Posted in reviews

Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms by Mackenzi Lee Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Two sisters raised to be assassins and warriors by a ruthless villain find themselves stranded on a planet being mined and quickly deteriorating, forcing them into a series of events that explores their rivalry and the source of the distance between them in author Mackenzi Lee’s “Gamora & Nebula: Sisters in Arms”.

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The Synopsis 

The second book in the hit series from New York Times best-selling author Mackenzi Lee!

This three-book series explores the untapped potential and duality of heroism of popular characters in the Marvel Universe. The first book in the series, Loki: Where Mischief Lies, was an instant New York Times best seller and received two starred reviews!

The relationship between teenage adopted sisters Gamora and Nebula is as volatile as ever. When they end up on a deteriorating planet being mined for its valuable resources, the two sisters are faced with a series of events that force them to explore the source of their rivalry-and where their loyalty truly lies. This action-packed yet sincere story will tug on the heartstrings of anyone who has ever had to learn how deeply weird and changeable trust can be.

The Review

As a longtime fan of all things Marvel Comics, I was immediately drawn to this book. The author does a fantastic job of balancing the source material of the characters with the creativity and originality of this novel’s narrative. The writing expertly paints a vivid image in the reader’s minds of this vast Marvel Universe, exploring the vastness of the universe that has relatively been unexplored in the comics while adding new layers and context from the creative mind of the author.

What stands out of course is the strong character development of this narrative. From the complex and emotional struggle of sisters Gamora and Nebula, who has been driven against one another and brainwashed by the vile Thanos and his war machine. The interesting thing is that the author utilizes concepts of the comics rather than the MCU as a whole into the narrative, exploring the effects Thanos’s relationship with the personification of Death has had on both protagonists. Even the humorous and tricky personality of The Grandmaster shines brightly in a grim and gritty corner of the Marvel Universe. 

The Verdict

Emotional, action-packed, and entertaining superhero storytelling, author Mackenzi Lee’s “Gamora & Nebula: Sisters in Arms” is a must-read sci-fi and fantasy read. Expertly crafting an original science fiction narrative within a well-established Marvel Universe is an extraordinary feat, and the author excels at navigating the complex relationship between the protagonists and their villainous adoptive father, which has always been a crucial part of the fabric of Marvel’s Cosmic storytelling. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

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About the Author

Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Simmons College. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the historical fantasy novels THIS MONSTROUS THING, THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE, which won a 2018 Stonewall Honor Award and the New England Book Award, and its sequel, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY, which debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list. She is also the author of BYGONE BADASS BROADS (Abrams, 2018), a collection of short biographies of amazing women from history you probably don’t know about but definitely should, based on her popular twitter series of the same name.

When not writing, she works as an independent bookseller, drinks too much Diet Coke, and romps with her St. Bernard, Queenie.

http://www.mackenzilee.com/

https://www.instagram.com/themackenzilee/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/gamora-and-nebula-sisters-in-arms-novel-book-2-by-marvel-press-book-group



Posted in reviews

Alter Ego: The Other Me, Issue 1: A Superhero Detective Mystery (The Alter Ego Series) by David Terruso Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A private eye gets the job he’s been waiting for when he’s hired to find the identity of a hero he bears a grudge against, but soon discovers there’s much more to the story than he could have ever imagined in author David Terruso’s “Alter Ego: The Other Me, Issue 1: A Superhero Detective Mystery (The Alter Ego Series)”. 

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The Synopsis

Would you help kill the world’s only superhero if the price were right?

For a split second, everyone on the planet was plunged into silent darkness. That night, a masked man dressed all in blue first soared across the Centro sky…

Self-centered sleuth Chris Club gets hired to uncover Blue’s secret identity. Club despises Blue because he failed to save a child Club considered his only friend.

Club’s psychopathic boss wants to kill Blue—not for some grand scheme, just to make the whole world sad.

The invulnerable superhero with the decapitating uppercut has no reflection, only comes out at night, and never leaves the Centro city limits.

As Club unravels the mind-bending truth about who and what Blue is, he starts to care about him. And he realizes if he doesn’t turn his back on his boss, Blue’s blood won’t be the only blood on his hands.

Half novel. Half graphic novel. A visual mystery you’ll obsess over, told in a way you’ve never seen before. Issue 1 in an 8-issue series.

The Review

A fantastic concept and execution, the author has created a unique world where reality has come face to face with the world of superheroes, as the world’s first and only superhero mysteriously appears. Club is an interesting figure, who acts as the struggling protagonist with his own mysterious past. 

The writing itself was unique in delivery, in that the traditional graphic novel was abandoned for a mixture of original written word interspersed with singular images on the bottoms of each page, allowing the words and images to tell their own stories separately as well as forming the core storyline overall. 

The only criticism I would share is what would also give this book a viewer discretion advisory. The storyline sees the protagonist forming a bond with a young teen girl involved in the case, and he begins to get sucked into her own personal story and mystery herself. However the story has the air of a romantic interest between the teen girl and the older protagonist, something that the author notes at the beginning of the novel that they don’t condone, and will show not everything is as it seems later on in the series. However there is one scene in particular that I won’t go into detail with, but for a storytelling perspective I might have nixed altogether as the buildup to the scene didn’t appear. Other than that the story itself managed to build past that and delve more into the mystery of both characters nicely. 

The Verdict

Overall a great storyline with fantastic artwork, complex characters and a world full of mystery. Definitely an adult graphic novel series, this book is vast and the author does an amazing job of world and myth building in this first issue of the series. I very much look forward to seeing where the series goes from here, so be sure to grab your copies today. 

Rating: 8/10

https://www.alteregoblue.com/

https://amzn.to/2Tbln4l

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Dave Terruso.

I’m a mystery novelist and professional stand up comedian based in Philadelphia.

My debut novel, Cube Sleuth, was published by Full Fathom Five Digital. It has 4.5 stars on Amazon.

As a stand up, I’ve opened for acts including Richard Lewis, Gilbert Gottfried, Dana Gould, Tim Meadows, Colin Quinn, and Maria Bamford.

I’ve been featured on the RISK! Podcast, episode 350 Out of Bounds.

I’m the co-founder of Philly Sketchfest, an international comedy festival now in its 12th year.

And my social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaveTWriter/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alteregoblue/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DavidTerruso

Posted in Comic Book Roundup

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #5

Supergirl, Volume 1: Reign Of The Cyborg Supermen

(Supergirl (2016) #1)

by Steve Orlando (Writer), Brian Ching (Artist), Emanuela Lupacchino (Penciler), Ray McCarthy (Inker), Michael Atiyeh (Colourist), Steve Wands (Goodreads Author) (Letterer)

Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth! 

Supergirl moves to National City! As Kara Danvers, average American teenager and high school student, Supergirl must balance her life as a superhero with her new life on Earth. But some demons from her Kryptonian past are coming back to haunt her, and Kara will find herself face-to-face with her father: the sinister Cyborg Superman!

Critically acclaimed writer Steve Orlando (Midnighter) comes a new beginning for Kara Zor-El in Supergirl, Volume 1, Reign Of The Cyborg Super-Men a new series that is sure to appeal to fans of the TV series!

CollectingSupergirl 1-6, Rebirth

Verdict

A well written intro to the new story of Kara Zor-El, the first volume of Supergirl’s Rebirth era kicked off with a major story arc like no other. With her father now running around as the Cyborg Superman, Kara’s inner conflict between the family she loves and misses dearly clashes with her love for Earth and the people she has sworn to protect. The emotional component to a major threat facing the Woman of Steel makes this a compelling story, and the artwork is vibrant and shifts in tone at the moments that will make the most impact to the story, making this a truly engaging story. Incorporating aspects of Supergirl’s television run in the Arrowverse, this is a must read comic for any longtime Supergirl fans. 

The Flash: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1

(The Flash (2016) (Collected Editions) #1-2)

by Joshua Williamson (Writer), Carmine Di Gianmenico (Illustrations), Neil Googe (Illustrations)

Synopsis

The creative team of Joshua Williamson and artists Carmine Di Giandomenico and Neil Googe proudly present THE FLASH: THE REBIRTH COLLECTION—DELUXE EDITION BOOK ONE! Exploding from the pages of the blockbuster DC Universe Rebirth event, this hardcover collects the first two paperback volumes of the acclaimed series together in one volume for the first time!

 The Speed Force that fuels the incredible powers he uses as the Flash has been unleashed upon the unsuspecting citizens of Central City, creating an entire army of speedsters. Even if the Flash trains a new team of metahuman crime-fighters—a true “speed force”—will it be enough to combat criminals who have the same godlike powers?

 Plus, when Kid Flash decides to prove his abilities to Barry by investigating reports of a strange creature made of shadows in downtown Central City, he finds himself in a whole world of trouble…literally! Suddenly, Flash, Kid Flash and Iris West all become trapped in the Shadowlands of Flash’s old nemesis turned ally the Shade—only the Shade is no longer in control of his own shadows.

 Includes THE FLASH: REBIRTH #1 and THE FLASH #1-13!

Verdict

Possibly one of the strongest opening chapters for one of the DC Heroes in the Rebirth Era. The Flash not only utilizes the introduction of the Rebirth era’s most promising mystery, (the individual responsible for changing the timeline), and bringing the original Wally West back into the DC Universe, but also the first volume of Barry Allen’s Rebirth story brings new speedsters into the mix. Some rise to become heroes both in Central City and worldwide, while others become some of the DC Universe’s next great speedster threats. A big full of emotion, betrayal, love and secrets, this is a master class in storytelling and one of the best entries of the Rebirth era yet.

Batman: Night of the Monster Men

(Batman (2016) #1.5)

by Steve Orlando (Writer), Tom King (Goodreads Author) (Consultant), Tim Seeley (Goodreads Author) (Consultant), James Tynion IV (Consultant), Riley Rossmo (Artist), Ivan Plascencia (Colourist), Deron Bennett (Letterer)

Synopsis

The first crossover of the “Rebirth” era is here! As a huge storm approaches Gotham City, Batman, Batwoman and Nightwing try and prepare for the worst, but nothing can prepare them for enormous monsters rampaging through the streets! Batman will need all of his allies to unite in order to stop these mad science monsters from tearing their city apart! Will the Dark Knight, Batwoman, Nightwing, Robin, Spoiler, Orphan and Clayface be enough? And who is the mastermind behind it all?

Collects BATMAN #7-8, NIGHTWING #5-6 and DETECTIVE COMICS #941-942. 

Verdict

Probably the strongest way to kickstart the first crossover of the Rebirth era, DC brings the Bat family and new allies to the forefront as a battle is waged on multiple fronts. While one of the deadliest storms in years to hit Gotham forces the citizens to seek higher ground, Hugo Strange makes his villainous return as he unleashes the Monster Men, grotesque monsters made up of the bodies of victims left in the morgue. With the power to infect others and create more monsters, Batman and his allies must fight to not only help Gotham survive, but stop the monster plague working its way through the city. With allies targeted and possibly turned, Batman is pushed to the limits and learns how important teamwork truly is in this strong crossover event. 

Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition

(Batman (2016) #3.5)

by Joshua Williamson (Contributor), Tom King (Goodreads Author), Jason Fabok (Illustrator), Howard Porter (Illustrator)

Synopsis

THE NEXT PIVOTAL CHAPTER OF THE DC REBIRTH!

An unseen force has been manipulating our world. The only clue they left behind is a strange bloodstained yellow button. Where did it come from? Who left it here? The button could easily be the most important object in not just our world, but in every world – which is why the Reverse-Flash will kill to possess it!

In BATMAN/THE FLASH: THE BUTTON, all-star creative team Joshua Williamson, Tom King, Jason Fabok and Howard Porter answer the critical question poised at the start of Rebirth: Who’s been watching the DC Universe? Collecting BATMAN #21-22 and THE FLASH #21-22, the road to DOOMSDAY CLOCK begins here!

Verdict

One of the best crossovers of the Rebirth era has to be The Batman and The Flash in “The Button”. Diving head first into the mystery of the smiley face button found embedded into Batman’s wall in the Batcave, the mystery becomes deadlier as Eobard Thawne is awakened, his memories of the Flashpoint returning and his mission for revenge drawing him to Batman’s headquarters. The attack shockingly ends with Eobard running into the Speed Force to find the power responsible for disrupting the natural order of things, only to come back in a shocking way. The mystery takes the two heroes into the Speed Force, where Batman must confront a shocking figure and The Flash fights to determine who has been messing with the DC Universe as a whole. It is a stellar arc that brings two of DC’s most popular heroes together in a rare treat for fans. 

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, Vol. 1: Sinestro’s Law

(Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #1)

by Robert Venditti (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Ethan Van Sciver (Artist), Rafa Sandoval (Penciler), Jordi Tarragona (Inker), Tomeu Morey (Colourist), Dave Sharpe (Letterer), Jason Wright (Colourist)

Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth! 

Hal Jordan is about to go from the head of the Green Lantern Corps to an army of one. Jordan’s long, illustrious–and tumultuous–tenure with the Corps takes several hairpin turns. At lightspeed. Toward a black hole. In a blender!

For starters, the Green Lantern Corps has disappeared, and now Sinestro’s own Corps enforces his uniquely brutal brand of law and order in the universe. As a result, Jordan has no ring to sling, or Sector 2814 (a.k.a. Earth) to protect. (So more of the usual for Hal!) 

Green Lantern veteran Robert Venditti teams up with Rafa Sandoval and Ethan Van Sciver to pilot Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps, Vol. 1: Sinestro’s Law!

CollectingHal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps 1-7, Rebirth 

Verdict

A fantastic start to the Rebirth era of the Green Lantern Corps. Not only does it return Hal Jordan to the spotlight as the most powerful and heroic of the Green Lanterns, but it doubles down on his potential as he develops a new power that even shocks the remaining Guardians. With a slew of galaxies in fear as the Sinestro Corps establishes themselves as the supreme law, Hal must face the might of Sinestro in a major battle to show the universe that the power of will and hope is far stronger than fear. Featuring the fate of the rest of the Green Lantern Corps and a new era in the Corps’ history, this is a must read for any GL fan! 

Doctor Strange: Damnation

(Doctor Strange: Damnation #1-4)

by Donny CatesNick SpencerRod Reis (Illustrator), Szymon Kudranski (Illustrator)

Synopsis

The city of sin gets its biggest sinner yet. When Doctor Strange raises Las Vegas up from its destruction during SECRET EMPIRE, he inadvertently opens a big door for the embodiment of evil, MEPHISTO! The devilish villain takes the city for himself and sets his sights on the rest of the world. It’s going to take heroes from all over the Marvel Universe to defeat him, but there’s nothing simple about fighting the lord of Hell. Who escapes alive, who escapes undead and who doesn’t escape at all? DAMNATION is going out in a blaze of glory, and you GOTTA see who gets burned!

COLLECTING: DOCTOR STRANGE: DAMNATION 1-4 

Verdict

The Marvel Universe was left reeling after the shocking and controversial events of Secret Empire. With the heroes left scrambling to return the publics trust in them, Doctor Strange feels compelled to bring life back into the world, and does the unthinkable: brings Las Vegas back to life, along with everyone in it. However things don’t go as planned, (as they rarely do for Stephen Strange), and not only does he become imprisoned by the evil Mephisto, but the Avengers who come to his aid become pawns in the demonic villain’s game with the Sorcerer Supreme as well. That leaves Stephen’s friend Wong to gather the worlds best supernatural fighters and morally flexible heroes to gather in an unprecedented way, showing a new kind of team that is pushed to the limits and takes readers through some surprising twists and turns they won’t see coming. A truly must read event for longtime Dr. Strange and Marvel fans. 

Posted in Comic Book Roundup

Comic Book Round-Up #4: July 19th, 2019

Spider-Verse (Collected Edition)

by Dan Slott (Text), Christos Gage (Text), Dave Williams (Illustrator), David Hine (Goodreads Author) (Text), Paul Smith (Illustrator), Fabrice Sapolsky (Text), Gerry Conway (Text), Giuseppe Camuncoli (Illustrations)

Synopsis

Someone is working their way through the multiverse, leaving a trail of dead spiders in their wake! As the Superior Spider-Man faces this foe in the future, MC2’s Spider-Girl finds herself under attack! From 1602 to the era of Noir, from a spider-powered Gwen Stacy to the world-famous Spider-Ham, spider-themed heroes everywhere, in every world, begin to falter and fall. How can “our” Spider-Man possibly hope to survive against this unstoppable interdimensional onslaught? Guest-starring every Spider-Man ever…and then some! Spider-UK, Sp//dr, Scarlet Spiders, Spider-Woman, Spider-Man 2099…can any of them survive the arrival of Morlun?

COLLECTING: Amazing Spider-Man 7-15, Superior Spider-Man 32-33, Free Comic Book Day 2014 (Guardians of the Galaxy) 1 (5 page Spider-Man story), Spider-Verse 1-2, Spider-Verse Team-Up 1-3, Scarlet Spiders 1-3, Spider-Woman 1-4, Spider-Man 2099 6-8

Verdict

A strong new chapter in the Spider-Man mythos. Anything to do with the concept of the multiverse always intrigues me, and the exploration of so many different versions and iterations of a Spider hero in the Marvel Universe was evenly explored with the lore of the deadly and mysterious new villains the Inheritors. Seeing how these multiversal heroes interact with one another and the different combinations of illustration styles made this a truly engaging read, and took the Spider-Man lore into a fresh new direction that I cannot wait to explore more. 

Spider-Geddon: Edge of Spider-Geddon

(Spider-Verse (Collected Editions) #2.1)

by Jed Mackay

Synopsis 

Spider-Punk is back and better than ever. After SPIDER-VERSE, Hobie Brown was a Web-Warrior, but that didn’t mean things back in his universe were solved. The writer of the Spider-Punk story in SPIDER-VERSE is back and joined by VENOM’s Gerardo Sandoval! Spider-Punk’s Earth is under attack both on the ground and from space, meaning his responsibility seems to outweigh his power. After Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance, The Umbrella Academy) and Jake Wyatt created SP//dr back in SPIDERVERSE, she was one of the most requested heroes. With Spider-Geddon on the horizon, SP//dr is back. Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler are joining the team to bring you the next chapter in Peni Parker’s life and set the table for the Spider-Event of 2018!

COLLECTING: EDGE OF SPIDER-GEDDON 1-4, SUPERIOR OCTOPUS 1 

Verdict

After the events of Spider-Verse, it was hard for me to see how much further the storyline of the multiversal Spider Force could go. Yet this next chapter in the Inheritor saga was a great introduction into the deadliest chapter of the Spider-Man mythos yet. Getting to dive head first into the various worlds of the Spiders, from Hobie Brown’s Spider-Punk to the incredible new SP//dr story based on Umbrella Academy writer and My Chemical Romance lead singer Gerard Way’s original Spider-Verse creation, giving a more tech based Spider hero the spotlight she deserves. This is a great way to jump into the action and see the buildup to Spider-Geddon’s epic story. 

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Spider-Geddon: Covert Ops

(Spider-Verse (Collected Editions) #2.2)

by Christopher J. PriestJody Houser (Goodreads Author), Paulo Siqueira (Illustrator), Andres Genolet (Illustrator)

Synopsis

KAINE & SPIDER-WOMAN lead a rough and ready crew of Spiders on a mission to save the multi-verse that will almost certainly lead to their deaths! Spiders you love and a few new ones will risk it all to stop the Inheritors from unleashing the ultimate foe! All hands are needed in the fight to defeat the Inheritors-this time for good! Meanwhile: Anya Corazon leads a hopeful team of young heroes to investigate a legend of the Spider Society that may hold the key. If science brought the Inheritors back, maybe ancient magic can

put them away. 

COLLECTING: SPIDER-FORCE 1-3, SPIDER-GIRLS 1-3 

Verdict

Getting to explore the various differences between the Spider army in this Spider-Geddon tie in was a breath of fresh air. From the deadly, hopeless situation Kaine, Jessica Drew and other Spiders find themselves in when facing the wrath of an Inheritor, to the more hopeful and emotional struggle of Anya, May and a new Spider hero who may hold the key to stopping the Inheritors once and for all, this story has many twists and turns that will both shock and excite longtime fans of the Spider-Man lore. 

Spider-Geddon

(Spider-Verse (Collected Editions) #2)

by Christos Gage (Text), Clayton Crain (Illustrations)

Synopsis 

SPIDERGEDDON IS HERE! The end of all Spiders doesn’t exclude the star of the most anticipated video game of 2018! How does he enter the Marvel Universe and what role will he play in the final chapter of SPIDER-VERSE?!

COLLECTING: SPIDER-GEDDON 0-5, SPIDER-GEDDON: VAULT OF SPIDERS 1-2

Verdict

A fantastic story in the Spider-Man lore that has been building since the first pages of Spider-Verse. The Spider-Geddon event explores many great aspects of the major Marvel Event. From Peter Parker’s fight for survival against his deadly Inheritor nemesis Morlun to the battle for leadership between Miles Morales and Otto Octavius, aka Ultimate Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man, this story has a lot of surprises in store for longtime fans of this story. The shocking deaths, new Spider-heroes and major battles with the Inheritors will leave fans on the edge of their seat as they wait to see who will survive, and who will win. 

Batwoman, Vol. 1: The Many Arms of Death

(Batwoman (2017) #1)

by Marguerite BennettJames Tynion IVSteve EptingStephanie HansRenato Arlem

Synopsis

Batwoman returns with her own series in BATWOMAN VOL. 1, as a part of DC Rebirth!

The newest chapter of Batwoman’s life begins here! Monster Venom is the hottest new bioweapon on the market…and to break up the syndicate spreading it around the world, Batwoman’s going to have to return to the place where she spent some of her darkest hours! 

With writing from Marguerite Bennett (DC BOMBSHELLS) and James Tynion IV (DETECTIVE COMICS), as well as spectacular art from Steve Epting (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER) and Ben Oliver (THE MULTIVERSITY), this new series spins directly out of the smash hit DETECTIVE COMICS series! 

BATWOMAN VOL. 1 collects issues #1-6 and the one-shot special BATWOMAN: REBIRTH #1. 

Verdict

With her live-action debut set to arrive in just a few months time on the CW, Batwoman is quickly showcasing why she is one of DC Comic’s fan favorite heroes. The first chapter in her Rebirth storyline explores Kate Kane’s dark past, especially what is known as her “Lost Year”. Forced to come face to face with old allies, older foes and a new threat that threatens to tear the world apart, Kate must navigate the familiar waters of a place she once called home, and must learn to own the mistakes and pain of her past in order to overcome the threat that looms over her and the world at large. The story does an amazing job of exploring the emotional core of Batwoman as a person while also highlighting her never ending determination to never stop fighting in the face of impossible odds, which makes her such a great character and hero to explore. 

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Green Arrow, Vol. 1: The Death & Life of Oliver Queen

(Green Arrow (2016) #1)

by Benjamin Percy (Goodreads Author), Otto Schmidt (Artist), Juan Ferreyra (Artist)

Synopsis 

Part of the most critically acclaimed, best-selling, all-new line of volume one graphic novels, DC Universe Rebirth!

By day he’s Oliver Queen, playboy socialite, CEO of Queen Industries and philanthropic do-gooder. But at night he patrols the streets of Seattle, where he champions the oppressed as a true social justice warrior. He is Green Arrow.

But how can you fight the man when you are the man? That’s the question left with Oliver after an electric, love-at-first-sight encounter with Black Canary, the superhero rock star who challenges everything he thought he knew about protecting the innocent. As if that weren’t enough, a sinister organization with ties to his nearest and dearest prepares to tear down Oliver’s financial empire, destroy his family’ s legacy and end his life.

Without fortune or friends, can Green Arrow defeat this unholy alliance of traitors? Or has death finally caught up with Oliver Queen?

Discover the shocking answers in GREEN ARROW VOL. 1: THE DEATH AND LIFE OF OLIVER QUEEN, the surprise hit series from writer BENJAMIN PERCY (TEEN TITANS), gorgeously illustrated by OTTO SCHMIDT (Korvac Saga) and JUAN FERREYRA (NEW SUICIDE SQUAD) and exploding from the blockbuster DC Universe Rebirth event! Collects GREEN ARROW: REBIRTH #1 and GREEN ARROW #1-5.

Verdict

A truly strong start to the Rebirth era of Green Arrow comics. DC has done a great job of jumping feet first into the new status quo for Oliver Queen, showcasing an established if not rocky relationship with his newfound younger sister Emiko, (hiding a secret of her own), a chance meeting with the powerful hero Black Canary, and put Oliver’s convictions to the test when he must chose between the money that funds his life and his crusade as the Green Arrow and the lives closest to him. Bringing a strong new foe into the fold and exploring the darker side of DC Comic’s vigilante stories, this is a great starting off point for the new era of Green Arrow. 

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Chuck Regan

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I always enjoyed telling stories since I was a kid, but my focus had 
always been on illustration – I really wanted to be a comic book 
creator. In 2003, I self-published four issues of a dark science fantasy 
series called “Nether: The Age of Maga” (no connection to the current 
administration’s tag phrase) and as I dived deep into plotting out the 
series, I got more invested in the craft of prose. I found I could 
express a lot more in writing than just with pictures and speech 
balloons. If I had pursued that story in comic form, it would have taken 
me a couple of lifetimes to tell the story I wanted to tell. The comic 
book wasn’t successful enough to sustain production, so I switched gears 
and focused on writing.

In 2008 I finished my first novel, but it had a lot of flaws, so I filed 
it away and continued putting in my hours, reading and writing good and 
bad prose. My first short story for pay was accepted for publication in 
2011 in ‘Space and Time’ magazine. I’ve had 25 short stories and three 
novellas published to date.

None of it pays the rent yet, but I’m working on that part, building my 
library.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

A weird commingling of inspirations fueled the world of Stormkind. The 
ones that are right out in front are ‘The Watchmen’ by Moore and 
Gibbons, ‘Powers’ by Bendis and Oeming, ‘Marshal Law’ by Mills and 
O’Neill, and ‘Marvels’ by Busiek and Ross.

My day job for years had been a graphic designer for advertising 
agencies, so the starting point for this series was writing from the 
perspective of a guy who designed the costumes and logos for 
under-powered, noob superheroes. That character, Sven, made it into Book 
One, but as a very minor character. His sarcastic, so-over-it attitude 
spilled into Bloodstock, who ended up becoming the main character of the 
series. More details about Bloodstock will be drip fed to readers in 
subsequent books.

And then the movie Deadpool came out, and the concept began to gel. 
Bloodstock first appeared in a short story intended to be published with 
Zelmer Pulp, a collective of writers with whom I got a real taste for 
telling a broad range of stories. Each ZP anthology collection had a 
different theme – zombies, westerns, sci-fi, noir, etc. and we edited 
each others’ work. It was a great way to stay inspired. After five 
anthologies, we wanted to do a superhero noir theme, and I went bonkers 
worldbuilding a shared universe for the other writers to play in. That 
work is published on the History page of the Stormkind website. 
(http://www.chuckregan.com/stormkind/history.html)

Yeah, I went to a very geeky, very manic place. I wanted enough 
structure so I could tell consistent stories for a long time to come. 
That Bloodstock short story will be published in an anthology of 
Stormkind characters, some of which were mentioned in the footnotes.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your
book?

The core theme of the series is focused on answering the question ‘What 
is a hero?’ Is it a set of rules, or a gut instinct driven by altruism? 
Is it past-life karma moving a hero to act, or yesterday’s guilt? Is a 
character driven by heart or head? Which character’s actions serve their 
ego, and which actions serve a greater good? And how does each of us act 
under stress? Why?

I have always been a fan of Star Wars. Hell, the original trilogy was my 
religion growing up, so I guess I was trying to channel my inner Yoda 
trying to answer these questions. Hopefully, between all the snark and 
destruction, readers will start to answer these questions in their own 
lives.

Beyond all this pretentious babble, I just hope they have fun reading 
it.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Honestly, I don’t know. It just kind of grabbed hold of my enthusiasm, 
and momentum did the rest. The series will drift into some seriously 
messed up supernatural weirdness – that’s where all my stories typically 
end up – but I never really entertained writing about superheroes 
before.

I enjoyed The Flash and Batman as a kid. Later, X-men and New Mutants, 
but I always preferred reading stuff in the vein of DC’s Vertigo line, 
where ‘superheroes’ were mostly a sidebar to the esoteric adventures of 
characters like John Constantine.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me acting at the bidding of Causal 
Balance.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would
you ask them and why?

Thaddeus Ormond, no question. He knows what’s going on on many levels. 
He’s been to other alternate-Earths. More on him in Book Two. If Nikola 
Tesla and Elon Musk had a love child, that’s Ormond.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your
readership?

Honestly, I didn’t put much effort into marketing through social media 
or any other venue. The only one I used was Facebook. I decided at some 
point I’d rather put in my hours writing ten books that ten people 
enjoyed than dealing with the black abyss of marketing. This is all just 
a fun hobby for me. If other people find it and like it, great.

I really appreciate you letting me tell everyone who visits your blog 
how awful a businessperson I am!

And I’m very glad you enjoyed the story!

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out
there?

Use writing to learn about yourself. Let your characters make the 
choices you don’t feel safe making for yourself. Only when your writing 
is personal will it have real meaning. And don’t expect to make any 
money. That will kill your inspiration and honesty. Write only for 
yourself.

That said, put in your time. Just write. If you are a ‘pantser’ – 
writing by the seat of your pants, I can’t offer any advice. Pantsing 
only works for me with short stories.

For longer works, I needed to figure out a reliable method of plotting. 
After going through half the goddamn books on the planet about plotting, 
I found that ‘Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook’ by Donald Maass and 
‘The Anatomy of Story’ by John Truby were most helpful. Once I figured 
out what my plot was, I could finally feel safe investing the time in 
writing each chapter.

You ever see ‘A Beautiful Mind’? When the Professor’s wife discovers the 
shed with the insane notes, drawings, clippings, and colored string 
linking all his thoughts? That’s what I was doing before I discovered 
these plotting methods.

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8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects
on the horizon?

I re-tooled that comic book series, Nether, into a novel series, and am 
shopping the first book around to literary agents. The working title 
(this week) is ‘Flames of Naraka.’ It takes place five thousand years in 
the future on a demon-infested post-apocalyptic Earth – kind of a ‘Lord 
of the Rings’ meets ‘Star Wars’. The second book is 75% complete. I 
plotted it out to book six.

‘Little Agony’ is a novel about the third generation of Martian 
colonists living in a corrupt dystopia. Inspired by ‘The Grapes of 
Wrath’ and ‘Firefly’, this was my first attempt at a novel. I’m working 
on rewrite number eight.

Yeah, I’m a big geek who lives on caffeine.

Posted in reviews

For Blood Or Justice: Stormkind: Book One by Chuck Regan Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Today I am honored to be joined by guest reviewer Aly Avina, who read and reviewed this amazing book and is here now to share her thoughts with you about the novel. Thank you to Aly for taking the time to give her thoughts on this book to us and to author Chuck Regan for sharing his novel with us all. I hope you all will enjoy. – Anthony Avina


The Synopsis

After a hundred years of heroes, gods, and monsters tearing the world apart, governments resort to extreme measures in attempts to regain control. The year is 1982. U.S. President

Kirkpatrick has instituted harsh penalties against unlicensed vigilantism while secretly funding a program to create an army of super-powered agents. After newly-registered hero Scamp is arrested for murder, he must choose to either reveal his true identity and become a slave to the state, or cling to the fleeting hope of redemption.

– – –

Just what is a “hero”? What qualifies someone to be considered a true hero—one moment’s action, or a lifetime’s pursuit of an ideal? A costumed disguise is, by nature, deception, and deceptiveness is by no stretch a heroic characteristic. But what if deception were necessary to safely and routinely perform acts of heroism? And when might heroic intentions become overpowered by self-serving actions? How might a set of rules meant to assure proper behavior for heroes become a means to hide corrupt intentions? When does blind vengeance serve justice? If there was a universal system for rating heroic intent, how would you or I measure?

FOR BLOOD OR JUSTICE is the first book in the STORMKIND series of novellas and short stories which will attempt to offer answers to these and other questions. Stormkind will delve

into the spiritual/karmic drive of heroism, including the impact of past lives on the present and an entirely new mythology of good and evil entities.

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The Review

Chuck Regan has created a vivid and dynamic world in his new superhero noir series, For Blood or Justice: Stormkind. The novella features a world filled with costumed vigilantes with amazing superpowers. This alternate universe begins almost 100 years ahead of the events that take place in Book One. In the 1890s, the Ghosa meteor crashed in the Indian Ocean, effectively filling the Earth with some unknown form of radiation.

By 1912, this caused pubescent children to be afflicted with a disease called The Wrack. This meant they either died, became some form of mutant, or were given super abilities. The latter group was a rare one to be in.

These superpowered individuals are known as Stormkind. So when we fast forward to the 1980s, we meet Dan Haeckel, who works at a comic book shop and has recently discovered he has powers. While Dan is eager to become a Stormkind, his friend Scott doesn’t make that entirely easy for him to stay on the straight and narrow.

One of the most incredible parts about reading this novella is immersing yourself in this fascinating world that Regan has created. Dan is relatable in his geeky nature while the

Stormkind world has aspects that is reminiscent of our own real world. The fact that there are registered and unregistered vigilantes made the story that much more exciting, as well.

I definitely enjoyed the addition of footnotes at the end of the chapters because it added more understanding to the world that Regan had created and allowed me to fully dive into this universe headfirst.

Bloodstock was a favorite character of mine with his unique powers and wonderful personality. This true crime detective struggled with his powers at times and had a depth to him that made him one of the most exciting characters to follow. Though, I do wish he had been in it more.

The final act was packed with plenty of action that will leave the readers shocked by the actions of the villains and what is taking place before them, but it is done wonderfully so.

The Verdict

For any superhero fan, this is one you won’t want to miss. It is a fresh take on the superhero genre with the added flair of noir in the mix. While it definitely could use more powerful female characters, this first installment was meant to be “the boy’s club” of superheroes. So you’ll definitely get your female heroes fix when Book Two comes out and they will approach things differently than the original heroes you met.

Book One questions what it means to be a hero and what justifies their non-heroic actions. This universe will suck you in and it’s heart-pounding action will keep you there. Be sure to get your copy of “For Blood or Justice: Stormkind: Book One” when it’s released June 1st, 2019!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Chuck Regan began his career writing and illustrating comic books. In 2013, he became a regular contributor to Zelmer Pulp, and has since published 25 short stories, and 3 novellas in the speculative fiction, horror, and noir genres.

Chuck continues to develop several novels, including a military space western about colonists on Mars, a Lovecraftian alternative history World War II, and a post-apocalyptic dark science fantasy based on his comic series Nether.

Links:

FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/Stormkind-2129740220599313/

http://www.chuckregan.com/stormkind/

http://www.chuckregan.com

About Guest Reviewer Aly Avina

Aly Avina is a Southern California-based freelance writer and blogger. She is always looking for her next great book to read. She also loves curling up with Netflix and her dog, Charlie.

https://www.instagram.com/alymarieavina/

https://www.thegamer.com/author/alyssa_avina/

https://screenrant.com/author/alyssa_avina/

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Stephan Morse

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Writing came about from a failed project in the 5th grade. It was a bad fiction where I turned into a dragon and burned some other child in class I hated for reasons that were probably silly. We ended up meeting Ursula Le Quin (I believe, this was decades ago well before I’d read her books) as part of a school event. Between those two events, I’d always had an interest in writing novels. It only grew as I went through Junior High and High School and read anything fantasy related in three libraries. It took some time before I dared to write my own novels and release them to the public.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

 I tend to read a dozen or so books as part of my recharge process. over a few month span.  The Fiasco came about from a superhero kick, where I read nearly anything my Kindle could find from the genre. During this reading spree I’d been editing prior works, prepping some for release on eReaders, and so on. I wanted to try something new – a way to see a new story in an older setting. Comics, movies, and even a few old audio novels all played their part in inspiring The Fiasco but I feel like I managed something new(ish), which is my first goal when writing.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

It’s less about theme and more about exploring the rest of a world that others may ignore. As an example, my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe were the ones that fell between the cracks – specifically the Morlocks. They weren’t good enough to fit on a team, they weren’t powerful enough to be villains or anything else, and generally ugly enough that everyone gave them dirty looks. I loved these people because they were living a real life. They had day jobs and failure to fit in with normal crowds. They were the most developed characters because their plight started well before mainstream heroes started addressing life behind the mask.That sunk in, misfits among misfits.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

The Fiasco’s superhero sort of ideas were a weird mix of every other mainstream series – since I’d spent so much time reading superhero novels. That being said, probably Marvel’s universe had the biggest impact on a desire to write in the genre. It’s simply been around so long that nearly everything else shares some inspiration from their works. Heck, I grew up reading comics (and compulsively sorting them). But I couldn’t let my work be a carbon copy of the classic coming of age and learning to use powers for great justice sort of tale. It couldn’t be about stopping the big bad from ruining the world in their ill thought out megalomaniac plot. It became about the captives left behind, the person who’s forced to be in all these powered events. The man who’s simply tired of being in the super powered world because he’s never the actual hero or a catharsis seeking vigilante/villain.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

There’s a lot of stuff I’d ask my characters – and constantly are things I’m asking them. I could pick Ted, who’s the first book’s semi villain and sort of mentor. His role is complicated because people are rarely one dimensional. He wants to get back at those who ruined his life and took away his daughter. He wants to make his wife see that there are some forces which are unstoppable – that losing their kid wasn’t his fault, but he also wants Adam to answer for his reactive role in everything that goes on. But because I know all those things, asking him his motivation seems weird.So, any question I ask has to be really out of the way.

Like, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten and where was it? That’s a question I may never have an answer to. So now, I really want to know.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Facebook, hands down. I have my little author page and hang out in a few groups that focus on the same genre as my main series. It’s fun interacting with the readers who ping me when topics come up. I try to avoid self promotion and generally only pop by when someone messages me about a post – but Facebook lets me see what people think about the work, and that’s always an awe inspiring moment.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Finish a book. Don’t restart it 10 times. Don’t edit it until you’re drowning and hate yourself. Finish it. Quality aside, knowing that you have finished a book means a ton. It was the greatest thing I ever did.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

More books, more writing. But real life and the day job take precedence over putting together novels. However, now that I’ve started – I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop. There will be two more books for The Fiasco eventually, bringing the series to a close. There’ll be some virtual reality based books along with western fantasy mashups. Ideas tend to occur faster than my fingers can type.