Sunday, October 27, 2019

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice into the Woods 9/25/2019

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/she who watches the Watchmen (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Cutting it very short as I am late and I have the new episode of Watchmen to watch. Anyhow, take a breath, let your shoulders relax, grab a refreshing water (or a beer or two) and some kale chips (or delicious tortilla chips and salsa), 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

Ascender #6

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, edited by Will Dennis, published by Image Comics)
Andy yet lives despite being grievously wounded, but he might wish he had died when faced with what Mother has in store for him. Meanwhile, as Bandit’s batteries run dry, Telsa and her ship’s crew search for a way to get Mila off-world and away from the diabolical Mother; too bad the ocean holds terrors of its own. What more can I say about Descender and Ascender? They are each gorgeously watercolored sci-fi/fantasy adventure comics with characters you can’t help but fall in love with. Lemire and Nguyen put Andy, Mila, and Telsa through some terribly trying times, but it is that love of these characters and the concern for their wellbeing that make each issue so impossible to put down. We are on the second arc of Ascender (the first trade is already available) and if it is to mirror the format of Descender with a run of six trades, then we can rest assured that some great yet difficult journies await us over the next two or three years. I cannot wait to see how it all plays out in this emotionally-charged series that has been a Donist World darling since it first began back in 2015. Just be sure to start with Descender before diving in on this followup epic.

The Immortal Hulk #25

(Written by Al Ewing, illustrated by Germán Garciá and Joe Bennett, inked by Ruy Jose, colored by Paul Mounts, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics)
Okay, if you’ve been reading the best horror comic Marvel has published in a good, long while, then this issue might have thrown you for a bit of a loop. It’s a double-sized issue that costs a whopping $5.99, Bennett only illustrates two pages, and the majority of the issue follows a strange alien being as it explorers a universe of the distant future in a search for some form of life that has not been eradicated by The Breaker of Worlds. Take a guess who that is. The Hulk goes full-on cosmic in an issue that is more akin to something I would have read in an issue of Heavy Metal Magazine back in the ’70s. This is a huge compliment, but I can understand if those who have been reading this I-can’t-believe-Marvel-is-letting-these-creators-do-this comic are left confused by the (mostly) missing body horror and monster stomping of the previous 24 issues. I also have no clue as to where the heck we might be heading, but I can wholeheartedly say I will be along for the entirety of the ride. There’s a reason why The Immortal Hulk is on most reviewers’ “best of” lists. You need to be reading this series, Denizens, and it doesn’t matter if you are following along with the individual issues, the “Director’s Cut” expanded reprints, the available four trades (soon to be five), or the recently-released heavenly hardcover. That said, hey, Marvel, stay weird, babe, we absolutely love ya for it.


(Streaming on HBO Now/Go)
Now, here is something I don’t do often: go into a small amount of detail about something not in the printed format. But, I was so completely blown away by HBO’s new Watchmen series that I felt it necessary to mention it here. I should also mention that I bought the entirety of the 12-issue comic book maxiseries when it first debuted back in ’86 and even though parts of it were a bit beyond me at the time, I knew I was reading something monumental from creator Alan Moore, who had already changed the way I read comics with his work on Swamp Thing, Miracleman, and later V for Vendetta. Between Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (from a little earlier in 1986) and Watchmen, those two series completely altered the shape of an industry by setting a tone and look that—for better or worse—still resonates strongly today. Since then, I greatly regret selling those issues, but I have a well-worn trade, I have the motion comic on DVD (which I have not yet watched), and I have seen in the theater and bought the Blu-ray of the Zack Synder Watchmen (which I actually like…not at all sorry, haters). I will admit that I have not read the supposed mixed bag that is the Before Watchmen books from a while back, not because of any “loyalty” to the source material, but because of time; I’ll get around to those someday. So, yes, I was there from the beginning and I have been a fan ever since.
With HBO’s Watchmen, I loved every moment of this new show that takes place over 30 years after the events of the original series.
In the span of an hour, I was educated about the events of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (and horrified by what I saw) during the opening sequence, and I was put immediately thereafter on pins and needles when the masked officer pulled over the 7th Cavalry piece of trash. From there, meeting the new characters, including the handful of masked heroes who would be looking to take on the racists terrorists that are the 7th Cavalry, I was transfixed. I watched the episode twice within a two-day span and I have been thinking about it ever since. I have no idea of what to make about the rain of squids or the weird servants of Jeremy Irons, who might be Ozymandias in hiding. I am also thoroughly baffled by the ending scene and the old man in the wheelchair, but I imagine the answers will come as the weeks go by. I will be eagerly awaiting each and every new episode of this striking new series, but the thing I am curious about is what people who have never read the comic and possibly have never even seen the movie (which has a HUGE departure from the comic) think of this debut episode. I am deeply familiar with the source material, but can those who have not read what is one of the most important comic series of all time be able to follow along? Will they be pulled in and possibly seek out the original comic to better understand what led to this world where technology has not advanced as much as in our own and where a squid storm is a common occurrence? Time will tell for them, but I am in 100%. Oh, goody, look at the time. Only an hour and a half until the second episode is available to watch. I can’t wait!

* Side note: I have seen the efforts of those to rating bomb this phenomenal series, which is both sad and laughable (yes, I know, I say “phenomenal” based off of one episode). If any of these poor rating “reviews” had issues with problematic pacing, cinematography, characterization, poor acting, or the like, then I could possibly understand where they are coming from. But what I am seeing are “reviews” using the same tired refrains saying the series is made for “social justice warriors” or that the creators had to “go and ruin things by making the show political.” Complete and utter bullshit. Did these brainiacs actually read Watchmen? It was one of the most political comic books of the time. The world was on the brink of nuclear war, the heroes were anything but heroes, having given up or turned into monsters themselves. Rorschach was a racist, misogynist, homophobe with a severe mental illness who only read ultra-rightwing propaganda. The thing was that his particular paranoia just happened to lead him to learn of a darker plan to stall the death of the world at a tremendous cost as designed by an ultra-leftwing capitalist. The world of the Watchmen was a scary, fucked up place in the ’80s. Now, in the television series, the threat of nuclear war might be a thing of the past, but the threat of domestic terrorism is very real and both sides—the evil and the good…or at least the not as evil—wear masks; the world is still a scary, fucked up place. Being “political” is about economic policy, government spending, and world diplomacy, but being anti-racist is not political, it is about being a human being.

See you next time, enjoy this week’s Watchmen.


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