Sunday, June 29, 2014
My review of THE VRIL AGENDA, by Derrick Ferguson and Joshua Reynolds. A really entertaining adventure...
It's been two years since Dillon left the fabled land of Shamballah, and returned to our reality. He has traveled across the world, and finally arrived at his destination. Which is the New York chapter of the Baltimore Gun Club, where he hopes to encounter Jim Anthony, and convince the Super Detective to train him. Dillon's family has enemies, enemies that slaughtered his mother and father... and Dillon wants to pay them back in kind. His seven years of training under The Warmasters of Liguria has partially prepared him, but he knows that he needs to learn much more, in order to survive his quest. Dillon lays out his story to Jim Anthony, who (much to Dillon's disappointment) does not immediately agree to train him, but does agree to think on the matter, as he gets to know the young man better. Unfortunately Jim also has a number of enemies that are still active, and after a number of violent assaults on the two men, they are left wondering who exactly is trying to kill them. The adventure that follows will be an examination of both men's past, will drive them apart and pull them back together, and in the end they will stand united, facing an evil that plans to reshape the very fabric of reality...
In my opinion, The Vril Agenda is a perfect example of New Pulp done right. In fact, it's just a really great story, regardless of genre. An excellent team up between a modern hero, and a hero from the past, that takes place across the years. The writing from both authors is absolutely top-notch, the characters compelling, the story action-packed. The story flows along seamlessly, and once I started reading, I didn't want to put it down. The time and thought that go into fleshing out both men's history is greatly appreciated. Derrick and Joshua give you enough to satisfy, but hold back enough to preserve the aura of mystery surrounding the two characters. Dillon and Jim Anthony are consummate heroes; willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good, even themselves. The villains aren't one dimensional in any way, they are given their own motivations, which (in their own mind) justifies their actions. They think of themselves as heroes, who are working towards a better reality that will benefit humanity. This makes the villains themselves much more interesting. The settings are imaginative, and well rendered. Basically, this is an outstanding release. I'm not sure what more I can say, other than go out and grab a copy, and get reading! You won't be disappointed.
Here's the Airship 27 site. You can find any number of great stories there. The same goes for the PulpWork Press site. Lots of good stories to be had. Here's the product page on Amazon. Finally, here's Derrick's blog, and here's Joshua's blog. Why don't you swing by and have a look around?
I have two last things to get to, before I go. First off, a very hearty THANK YOU to Lucas Garrett, a long time supporter of Derrick Ferguson, Dillon, and good stories in general. It was his detailed and enthusiastic review of The Vril Agenda that spurred me to drop what I was doing, and start reading this release. Thanks, Lucas! Finally, I'd like to thank Ron Fortier, who will be hosting this review on his blog, Pulp Fiction Reviews, as a guest post. A wonderful, accomplished writer in his own right, he's the man behind Airship 27 Productions. Thanks, Ron! As always, happy reading, all!
Saturday, June 21, 2014
|Mitzi about to reach out and touch someone. Interior art by Andrez Bergen.|
|Mitzi and the mysterious Lee. Interior art by Andrez.|
Since the events of the last issue (here's my review of issue #1, if you haven't read it), Mitzi has hooked up with a mysterious man named Lee. He has offered to show Mitzi the way of doing things in Heropa, and more or less train her to be a Cape (also known as a Bop, essentially a superhero). Mitzi isn't quite sure if she can trust him, but she takes him up on his offer, at least for now. At the moment, she is engaged in a training exercise of his devising, which she is thoroughly enjoying. When he calls an abrupt halt to the mission, Mitzi walks out in disgust. Meanwhile, across town, Heropa's crime lords are having an urgent meeting. The topic? How to stop a certain vigilante who has been thinning their ranks, of late. Plus, we're introduced to an utterly psychotic young lady, who has a number of interesting ideas on how to solve the vigilante problem. It looks like there's a whole lot of trouble headed Mitzi's way...
|This one is pure TROUBLE. Interior art by Andrez.|
As I said, this was a complete surprise to me. It also knocked my socks off! I was really hoping for more BULLET GAL, but there was no way I expected anything from Andrez this soon (In a related note, he's already hard at work on issue #3! Ssshhh... don't tell anyone!). As time consuming as his art technique is, Andrez just keeps improving as he goes along. I'm really wowed with the visuals contained in this release, they are quite beautifully rendered. The lush black and white renderings perfectly fit the noir surroundings, and have a certain hallucinogenic quality to them (reference the art to your left fro an example). The writing style is taut, perfectly describing the world Mitzi is living in. Namely, one where she doesn't know who to trust, where everyone seems to be out to get her, possibly, even the man who's training her (she should be used to this, but that's an entirely different story... Mum's the word). I love the way both issues have ended with a cliffhanger, which reminds me of the old movie serials (of which I'm a huge fan). All in all, I was definitely impressed by the second issue of BULLET GAL. Andrez is building on the solid start he established in issue #1, and has upped the ante with issue #2. Highly recommended reading! Do yourself a favor, and take a look at this unique new comic series. You'll have a blast...
|HEROPA. Interior art by Andrez.|
|Some bad men, and an even badder lady. Interior art by Andrez.|
Sunday, June 15, 2014
|cover art for issue #3 by Juan Ferreyra|
|interior art by Juan Ferreyra illustrating the Hungry World|
|Nimble Jack says "Surprise!" interior art by Juan Ferreyra|
|The Hungry World. Interior art by Juan Ferreyra|
Here's the Dark Horse Comics website. And here's the product page on Amazon. Swing by and take a look!
Sunday, June 8, 2014
In Deep Like the River, we are introduced to two sisters, Alie and Carin. Alie has recently lost her baby girl, and her husband has left her after the tragedy. On what would have been her daughter's first birthday, Alie's older sister Carin has organized a canoeing trip, hoping to take Alie's mind off the tragedy. The day is interrupted when they find an abandoned baby girl, left on the river's shore. The parents are nowhere to be found, and the two sisters decide to take her with them to safety. Alie dubs the baby Trouble (after the heading on her Onesie, which reads "Here Comes Trouble!"), and they move on down the river. The little girl's new moniker seems to be prophetic, as the ensuing journey becomes more and more dangerous. The two sisters are left to question the very reality of the situation, and if Trouble is at all what she seems to be. As their journey becomes more surreal by the minute, the reader is left to wonder whether any of them will get out alive...
Deep Like the River is a rather brilliant story. Alie and Carin's tragic history is emotionally gripping, and creates a bond between the characters and the reader that is unshakable throughout. Alie's deep attachment to Trouble is clearly evident, and in the end, there is quite a good reason (beyond the obvious one) for this. Even after discovering what actually happened to her daughter, all I felt was sadness and compassion. When it comes down to it, the story is about second chances and redemption. Carin's love and compassion for her sister is also a huge element in the plot. Basically all they ever had as children were each other, and it was because of one another that they managed to survive their childhood abuse. As I've said above, the story has a distinct dreamlike feel to it, and is very surreal. There are no outright answers given to whether this is really happening, or for that matter, on what plane of existence it's taking place. Tim leaves all of this up to interpretation, so there will be many different views on what is actually taking place. All I can add to this, is that many of the threats to the trio are fears that are drawn from their own minds, so take that as you will. When you finally see the main architect (or is he/it?) behind their troubles, you probably be saying a mental "AHA!" to yourself. Many questions still remain after the ending, however, and I appreciate this greatly. I'll be thinking about the details of this story for a long time to come, and will no doubt revisit it multiple times to see if I can glean some kind of new insight that I had previously missed... In closing, I have to say that this subtle, unique horror novella is one of the best of the genre that I have read in recent memory. Tim is overflowing with talent, and has many different sights to show you. You should really take a look at what he has to offer, you wont be disappointed...
Here's a link to the publisher's site. They've got a lot of great authors working with them, so take a look around. Here's Tim's Amazon page. Lastly, here's Tim's home page, where you can catch up with what he's been up to. Happy reading, and exploring my friends!
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
|cover art by Andrez Bergen|
Bullet Gal #1 is a prequel to some of Andrez's other works (take a look at Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?, Tales to Admonish, and the aforementioned DEPTH CHARGING ICE PLANET GOTH for related reading), and relates an adventure of the woman who will soon come to be known as Bullet Gal. Set in Heropa (a city existing in cyberspace) and told in a distinct noir style, this short entry is simply amazing! The writing is razor sharp, the art stark, and strikingly beautiful. The art and writing style fit together perfectly, and it's a total joy to see the story executed in such excellent style. I love the fact that Andrez has filled in more of Bullet Gal's history (and there's more on the way), which I had really hoped for after being introduced to the character. All in all, a lot of goodness, residing within a small package. If you love well told noir, you'll appreciate the first issue of Bullet Gal. Recommended reading, and here's hoping for more adventures from our heroine! On that note, I'll get back to perusing my library. Have a great one, and have fun reading!
If you missed it above here's the link to the IF? Commix home page. And here's a link to Andrez's blog, where you can keep up with the many projects he has going on. Why don't you swing by and take a look? I'll leave you with a bit of interior art from Bullet Gal...
|interior art by Andrez Bergen|
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
|cover art by Steve Criado|
In MYTHWORLD we are introduced to our protagonist, Charlie Reese. In the opening prologue, ten year old Charlie and his little sister are being chased by a pack of schoolyard bullies. Trying to outrun them, Charlie realizes that they will never make it; his sister, Vonda is asthmatic, and can't keep up. Hiding her in up a tree, he cuts through Simmons' Gorge, hoping to lose his pursuers in the woods. After stumbling over a transient in the woods, Charlie takes a hard knock to the head... and everything changes! The everyday world is suddenly replaced by a mythic reality, the transient is now a centaur, the school bullies satyrs. The episode doesn't last long, and Charlie is saved by the intervention of an adult, but he is scared to death by his experience. Despite this, by the end of the day he has forgotten that anything extraordinary has happened. In fact he will remember nothing until much later, when he is an adult... Fast forward thirteen years. Charlie is newly graduated from college as an architect, and has found gainful employment at Dreyfus and Associates, a large design firm. He is currently winging his way to Pittsburgh, with his friend Mal, on the way to bid on a huge account. All the while he is wondering why he was included on such an important business trip. After all, he is a new employee of the firm. And to start out with Light-Ex (think UPS, Fed Ex, that sort of thing), owned by the multimillionaire (in fact, closer to a billionaire) Harold Lightfoot? He just can't fathom why he is involved in the deal. Arriving at the Light-Ex Building, Charlie and Mal are separated from each other, by one of the directors. Another puzzle for Charlie. A beautiful woman appears and explains that Mr. Lightfoot wants to meet Charlie personally. He's a bit doubtful about the whole thing, but entranced by her beauty, he blindly follows her to Lightfoot's office. This is where things begin to move at a faster pace. Lightfoot explains that the entire business venture is a ruse, although he will gladly pay Dreyfus and Associates in full for their work. The actual purpose behind the whole charade was assuring Charlie's presence, and securing his employment. Despite Charlie's protests, Lightfoot lays out his offer, and a shocking one it is. He wants Charlie's help in restoring the worship of the Greek pantheon of gods to the masses; thinking him absolutely off his nut, Charlie sensibly tries to leave. And that's when Lightfoot (actually Hermes/Mercury) draws him into the same mythic reality he experienced, that single time, as a child. It's too much for Charlie to accept, and he flees the building, despite the efforts of the mysterious beauty from earlier in the story (who is really Aphrodite). When he and Mal are attacked by mirror image "DEA" agents (trust me, when I say Russ really wowed me with who these "guys" really were, in the end) , and he is saved by the god Pan, the story hits the acceleration pedal. Reluctantly returning to Lightfoot Headquarters, Charlie finds himself working for Hermes, although he has a lot to learn, and a short time to get up to speed. He'll embark on an epic journey, and learn the truth behind the god's plan. Along the way, he'll find out a great deal about himself, lose many things dear to him, and possibly, become a better man. And, oh yeah, save the world... maybe.
What did I think about MYTHWORLD? I thought it was an excellently written, bang-up adventure tale, which enthralled me from the first page, to the last. Charlie is a bit of an every-man type character, and a perfect foil to the more divine company he keeps. Although the overall description may seem similar to American Gods, they are two different animals, entirely, and you should have both on your shelf. The overall tone and execution are entirely different, and where the characters end (?) there journey are unique to each tale. The main similarity between the two novels, was that I was left wanting more! Cheers, Russ (and Neil Gaiman for American Gods)! I read through this at light speed (possibly at ludicrous speed, LOL), totally captivated by the story. Russ perfectly etches out the human characters, and conveys the disconnect that the gods experience when dealing with mortals. Filled with twists and turns galore, Russ takes us on an absolute roller coaster of a journey. By the time you get to the end, you realize that nothing is as it seems. And a dang good ending it was. This is a labor of love, and I don't believe Russ needs anyone validating it. But I'll do it anyways, totally validated, man. Loved it, and I hope many more people take a look! In my opinion, you should be reading this! One last thing... the story isn't over (it never is), and I would love more! Thank you Russ! With that, I wish everyone happy reading, whatever your genre of choice happens to be! Thanks for stopping by, and, by all means, take a shufti around. You will probably find something you like...
Here's the Amazon page for MYTHWORLD. Here's the author page for Russ on Amazon. Swing by and take a look.