Cat Ellington’s review of Injustice 2 (2017-) #24

Injustice 2 (2017-) #24Injustice 2 (2017-) #24 by Tom Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this, the 24th issue of a graphic narrative collection influenced by the highly acclaimed series, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Bruce Wayne’s ever faithful butler, Alfred, is risen from the dead and determined to conform Wayne’s Batman and League of Assassins honcho, the flagitious Ra’s al Ghul (who also happens to be Damian Wayne’s grandfather), into the sincerest of world-saving allies.

The newly resurrected Alfred, in his elder wisdom, speaks in a serene and sensible voice that his listeners, including Batman, Ra’s, Damian, Batgirl, Talia, and Luke, all seem to be falling under the hypnotically obedient spell of. But just as Batman and Ra’s—Batman’s most egregious adversary, mind you—are beginning to deeply consider Alfred’s advice on teaming up to salvage the world at large together, Blue Beetle arrives, uninvited . . . and all Demon’s Head hell breaks loose.

Artfully created by the talented quartet of Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Juan Albarran, and Rex Lokus, the 23-page, 10-minute read that is Injustice 2 (2017-) #24 excitedly offers what only a superhero anecdote set in the DC Universe can: fun-filled excitement, character fascination, vivid illustration, vigilantism, and a good old-fashioned supply of self-destructive villiany.

Produced in a gorgeous russet color scheme, Injustice 2 (2017-) #24 is keen on dialogue, evocative in visual graphic, and not an edition that should be missed by any enthusiast following the series.

Great job, gentlemen.

Five . . . Lazarus Pits stars.

Thank you to Kindle, ComiXology, and DC Comics for the complimentary copy of Injustice 2 (2017-) #24. Indeed, it had been a genuinely pleasurable read.

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Cat Ellington’s review of Harley Quinn and Batman (2017-) #1

Harley Quinn and Batman (2017-) #1Harley Quinn and Batman (2017-) #1 by Ty Templeton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The maniacal action gets underway at the Joker’s headquarters—located in a warehouse on the outskirts of Gotham City—on a Thursday night…

While preparing to poison the fine citizens of Gotham with a special batch of hot sauce that he prepared for the Gotham City Barbecue Festival, the Clown Prince has his wickedly inspired plans foiled by none other than the Caped Crusader, Nightwing, and believe it or not, Harley Quinn, who has inexcusably betrayed her big daddy, Mistah J, in a fit of petty jealousy. And why? Well, because Joker had photos of Batman pasted all over the walls of his war room . . . and not a single one of her.

But madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little pushhhh.

Scribed by Ty Templeton and illustrated by Rick Burchett in the nostalgic style of Batman: The Animated Series, produced by DC Comics and Warner Bros. during the 1990s, Harley Quinn and Batman (2017-) #1 is the slapstick humorous, 23-page prequel to DCUA’s original motion picture, Batman and Harley Quinn, which had two separate release dates: July 21, 2017 (San Diego Comic-Con), and August 14, 2017 (theatrical).

Despite its rather fragmentary dialogue, this comic narrative’s storyboard illustration and color scheme compensate measurably for what it lacks in script. And being an admiring buff of Joker and Harley Quinn, I found the 20-minute read equitably enjoyable.

Also, those of you potential readers may be interested to know that Commissioner Gordon and Poison Ivy both make appropriate appearances in this characteristically zany issue.

Have fun . . . everyone.

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Cat Ellington’s review of Richard Grant #1

Richard Grant #1Richard Grant #1 by Daniel Pierre

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Illustrated in the classic film noir style of Bob Kane and Frank Miller, Daniel Pierre’s Richard Grant #1 is a relatively energetic graphic novel centered around its chief protagonist, a disconsolate African American man named Richard Grant.

As the dark, fugitive graphic pulls away from the platform and makes its way to a setting place that is the rooftop of a highrise building in an urban cityscape, the reader is introduced to the forlorn leading man, Grant, by virtue of a two-way conversation in effect between the same and one officer Luke Reed, who just so happens to be on the building’s roof attempting to talk the crestfallen Richard Grant out of committing suicide by jumping from the edge of the structure to the concrete below.

With his own embittered coward of a life malevolently mocking him, daring and begging him to quickly relieve it of its misery, Richard Grant’s suicidal contemplation is being blamed on his ex-wife, Gabby, with whom the demoralized protagonist is engaged in an aggressive custody battle which involves the ill-fated couple’s two children. Officer Reed listens, compassionately, as Richard witnesses to him about how the acerbic Gabby is doing everything in her spiteful power to keep her loathsome ex-husband who is Richard estranged from his dearly beloved children. And the more the frazzled mouth of Richard speaks, the closer to the roof’s edge his feet get.

Officer Luke Reed endeavors to discourage Richard Grant from carrying out a Peter Pan-like dive off the roof, but his strenuous efforts soon prove to be in vain as the emotionally defeated Richard finally jumps—much to the horror of not only officer Reed, but also the huge crowd of onlookers who have gathered themselves together on the ground level.

From there, this 37-page introduction to a series of graphic narratives written by Daniel Pierre and starring Richard Grant, uneasily peels off its awesomely illustrated outer layer only to shamefully expose its abysmally confused soul. Here is where the comic-strip format lost not only me, but also its way.

Presented in beautifully illustrated artwork by Luca Bulgheroni and Davie Chang, Richard Grant #1 breaks forth teeming with a cool, calm and collected confidence that eventually gives way to a hodgepodge of jumbled disorganization.

With respect to Daniel Pierre, he apparently jumped the rails while engineering his vision that is Richard Grant #1. His illustrated storyboards are flawless and his creative vision exuded appreciable potential in its earlier stages, but as the plot chugged along further, derailment became ineluctable.

If you’re like me and classify yourself as an art devotee, then you will by no means be disappointed in the sensational artwork provided by Bulgheroni and Chang; however, it is for a certainty that you may feel a slight tinge of dissatisfaction with the storyline’s outcome.

Hopefully Richard Grant #2—which I do intend to read—will dispense a more enjoyable plot offering.

Thank you, Croc Smile Publishing, for the complimentary copy of Richard Grant #1. It is with unprejudiced anticipation that look forward to reading its follow-up, Richard Grant #2.

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Cat Ellington’s review of Season 7

Season 7Season 7 by D.F. Nightshade

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While making notes during the reading process of the fictional effort that is Season 7, I contemplated the foundation on which I would build this analysis, as well as to what it would be compared. And the Kanamits of “To Serve Man,” a short story written by Damon Knight and published in 1950, had been my first rumination. The inspiration for a Twilight Zone episode of the same title, aired in March of 1962, Knight’s “To Serve Man” featured a gruesome alien race identified as the Kanamits, who too, much like the antagonistic Synetian beings of this narrative, were come to Earth, offering Man “peace and prosperity.”

• Books can be deceiving.

Some novels appear super attractive on the surface and promise a tremendous reading experience in their descriptions, taking off fast in promotion and even garnering thunderous praise from others including any number of those who secretly harbor their own ulterior motives and such. Yet once the reader embarks on his or her journey with these narratives’ plots, they eventually come to realize—as each one unfolds—that all of the ravings were nothing short of empty . . . a huge buffet with absolutely no sustenance.

Other novels, on the contrary, project a more average image and synopsis, shuffling along slowly and luring little to no attention from the hordes—basically existing in the literary shadows being overlooked and ignored. Yet once the reader absorbs into the pages of these unnoticed fictional creations, he or she is dramatically gripped and surprised by the impact of the author’s vision, the narrative’s plot, and the tale’s cast of characters.

D.F. Nightshade’s Season 7 is to be estimated among the latter.

The first few chapters into this novel, I can remember thinking, Is there a point to this? Where the hell is this storyline going? What the hell is this? Nightshade, are you serious? . . . Are you really serious? But as I immersed deeper into the horrid lives of the effort’s characters, my disposition immediately began to alter. And by the time I turned the final page, my thoughts had fallen along the lines of, Damn, this book was good! Man, I wish it could have been longer. Damn, it ended too fast . . .

• Looks can be deceiving.

Human beings, imagine if you were simply living out your lives here on Earth, working jobs or going to school or servicing as homemakers or doing whatever it is that we humans traditionally do in our everyday lives to which we have become accustomed. And you’re getting on, you know, meeting new people, forming new friendships, finding new love, and so forth. Because life is for the living. And you pretty much enjoy living it. You see people everywhere you go. And many of them may resemble you according to their fleshly hues, while many others may not. All-in-all, notwithstanding our outwardly differences, we’re people. Humans. In addition to our skins, we all have hair and eyes of various colors, faces, cheeks, chins, ears, noses, lips, teeth, arms, legs, hands, fingers, feet, toes, torsos, buttocks, breasts, and of course, genitalia.

So despite our array of physical dissimilarities, still, we are all human. Right? But what if you one day encounter someone who is not all that they give you the impression of being?

Should there enter into your life a man or a woman who says to you, out of the blue, that he or she can make you rich, famous, supremely popular, and powerful beyond your wildest imagination, would you believe him or her?

Well, chances are that if you’re flat broke, jobless, friendless, desperate, damn near homeless, and being shooed towards the brink of hopelessness, you would. I mean, who wouldn’t? Right? Who in his or her right mind wouldn’t at least consider it under the aforementioned circumstances? One would be surprised at the things people will do to survive . . . when they feel as though they have nothing left to lose. People like Richard.

Richard did believe those too good to be true words. Richard fell for the possibilities of living such an affluent life hook, line, and sinker. Because Richard, an unappreciated and fired ATON security systems salesman, realized that his wretched life was going nowhere, and he desperately wanted—no, needed—a change. Everything was just coming undone in Richard’s worldly life: his job was unfulfilling, his roommate, Casey, was a sloppy pig, his love life was nonexistent, and without a job, Richard was staring down homelessness. It was only a matter of time . . .

By the way, Richard—perhaps this tale’s Michael Chambers—is our chief protagonist . . . the star of Season 7. And on one fateful night, after leaving a local bar where he had been attempting to drink away his misery, Richard is stopped on the road near the woods by a man who tells him that he’s having car trouble and politely asks Richard if he wouldn’t mind assisting him. His car is stalled only a few feet into the woods. Though hesitant at the outset, Richard agrees to aid the stranger with his disabled vehicle. We now learn that the man is named Nautilus. And once he and Richard reach the incapacitated conveyance, Nautilus then tells Richard (after a bit of normal conversation, of course) that he is in fact an alien from another planet — informing our star protagonist that he, Richard, is the “Special One,” and that awaiting him on Nautilus’s home planet is a kingship . . . a monarchical position of great power and influence. Nautilus continues to freak out the perplexed Richard by removing his finger rings which reveal his true non human image, and fills Richard in on the dilemma troubling his alien nativity, which is that there is a centuries-old war in progress between the alien inhabitants of Middonia and its neighboring city of Brare, and that only an Earthling, namely Richard, can return peace and prosperity to the troubled Synetian planet. Nautilus stresses to Richard that he is the “Special One” and must travel to the Synetian planet at once to rule . . .

In his skepticism, Richard comes to a typical conclusion: run like hell! But before Richard can run like hell, Nautilus touches him and Richard is instantly transported into another dimension, to an extraterrestrial planet that has two moons and a terrifying alien population who atrociously abhor humans . . . with a passion. And these would include Nautilus.

While these extraterritorial beings trespass on Earth (in human disguise and with gentle dispositions) promising unsuspecting souls liberty and fame and rulership and wealth and riches on their aboriginal planet, their kosher purpose is to simply abduct these impressionable humans, return with them to their nativity, and in all due time, horrendously slaughter the same . . . in the most grotesque of methods.

Here lies Season 7 . . . set on a strange planet where human beings are the “recruits,” and hypothetical beings are the ruling class; where alien emperors conduct bone-chilling destructions against their human abductees in the spirit of ancient Rome’s Circus Maximus; where giant extraterrestrial serpents ingest human beings whole; where human “recruits” are subjected to unspeakable forms of torture and torment for the amusement of the alien emperors and their recruiters; where humans are forced to obliterate their own kind in the fight for survival; where the human mind descends into madness; where abducted humans have absolutely no way of escape . . .

In this eerily dark fiction, the alien inhabitants of a peripheral celestial have established an annual tradition known as the Seasons, in which the planet’s governing emperors send “recruiters” on Earthly missions to deceive and capture unwary humans. These deceptive beings, after falsely befriending the Earthlings, then tell their targeted humans a multitude of untruths concerning their planet and its war woes, and how the fraught native beings desperately need humankind to intervene and take full precedence over the despairing situations. Sounding convincing enough, they manage to sway some but not all. And those gullible humans who are enticed to foolishly believe the scripted words soon find themselves ensnared in the grievous fangs of the Beast . . . like sheep delivered to the slaughter.

Richard, along with a small bunch of other human captives, were all “recruited” for Season 7. And it would have been better for these people had they been born dead than to have come into life and full growth only to end up in an infernal celestial world with no unequivocal way out.

Just the premise of this science fiction thriller will make the reader’s blood run cold. And D.F. Nightshade does a terrifically entertaining job with the briskly-paced plot and the sneakily detailed character development.

With a compulsive pagination of 162, Season 7 is a butter-smooth and tremendously congenial, albeit nightmarish, read that enthusiasts of the sci/fi thriller genre are for a surety to embrace.

In spite of a few grammatical errors that can easily be corrected in edited re-issues, the typos humbly pale in comparison to the narrative’s outlandishly exciting storyline. I was very surprised at Season 7, as the effort’s script unfurled before my very eyes one way and emerged from its shell before my very eyes seven different ways. And although it gets off to a rather slow, uninteresting start, D.F. Nightshade’s Season 7 gains its footing in motion, delivering to its reader a fairly satisfactory plot with an ending, however abrupt, worth waiting for.

A sequel, please?

I would indeed recommend Season 7 to those of you who love your sci/fi thriller casseroles gooey gory with one teaspoon of creepy suspense blended into the story.

Bon Appétit.

• It is my kindly pleasure to thank Lulu Publishing, as well as D.F. Nightshade himself, for the author-issued copy of Season 7 in exchange for my honest review.

Analysis of “Season 7” by D.F. Nightshade is courtesy of Reviews by Cat Ellington:

Date of Review: Friday, October 6, 2017

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Cat Ellington’s review of The Apollyon Game

The Apollyon GameThe Apollyon Game by Clive Reznor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There once lived a very wise old woman who’d spoken to another wise woman—of her kinship—the following words:

‘When people die and go to Heaven, they don’t want to come back to the land of the living; but when people die and go to Hell, they can’t come back to the land of the living.’

Are you familiar with Apollyon? If not, my fellow reader, allow me to share a bit of knowledge with you concerning this particular spiritual being of otherworldly existence.

During my teenage years, as a high school student, I had been what’s called a headbanger. No, not THAT kind of headbanger (get your dirty mind straight — laughs), but a metal head … A fan of heavy metal music, respectively. And though I loved metal in general, I took a special liking to its subgenre of thrash metal in particular: Metallica, Slayer (especially Slayer as I owned all of the band’s albums), Necrophagia, Megadeth, Helloween, Anthrax, Exodus (they did some really great touring with Slayer back in the day), Overkill, Testament, Celtic Frost, and Venom, just to name a small bundle. Now, the last band mentioned, Venom, is the main focus of my witness. As I had been a thrash metal junkie, Venom, a band whose first album I purchased back in 1986 and spent a great deal of time listening to and studying, creatively, had its drummer in a man named Anthony Bray, whose stage name had been “Abaddon.” And fascinated by the strange moniker, I earnestly set forth to research its meaning, in order to obtain an understanding of its origin. In my private investigation of the name “Abaddon,” I also came upon the name “Apollyon”—one of Abaddon’s Greek equivalents—and studied it thoroughly as well, securing a full understanding of the foredoomed spiritual being to whom both names applied. This study was extremely arousing to my curiosity and only served to intensify my childhood fascination with learning throughout those bygone years.

Identified in the New Testament Book of Revalation (Revelation 9:11), the angel of the bottomless pit has his name in two translations: Abaddon in Hebrew, and Apollyon in Greek. And it is he who reigns as king over the locusts that have been commanded to ascend from the bottomless pit at the sound of the fifth angel’s trumpet — which is to be emitted accordingly after the Seventh Seal is opened in Heaven and Jehovah God’s fierce wrath is poured out upon the face of the Earth.

Ironically, that same extensive fieldwork, done by me 31 years ago, lays the foundation for my brief analysis of the petrifying horror fiction that is The Apollyon Game.

Penned by new horror scribe, Clive Reznor, this 80-page occultic prose of mesmerizing fright orbits around a bullied outcast named Portia, a hopeless and abominably hateful girl who plays human host to the Legion, and embarks on a ghastly revenge mission against those of her fiendishly deplorable foes.

Heavily reminding me of the Cenobite Pinhead, otherwise known as Hell Priest from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser franchise, Portia has sold her soul to the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places in exchange for the otherworldly power to exact her hellish veangance on others, resulting from her own bitterly miserable life of seclusion and derision. Five unfortunate individuals who, after having shown themselves disapproved, fall prey to both the ill-omened Portia and a startling test of truth or dare that the mysteriously dreadful potagonist so chillingly refers to as The Apollyon Game. Terrifying as the pit of Hell itself, to contradict that The Apollyon Game is anything save blood-curdling would be to deprive the effort of its evident merit.

Distinctly inspired by some of the genre’s greatest masters like King, Barker, Carpenter, Craven, and Lovecraft, Clive Reznor’s The Apollyon Game is an especially applaudable narrative of scapel-sharp, unrelenting horror. And it is not a transitory prose that I would counsel any unfeigned connoisseur of fictional trepidation to deprive themselves of.

Five fire and brimstone stars.

Thank you, AOE Studios, for the complimentary copy.
Congratulations, Clive. Great success to you.

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Cat Ellington’s review of Tiny Tales of Terror 1

Tiny Tales of Terror 1Tiny Tales of Terror 1 by Rudy Perez

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

An intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.

Regrettably, this assemblage of short stories, written and produced by Rudy Perez, neglects to exemplify the preceding definition.

Though I could easily distinguish from its description that the cursory narrative would be one of menial skill, nevertheless, I coerced myself into reading it.

As I’ve commented before per my analysis, a horror novel should possess the ability to petrify its reader by encouraging emotions of daunting, terror, alarm and dismay. But sadly, Tiny Tales of Terror 1 could not bring itself to comply with the characteristic rules of this eerily distinctive genre. Adding insult to injury, the structure of Perez’s writing is juvenescent at best.

In all fairness, I don’t expect horror writing on the hierarchy of Stephen King for $0.00. But one claiming to be a horror author could at least try to perturb his or her readers with a decent tale of terror.

There are instances where readers like myself luckily unearth priceless (pun intended) literary jewels that retail for $0.00; however, this precise work of wannabe horror fiction turned out not to be one of those precious gems.

Hopefully, for Rudy Perez, volume 2 of Tiny Tales of Terror will surpass its pitiable predecessor — both analytically and imaginatively.

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Cat Ellington’s review of The Takeover: A Son’s Revenge (The Takeover, #1)

The Takeover: a Son's Betrayal (The Takeover, #1)The Takeover: a Son’s Betrayal by Messiah Raye

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Curses are like chickens, they always come home to roost.”
— Robert Southey
Source: The Curse of Kehama, circa 1810

The book of the genealogy of Tyrik “Tye” Anderson, son of the East Side inner city streets and a criminal mastermind. Tyrik “Tye” Anderson, a man of the felonious cloth; a big time drug dealer, dope pusher, candyman, kingpin, or whichever illegal descriptive suits your fancy. Tyrik “Tye” Anderson, an infamous bigwig who ruled the East Side of this momentary narrative’s fictional setting for nearly twenty years — laying down non-negotiable laws and doing away with any number of persons unwilling to abide by them. Tyrik “Tye” Anderson, a man of incontestable infamy:

Tyrik begot Shy, a rebellious reproduction of himself, disgorged from the former vulva of Tyrik’s late wife. Tyrik begot Shy, a foolish reproduction of himself who would, at the allotted time, prove to bring substantial grief to his father.

The first in a three-part series of astonishing storytelling, The Takeover: A Son’s Betrayal (The Takeover, #1) is a fluid narrative of arrant magnificence.

Heavily influenced by the cutthroat writing technique of the venerable Donald Goines, The Takeover: A Son’s Betrayal (The Takeover, #1) is a vicious urban fiction that effortlessly exposes the folly of those who unwittingly seek their own death, and the despair of those who unwittingly seek to salvage them.

Powerfully-scribed in fluent Ebonics, The Takeover: A Son’s Betrayal strongly commanded my interest from beginning to end, permitting me no inclination to want to cast it aside — no, not even once. The rapidity of its pace paired with the severity of its plot left little room for breaks. And I don’t suppose that there is one urban thriller passionate who would be likely to disagree.

Arctic in its soul and scalding in the being of its electronic format, The Takeover, #1 will wash you out, rinse you out, wring you out, and dry you out. It might even cause you to sprout a few gray hairs if you’re not careful while reading it. For a certainty, readers of this hardcore novella are sure to feels its effects weighing a ton on their psyches and emotions.

Void of gratitude for the affluent existence that his father’s ill-gotten gains were able to afford both his younger sister, Tasha, and himself, Shy Anderson, an imprudent, twenty-one-year-old closet nerd, is prone to completely despising his deluxe lot in life. His ignorantly gullible goals are to be a king boss, a player with his tough mitts in the streets, a bona fide hood thug, and a greatly feared and “respected” dopeman … just like his old man, Tye, had been. And when Drama and Rum—this novel’s Stone and Robert—are sent by one unseen to entice the credulous Shy by saying to him, in so many words, “Come with us, let us lie in wait to shed blood; let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; Let us swallow them whole like Sheol…” Shy, of course, is more than eager to accept their sinful invitation, so desperate is he to be accepted and approved of by these kinds of never-do-wells who hail from the very streets his father, Tye, so methodically commanded.

With the passing of only a short time, the three aggressive trouble seekers—who are Drama, Rum, and Shy—finally land a big score. But the mark whom the trio have chosen to fleece is not merely one for the faint-hearted…or the buster…or the coward.

When his father, Tye, now trying to start his life anew on a legitimate track, chastised his only son, in order to help dissuade his coveteous heart from desiring the criminal element, yet still, the angry, disrespectful, and damnable Shy continued to have a stiff neck and a hardened head. When his younger and more appreciative sister, Tasha, chastised her only brother, in order to help dissuade his coveteous heart from desiring the criminal element, yet still, the angry, disrespectful, and damnable Shy continued to have a stiff neck and a hardened head …

For the one who blindly seeks discord will surely locate it. And in this fictional setting place, bullets are not repecters of persons, neither do rivers of blood cease themselves from cresting.

Greatly blessed with an industrual-strength plot and fiercely engrossing persona, The Takeover: A Son’s Revenge (The Takeover, #1) gets the eight ball rolling in a three-part crime-ridden series admirably-composed by an author of whose work I am a new reader. His name is Messiah Raye. And his scribbling skills are nothing short of fascinating.

Messiah, it is a supreme pleasure to make the acquaintance of your literature. Honestly, I’m not getting parts 2 and 3 of The Takeover: A Son’s Revenge read fast enough. I can hardly wait to behold the conclusion.

As surely as there are 24 hours to a single day, Messiah Raye’s The Takeover: A Son’s Revenge (The Takeover, #1) is a must-read.

Five thugged out stars.

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