Sunday, December 22, 2019

Slice of Heaven 12/22/2019

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/devourer of comics Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). Keeping this one short as there’s a ton of books to go over and I now have some work-work to do. Tulip and Reverse Obie also have some planning to be sure we remain a Fortune 320,000 company in the year 2020…they’re also hitting me up for some petty cash to fund some “research” they say they need to do at the local taco shop, which kinda sounds like a good idea. 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

Wonder Woman: Dead Earth #1

(Most everythinged by Daniel Warren Johnson, colored by Mike Spicer, lettered by Rus Wooton, published by DC Comics on their Black Label)
After being blown away by the must-own Extremity, Murder Falcon, Space Mullet, and his art on Ghost Fleet over the past couple of years, Daniel Warren Johnson's new comic miniseries looks to continue rocking this Donist’s world with a beautifully paced, gloriously illustrated, and ultimately thrilling Black Label Wonder Woman comic. When Murder Falcon ended earlier this year, I immediately hit the interwebs to find what Johnson’s next project would be. If it ended up being a creator-owned comic about the Housewives of Some City, I would have gleefully picked it up and because of this man’s compelling writing and his stunning, kinetically-charged art, I would have loved it. Thankfully, that’s not what we got this week. I only just read the solicit about this Elseworlds-esque title a month or two ago and made an audible “Ooooooooooooo” at the cover and preview pages for what will ultimately be a four-issue miniseries.
Here, Wonder Woman awakens to a world devastated by a nuclear bomb. She has no idea how she ended up in a state of suspended animation, but she has little time to consider her situation as a horrific monster known as a Haedra attacks her and the young scavengers who accidentally released her from her state of near-death. Wonder Woman defeats the terrifying creature but quickly realizes her strength is greatly diminished and her protective bracers are gone. Infinitely worse, what remains of the planet is on the verge of extinction as resources dwindle and the haedras ravage all in their path. Fighting monsters and attempting to restore hope to those who have none, the Princess of Power must use what remaining might she has and a lifetime of skills to save what remains of humanity.
Love this, love this, love this! Johnson may as well have created this comic specifically for me: Wonder Woman, post-apocalyptic landscapes, monsters, old villains/allies mutated by radiation, incredible stakes, this comic has it all. Couple that with stunning visuals from my favorite artist of the past couple of years and there is no way I would miss this exciting adventure. What’s even better is that this “Prestige Plus” format book is about twice as long, magazine-sized, and printed on a higher quality paper. Sure it retails for $6.99, but with these specs and such an amazing story and such heavenly artwork—complete with thrilling fight scenes, sound effects you can feel in your bones, and masterful storytelling—Wonder Woman: Dead Earth is the superhero comic of the holiday season that you need the most.

Joker: Killer Smile #2

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered by Steve Wands, published by DC Comics on their Black Label)
May as well continue on the DC Black Label train with the second installment of Joker: Killer Smile. The interesting thing about this fascinating look into the detrimental effect sustained exposure to the Joker’s presence can have on a person is that the Joker is not the main character of the book. The protagonist is actually Dr. Ben Arnell, a psychotherapist who seeks to cure the Clown Prince of Crime of his maladies. The Joker only appears on a handful of pages, but Lemire and Sorrentino channel the creeping, foreboding sense of dread they bring to their Image Comics title Gideon Falls and the Joker’s presence and influence oozes into nearly every panel of every page. It’s all rather disturbing in the best of ways for this psychological thriller. I’m not certain if this is a three or four-issue miniseries, I just know that I’m aboard for the entire unnerving ride.

Gideon Falls #19

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered and designed by Steve Wands, published by Image Comics)
While we are on the subject of Lemire and Sorrentino, Gideon Falls continues to be a spine-tingling mind trip as the lead characters travel between parallel worlds (I think that’s whats going on) as they attempt to discover the secrets of the Black Barn and to stop its evil from affecting the world(s). Unfortunately, the “Smiling Man” walks the Earth and death follows in his wake with only the Ploughmen to either kill the evil entity or put it back in the Black Barn forever. Gideon Falls will someday soon become a television series and you should definitely get caught up with the soon to be three available trades worth of mindbending and awesome horror.

The Last God #3

(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 on their Black Label)
Okay, I’m not as lost as to what is going on in this exciting new fantasy series as I was last time but I should reread all three of the currently available issues so I can get a better grasp on the key players and to help things make a tad bit more sense. That said, I love this gorgeously illustrated comic of myth, magic, monsters, and mayhem. If you are a fan of fantasy/adventure regardless of what form it takes—comics/novels/movies/television—then you need to be buying this series and showing DC that taking a step outside of their comfort zone is worth their risk so we can continue to see more of the like of this great series.

Family Tree #2

(Written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Phil Hester, inked by Eric Gapstur, colored by Ryan Cody, lettered by Steve Wands, edited by Will Dennis, published by Image Comics)
If you had told me I was going to be reading a comic book about a little girl who is steadily transforming into a tree, I wouldn’t have believed you. But add that the girl is being hunted by a bunch of bald, weirdo, white guys and that her absent grandfather would return with a wooden hand to protect his family, then my curiosity would be peaked but probably not enough to pick up the book. All it takes is to mention Lemire as the writer and Hester as the artist and this comic jumps firmly into my pull list. At two issues in, the mystery as to what is going on deepens and Lemire’s incredible character development seals the deal that this is yet another of his comics we all need to be reading. I’m excited to see where this goes.

Deadly Class #42

(Written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wes Craig, colored by Justin Boyd, lettered by Rus Wooton, edited by Briah Skelly, production by Erika Schnatz, published by Image Comics)
A house party in the middle of snow-covered nowhere with many of the students of King’s Dominion Atelier? What could possibly go wrong? Who’s hooking up with whom? Who’s heart is going to be broken? Who’s going to do some experimenting? Who’s going to get straight-up murdered? Find out in this kickass new issue. If you are interested in a story about the students who attend a high school for assassins then you should definitely check out the eight trades or the two oversized hardcovers.

Undiscovered Country #2

(Written by Scott Snyder and Charles Soule, illustrated by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Daniele Orlandini, colored by Matt Wilson, lettered by Crank!, published by Image Comics)
I’m still excited about this series despite not fully knowing who all the players are in this dystopic, futuristic adventure comic, but I’m sure they will all start to click as the series progresses. What grabs me the most is the premise and mystery behind what happens when the United States builds a wall around the entire country and shuts down all forms of communication to the outside world for 30 years…until now. This one is going to be intense. I can’t wait to see what the creators have in store for us.

The Immortal Hulk #28

(Written by Al Ewing, art by Tom Reilly and Matías Bergara, colored by Chris O'Halloran, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics)
Even with a guest-artist, The Immortal Hulk continues to be the best, most consistent comic Marvel has been putting out in some time. Although mostly a stand-alone issue, there are moments that show Dario Agger (the Minotaur) acting as you would expect your typical CEO to act (ohhhhh, burn!) and coming to a plan of how to deal with his Hulk problem. The rest of the issue follows a security guard who is fed a steady stream of steamin’ hot right-wing radio/Faux News bullshit that has turned this once happy man into a fear-ridden, hate-filled husk who talks of the “Deep State” and knows all too well what it means to “stand your ground.” When a bunch of Roxxon protestors wearing plastic Hulk masks arrive at his facility, this Roxxon security guard thinks he knows what to do next. I can already hear a few chants of “why’d they have to go and make things political?!?!” My answer: because it fits the Hulk’s mission, it is relevant to the times, and it’s one helluva story. You all need to be reading this incredible horror/superhero title, which you can do with the beautiful hardcover or via the readily available trades.

Guardians of the Galaxy #12

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Cory Smith and a bunch of guest artists, inked by Victor Olazaba, colored by David Curial, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics)
And with that, Cates’s run on Guardians of the Galaxy comes to an end. As Rocket’s strength slowly fades and death draws ever closer, he shows the Church of Universal truth why he is never to be underestimated. This issue is a fitting close to this series as it pays homage to the exciting cosmic stories of the past few years, while opening the door to the next Guardians run that will be helmed by Al Ewing (yup, that Al Ewing). You might also get a bit teary-eyed with the ending Rocket sequence…I’ll leave it at that.

Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child

(Written by Frank Miller, illustrated by Rafael Grampá, colored by Jordie Bellaire, lettered by John Workman and Deron Bennett, published by DC Comics on their Black Label)
Yup…“Why’d they have to make it political?!?!” To which I say, “Sigh, this is not for you, none of the good/great comics are.” Anyways, I will do full disclosure that I have not read any of Miller’s Dark Knight books since Dark Knight Strikes Again, so I don’t know anything about the main stars of this series other than Carrie Kelley is now Batwoman and a kickass one at that. I don’t know what happened to Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent, and Clark’s kids—Lara and Jonathan—appear to be a couple of the new heroes of this future world. Lara struggles to understand why she should bother saving humanity, while Jonathan maintains more of his father’s ideals. Here, Darkseid has joined with the Joker (a Joker? the original Joker only younger? no idea) and the pair seek to get a Trump-style stooge elected via good-ol’-fashioned GOP voter suppression. It’s the Trump-supporting Jokers versus the anti-fascists Bat mob and I loved every second of it even though I was a shade lost at times from not having read DKIII: The Master Race, although it wasn’t too difficult to fill in the blanks. Again, full disclosure, I probably would not have picked up this book if not for the fact that Grampá (if you can find it, check out his hard-to-find-but-worth-the-search Mesmo Delivery Service) was providing the oh-so-gooey-gorgeous art, but after reading this fun one-shot, it is safe to say that I definitely want to see more more more of these creators tackling this rich world.

Doomsday Clock #12

(Written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Gary Frank, colored by Brad Anderson, lettered by Rob Leigh, published by DC Comics)
I’m going to need to read this one from beginning to end in one fell swoop. The lengthy delays between issues greatly affected the story flow, but now that this one-year event that took almost two years to come out is done, I’m sure it will make a heck of a lot more sense. I also have a suspicion that the story Johns and Frank set out to tell was altered midway through per some sort of editorial edict, but regardless of what did/did not happen, I still enjoyed this ambitious project and see it as a win. I love the whole Superman “versus” Dr. Manhattan angle and how various pieces are put back in place while others appear to be left on the board for future stories. Frank’s art is lovely as ever, especially on a couple of double-page spreads that need to be seen to be believed. I never thought a story like this would ever see the light of day, but I’m glad it did. Whether or not the end product is what the creators originally intended, Doomsday Clock still rocked this Donist’s world.

Whoa, Nelly. That about does it for this installment. Have a happy holiday season and I hope to see you next time. 


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