Saturday, November 30, 2019

Slice of Heaven 11/30/2019

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/Thanksgiving perseverer Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Thanksgiving is done. Black Friday is done. My puppy executive team and I were able to have a somewhat pleasant enough time as Uncle Billy Bob ended up arriving to our family event completely blottoed and was unable to voice any of the usual Faux News “truths” he has been steadily indoctrinated with over the past decade and a half. Anyhow, take a breath, let your shoulders relax, grab a drink (you deserve it…unless that’s not your thing) and see if you can dig up some of those dark chocolate and mint cookies from Trader Joes, 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 #7

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, edited by Will Dennis, published by Image Comics)
I LOVE this fantasy adventure series every bit as much as I love Lemire and Nguyen’s first half in their saga, the epic space opera Descender. We’ve been following the blue-skinned, fiery-haired Telsa since the very beginning years ago, and we’ve only just been introduced to Private Second Class, Helda Donnis who by the end of the issue is one of my favorite characters of the series. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise to Descender/Ascender fans; we can’t help but love nearly every character we meet. This month, the creators take us back to Telsa and Dr. Quon’s escape after the destruction wrought by the Descenders who have seemingly vanished forever. The pair disagree on what to do next and go their separate ways. Telsa later comes across former UGC member Helda and the pair team up over the years and witness the collapse of technology, the rise of vampires and other monsters, and they begin a new life sailing the seas…one of the few truly free places remaining. In a short span, we see their relationship grow while learning that Helda is a tremendous and fearless badass of the highest order. Although we barely see Mila, and Andy and Bandit are nowhere to be found, this gorgeously watercolored issue had me whipping through the pages and whispering “no” by the time I reached the end and knew there was nothing I could do about the long, painful, month-long wait until the next issue. Ascender continues to be my favorite comic on the shelves as Descender had been for the past few years. You will be hardpressed to find a comic with both a compelling story and transcendent art as this dang-fine saga.

Venom #20

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Iban Coello and Zé Carlos, colored by Rain Beredo, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics)
Absolute Carnage might have ended, but this “tie-in” wraps things up on that event, while laying the groundwork of what’s to come. Here, we see Dylan Brock, who has just learned that Eddie Brock (aka Venom) is not his brother but rather his father. The whole sequence is only a few pages, but the rest of the issue—aside from some “previously” expository material and a one-page reveal as to the secret nature of the symbiotes, including Dylan’s revealed abilities—belongs to the Maker and those who he reports to. I will say that I am happy to see Venom’s story return to being contained in its own series as opposed to events/tie-ins/crossovers/guest-appearances/guest-writers/etc and with Knull traveling toward Earth I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m not sure where we’re headed with Venom, but as long as Cates continues to write and Stegman continues to be the main artist, I’m firmly on board…I just hope there aren’t any other events for a good long while to muddy the flow of the story. You can easily catch up with Venom through the two available trades and the Absolute Carnage trade (released early 2020) as well.

Lazarus: Risen #3

(Written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Michael Lark, colored by Santi Arcas with Tyler Boss, lettered by Simon Bowland, published by Image Comics)
In their previous encounter with Family Vassalovka’s Lazarus, the homicidal monster known as the Zmey, Forever Carlyle and Sonja Bitner were soundly defeated, while a couple of Lazarus allies were killed and many soldiers lost. Today, the Zmey is on the hunt to end the life of a Vassalovka defector, but Forever and Sonja are ready for him. All this while the 14-year-old Forever clone struggles with her place in the world, but her trainer Marisol and her sister Johanna Carlyle look to open up the world to the exceedingly deadly girl. We might only be getting three issues a year, but when they have double the amount of pages and the story and art continue to deliver such high stakes and tension throughout, I’m happy to take what I can get. I strongly suggest reading through the five original series trades first before jumping into Lazarus: Risen to become better acquainted with this grim world and the characters within it. This timely and all too relevant series needs to find its way into your hands before the television series drops on Amazon Prime at some point in the future.

The Last God #2

(Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, illustrated by Ricardo Federici, colored by Sunny Gho with Dean White, lettered by Tom Napolitano, cartography by Jared Brando, published by DC Comics)
Okay, I think I need to go back and reread the first issue of The Last God as I was a tad bit lost as to what was going on. Despite that, I loved every painstakingly detailed and gorgeously colored illustration in this recently released fantasy series that looks to be an epic in the making. This issue follows Cyanthe and looks at her historical introduction to the Plague of Flowers and the person she becomes 30 years later. Horrors abound afflict the world of Cain Anuun but even those are positively stunning when illustrated by Federici’s delicate pencils and brought to life by Gho’s otherworldly color palette. If you are looking for something to fill the fantasy void left by Game of Thrones, then look no further than the fascinating new world found in the pages of The Last God.

East of West #44

(Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Dragotta, colored by Frank Martin, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics)
Why, oh, why do Hickman and Dragotta have to mess around with the eyes? I mean, there were some earlier issues from a few years ago where we meet an oracle and her creepy-crawly eyeballs…let’s just say that stuff unnerves me somethin’ fierce. Anyway, Mao Xiaolian and her Dragons and Widowmakers are losing the war and when all hope seems lost, a horrifying creature—one we have not seen for a while—appears to change the tide. The three horsemen talk with Babylon about how to handle the boy’s father, and Death <gulp> meets the Oracle again where gnarly eye stuff goes down; you’ve been warned. So, two issues remain in this complex, post-apocalyptic tale where there are no good guys and although we’ve seen some lengthy delays between issues and although I honestly can’t tell you what happened ten issues prior, East of West continues to be a great comic and one I will need to binge after the final two issues have finally released. You can experience this incredible series through the trades or the hardcovers and catch up before it all comes to a tragic end.

That’s it for this week, Denizens. I hope you’re recovering from eating too much food, drinking too much holiday spirits, and finally getting your version of Uncle Billy Bob out the door and on his way out of your life and back to his Faux News brainwashing. You did it. You made it. Might as well celebrate with some great comics. See you next time.


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