more powerful as he has used remnants of the dark god Knull’s Grendel (a symbiote dragon from the first Venom arc) to make himself an unstoppable force. Spider-Man and Venom learn that Carnage seeks to consume any trace of a symbiote that he can sink his claws and teeth into and it doesn’t matter if the host is alive or dead. A few Spider-verse guest stars appear (I’m not going to spoil) and we are left with one heck of a cliffhanger that guarantees I will be back for more more more.
Stegman’s art is something all fans of Venom and The Superior Spider-Man should already be well aware of. If not, then get ready to be wowed and give thanks to the comic gods for this heavenly comic. The dramatic scenes are great. The horror scenes are great. The storytelling is great. The backgrounds are great. The character designs are great. The action sequences are otherworldy, next level madness that will make you hesitate to turn the page as you attempt to take it all in. Put it this way: you’ll probably want to read the book straight through and immediately give it another read to focus even more on Stegman’s oh-so-gorgeous work. I’m sure the pencils alone would make this issue a must-see, but Mayer’s mix of fine and not-quite-so-fine-but-still-fine lines on characters and his use of deep shadows make every page something to behold. The whole black and white package is brought to unearthly life with Martin’s muted color palette that brings urgency with the use of red, not just in Spider-Man’s costume, but on the pages where the threat of a horrible death by Carnage escalates to a nervewracking pitch. Whew…this book is a looker.
One issue into this event and I am very hopeful for what comes next. That said, there are a BUNCH of tie-ins (19 issues to be exact) outside of this five-issue miniseries and the issues of Venom that are honestly part of the reason I abandoned events altogether in the first place. Some of those tie-ins might be great. Some might not be. I will probably get all of those in the inevitable Absolute Carnage Tie-Ins trade with the exception of the Absolute Carnage: Immortal Hulk #1 that will be written by Jade Jaws powerhouse Al Ewing. I have no doubt that Cates and Stegman have a monster of a story to tell and I really hope that they were given enough leash by the corporate powers that be to tell it without all of the corporate shenanigans that had made me so reluctant to try events so long ago. This issue, though, comes…

House of X #2

(Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Pepe Larraz, colored by Marte Gracia, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
Yes! Yes! Yes! This is what I want from a Hickman X-Men comic. As I said with the first issue, I’m a lapsed X-Men reader (not counting Ed Piskor’s outstanding X-Men Grand Design retelling of a few hundred issues of convoluted X-Men history) but this first issue pulled me back in with a sense of mystery around what the heck is going on with Charles Xavier, Magneto, Krakoa, and the move to create sanctuary Garden’s of Eden for all mutants while setting up those of “Omega” ability to be gods. Here, we jump away to focus on one character: Moira MacTaggert. Established X-Men fans should know that this woman has historically been a human with an exceptional knowledge of genetic mutation who worked closely with Professor X and the X-Men. This is not the complete story according to Hickman. In fact, MacTaggert is a mutant with an ability that completely blew my mind and that has had me running through the implications of having such an ability and what I would do were I to have her “power.” Yeah, I’m not gonna spoil it but, dang, it will get you thinking. So, after an awesome first issue, am I at least mildly put off that we aren’t seeing more of what is going on outside of Moira MacTaggert? Hells no. I’m even more invested now and I’m eager as heck to get ahold of this coming week’s Powers of X #2. Hickman warned us on his “Reading Order” infographic that HoX #2, HoX #5, and PoX #6 were going to be the issues that changed everything for the X-Men and after reading this issue, it is safe to say he is thus far 33.33% correct.

The Immortal Hulk #22

(Written by Al Ewing; illustrated by Joe Bennett, inked by Ruy José and Belardino Brabo, colored by Paul Mounts, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit; published by Marvel Comics)
What. In. The. Actual. F_! Three comics completely knocked me on my rear this week and all three of them are from Marvel. A year and a half ago, if you would have told me this, I would have laughed. But, hey, I’m by no means complaining. Keep it coming. Ewing and Bennett continue their Hulk-as-a-horror-comic series as anyone with gamma powers and those who are friends with those with gamma powers waiting to come back from the dead—which is quite disturbing—look to take the hurt back to General Fortean. The problem: Fortean has bonded with the ravaged husk of the Abomination. Oh, man! The next issue cannot come soon enough as Alpha Flight (possibly including a currently dead Walter Langowski), The Hulk, Red She-Hulk (the harpy version), Doc Samson, a corpse-like Rick Jones, and a human reporter prepare to take on this horrifying new menace. This series in the hotness, Denizens. Best jump in with the trades as soon as you can.

The Green Lantern #10

(Written by Grant Morrison, illustrated by Liam Sharp, colored by Steve Oliff; lettered by Tom Orzechowski; published by Marvel Comics)
Much of what I said for the previous issue a few weeks back (read that post here) applies with this installment, but to summarize: I don’t really know what the heck is going on, but man, oh man, is Sharp’s art freakin’ gorgeous. Here’s what I do know:

  • 12 Parallel Worlds! 12 Green Lanterns! - Says so on the cover.
  • I LOVE the hippy freak Green Lantern named Magic Lantern who fights his enemies with Grooviness that is derived from his mystical spectacles (I think). I would buy a comic about this guy provided Sharp gives us more of the tripadelic visuals as seen on page two.
  • Green Lantern Batman of Earth-32 is pretty awesome and I would read that book, too.
  • The mostly-cybernetic, beefy guy who speaks backward is pretty damn scary. He might be the Yellow Lantern guy who the Blackstars were dissecting but I really have no idea. I just hope we see more of him.
  • A bunch of very fast scene jumps left me unsure as to what was happening and questioning existence until a scene with the zombie DC Trinity appears and a crazy looking Living Lantern leads us into the next issue.
Yup, that about sums it up. So maybe one of y’all can tell me what’s going on. Even with my confusion, I’m still loving this bonkers and gorgeously illustrated comic and you should at least check out the lovely first hardcover collection.

That’s it for this installment, Denizens. I’m off to ponder the implications of the Moira MacTaggert revelations and to think about what I would do given her abilities. very weird. See you next time.


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