Sunday, February 2, 2020

Slice of Heaven 2/2/2020

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/whistleblower Tulip (my dog, Reverse Obie’s sister). My puppy executive team and I are cutting this intro a tad short as it is well into lunchtime and I have a basket of chips and salsa calling my name. We also have a huge footieball game that we have to not watch as we really could care less about the whole affair, we just love that bars and restaurants that don’t have television sets will be mostly empty; the world is our oyster. 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

Guardians of the Galaxy #1

(Written by Al Ewing, illustrated by Juan Cabal, colored by Federico Blee, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit, published by Marvel Comics)
My copy of this latest restart of Guardians of the Galaxy somehow liberated itself from my pull at the comic shop. This clearly was not supposed to have happened, as two of the workers at my LCS got into a tiff as to why it was missing in the first place. Clearly, the store underordered the books and someone gave my copy to someone else who happened to get to the store before me and begged them to “find” a copy for them. Not cool. Thankfully, I only had to wait an extra week, and boy-howdy was the wait worth it!
Here we have a new iteration—this is the sixth #1 issue in eleven years— of the Guardians as they square off against resurrected/reborn Greek Gods who travel on a warping space-based Olympus to wreak havoc upon unsuspecting planets, like the Utopian Kree faction living on the planet colony Elysion-3. This act of violence rallies Nova, Star-Lord, Moondragon, Phyla-Vell, Rocket Racoon, and Marvel Boy to attempt to put a stop to the Gods’ rampage. What has Nova been up to? What the heck is up with this groovy Phyla-Vell character and why is she blue? What are Phyla-Vell’s powers? What is Marvel Boy’s deal, again? Will Gamora, Drax (how did he come back to them, again? Was that the previous volume?), and Groot meet up with the rest of the team? How and when did the Greek gods all die and become reborn with more powerful forms? I have no idea and it really doesn’t matter. Ewing immediately throws you in the thick of things and in one page establishes the Guardians as a self-established family whose odd dynamic is believable and heartfelt. But their other calling, that of being heroes, is impossible to ignore. Ewing somewhat answers some of my questions concerning what has been happening over the past year and beyond with some clever exposition and Cabal brings all of the characters to life in a way that is more upbeat than what we have been used to seeing with a focus on fine linework and an avoidance of shadows; Blee compounds this with a vibrant color palette that makes space and the cosmic beings who reside there truly magical. I loved absolutely everything about this issue.
We all know that Ewing’s run on The Immortal Hulk has been a simply amazing journey into the realms of horror, while his take on Guardians of the Galaxy looks to embrace adventure, humor, and the space opera genre I love so very much. If the Fantastic Four is Marvel’s first family, then the Guardians of the Galaxy are definitely its second and the one I hope to be reading for many issues to come.

X-Men #5

(Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by R.B. Silva, colored by Marte Gracia, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles, designed by Tom Muller, published by Marvel Comics)
Although I am still absolutely loving X-Men, my Donist-Sense is tingling given that there are 237 new X-Titles on the stand (or roughly thereabouts) and I have heard rumblings of an X-Event slated for later in the year that will “Forever change the lives of the children of the atom.” I can see it now, a cavalcade of connected titles that you “don’t have to read them all, even though you kind of do” and at which point I will probably bounce from the X-Verse yet again, but for now, I’m still loving this particular title. In this issue, Serafina (wasn’t she in the first issue?) has escaped and it will be up to the unique abilities of Synch (who?), Darwin (kinda know of this guy), and X-23 (sorta know about her but not really) to infiltrate a temporal nightmare known as The Vault. I loved seeing the X-Men set up a diversion and describe how the small strike team could use their abilities to survive an aggressive timestream defense system. The issue ends on a great cliffhanger, one that I really hope plays out in the next issue and NOT a different title, which would probably be enough to chase me away once again. Time will tell, but on its own, this issue is as fantastic as those that came before it.

Thor #2

(Written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Nic Klein, colored by Matt Wilson, lettered and designed by VC’s Joe Sabino, published by Marvel Comics)
Dang. Because of the timing of its release amidst the Donist World Year-End Roundups, I didn’t get a chance to talk about the latest reboot/renumbering of Thor. Bottom line: LOVED IT! Although I enjoyed Cates’s recent 12-issue run on Guardians of the Galaxy, it didn’t blow me away as much as his work on Silver Surfer: Black or Thanos (which includes Thanos Wins and Cosmic Ghost Rider), but this fresh start that sets Thor up as the newest Herald of Galactus has brought me right back into the cosmic love fold. With this latest issue, after some Galactus/Thor squabbling and outright fighting, the glimpse of a fan-favorite character born from the pages of The Mighty Thor roughly three decades ago, promises next issue is going to be a blast and a half, a face-full of hammer, and a calamity of cosmic craziness for which I cannot wait! Klein’s storytelling and character acting are great, but dang those Thor versus Galactus moments will get the blood pumping. Thor’s new costume/design are cool and Cate’s added touch of having the hammer grow ever heavier adds a sense of mystery that should play out well for issues to come. Cates and Klein’s Thor is a fantastic (re)start and to continue the roll of greatness begun way back when Jason Aaron brought some much-needed life to the God of Thunder.

The Immortal Hulk #30

(Written by Al Ewing; illustrated by Joe Bennett; inked by Ruy José, Belardino Brabo, and Cam Smith; colored by Paul Mounts, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit; published by Marvel Comics)
“I was reading this issue, late one night when my eyes beheld a glorious sight. A green-skinned goliath through a gullet did rise and suddenly to my surprise…He did the Smash, he did the monster smash. The monster smash, it was a stomach worm mash. Hulk did the Smash, Rick Jones too with a flash. Hulk did the Smash, and Doc Samson did bash.” Now that was fun! The Gamma Team fighting off three different kaiju in their own unique way, especially Rick Jones, who looks a little bit less like a skeleton these days and floats around in glowing green orb for some reason. Who cares as to why or how it’s just cool that he does. Couple all of this with white-furred Wilford Brimley showing up at the end to cause havoc (I’m hoping) next issue and I’m all about it. Anyhow, Bennett crushes it this issue with page after page of mindless monsters versus gamma monsters that are all gorgeously rendered and pleasantly horrific. Hulk continues to be a great read with every issue, and if you haven’t been reading this highly-praised and deservedly so comic, then you best pick up the lovely hardcover collection to see why the Hulk is once again a must-read series.

The Last God #4

(Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, illustrated by Ricardo Federici, colored by Sunny Gho, lettered by Tom Napolitano, cartography by Jared Blando, published by DC Comics on their Black Label)
Okay, I have a little bit better of an idea as to what the heck is going on in this series. You mostly need to know that it tells two tales—one set 30 years ago and one set in the present—both comprised of roughly the same individuals striving to reach the Black Stair so that they may defeat Mol Uhltep, the last living god and his army of flowering dead once and for all. The art is beautifully illustrated and painted and the story is epic and probably a bit easier to follow along with in a binge reading of the readily available issues. Please buy this book. I am loving it and DC should be rewarded for bringing something new, exciting, and different to the table. It’s also a great way to fill the void now that HBO’s Game of Thones is over.

That’s it for this installment, Denizens. I’ll see you next time where I’ll talk about a MUST-OWN collection I just received yesterday and that is blowing my mind all over again…ooooooo…mysterious! Thank you for reading.


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