I have my comic book sister Dani Smith to thank for hooking me up with the author Christopher Frank and recently finished the latest edit for this sci-fi novel. I’ve already reviewed her Skriker series before and she’s got a couple upcoming projects coming including Sheol City and the film version of Black Dog Rebel Rose.
The main characters in this book are Evan A’Con, an inventor with physics level intelligence; Cid, a SpecOps soldier with cybernetic augments and a cryptic past and Jace, a merchant responsible for trade in the desert who works with his group of three elite specialists. Their stories are all told individually at first, but eventually intertwine.
The initial premise of the book is revealed when Jace and his group discover a machine of ancient origins known only as a Devastator that must be destroyed because of its ability to induce fear telepathically in humans. After finding this out, they take a risk by going to a local desert town to inform them. As to why it’s a risk, you’ll have to take a look at the rough draft which can be seen here.
With that tidbit being said, the full novel holds a lot more in terms of characters and plot twists. Being a gamer, some of the characters reminded me of parallel ones in Chrono Trigger and Super Metroid which, while I realize were completely unintentional, it was still nice to see nonetheless.
Now for the actual review: It was a very enjoyable novel which, while there’s a few slow points at times, there’s more than enough to keep reeling you in until the end including a sentient race of robots, a fallen city and a Forest Ship. I give it an 8/10. I realize it’s a bit brief, but spoilers aside, the final draft should be available on Amazon in the near future here.
Dani’s Twitter: twitter.com/DaniQuickDraw
Black Dog Rebel Rose Facebook Page: facebook.com/BDRROfficial
Chris’s Twitter: twitter.com/MimicLinkFSD
Chris’s Tumblr: mimiclinkfsd.tumblr.com
Black Dog & Rebel Rose #0: The Road to Hell by multiple award winner Dani Smith reintroduces the resident half-demon antihero Skriker as well as his female half-angel counterpart, the voluptuous heterochrome known as Rose.
The prologue introduces Rose’s brutal, cold persona and mental anguish as she interrogates a demon bound to both a chair and a chalk carved pentagram. At first, he’s very reluctant to divulge what he knows, but changes his tune after Rose slashes his horns off with no hesitation and threatens to take his tail next. He then tells her about Paradise Hill where a nest of vampires and possibly even ghouls dwell. Rose admits that she’s impressed with what he knew and decapitates him.
Chapter 1 starts by switching to Skriker finishing coitus with a random woman. While he’s kind enough to share his last cigarettes with her, his inner monologue rates her a cheap thrill as he fantasizes about his mystery gal who, unknown to him, is Rose. Tired of being around the gal, he says “time to get outta Dodge” and does so on his motorcycle Betty.
Meanwhile, Rose is shown with knife and gun in hands and sheathed sword on her back as she fights a mental battle with her father. The next scene is a very emotional flashback which helps explain Rose’s psyche. She briefly shows her sensitive side, but that changes to a devilish smile when she spots a ghoul and drives her motorcycle to Paradise Hill.
In Paradise Hill, the first sign of action has Skriker riding in on Betty gunning down a couple ghouls. In a different part of the abandoned city, Rose unsheathes her sword killing at least five ghouls. The element of surprise goes out the window when Betty’s engine roars into the area as Skriker calls everyone out without fear. The comic ends on a cliffhanger where Skriker gasps when he sees the demon tail trophy on Rose’s motorcycle.
This was an amazing visual and mental feast. The parts that stand out to me are Rose’s interrogation and flashback as well as seeing Skriker afraid for the first time. These are all amplified with Dani’s impressive art skills seamlessly integrated much like her previous comic Skriker #0: A Boy and His Beast.
BDRR has already hit #1 on Amazon for fantasy/graphic novels in Austrailia and Top 100 in the US in the same category which can be found here. Mature readers only please.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to review the upcoming graphic novel Chewler by Co-Writer and Artist Shannon Gretzon from Exspastic Comics. Being the comic book fan that I am, I was very happy to do so and was given a rough digital copy.
The graphic novel includes the first three chapters of Gen. James Chewler’s adventures after retiring from the Agency of Paranormal Phenomenon and Other Occult Related Happenings Dept. (A.O.P.P.O.O.R.H.D)
Chewler reminds me of a grittier and always drunk Capt. America. He’s tough and not afraid to get his hands dirty though he’s not afraid to show compassion to those he cares about. Apparently, he even has the ability to read animals’ minds given his experience with everything paranormal.
He’s called in by the military supercomputer known as Grandmother Supreme. Though androgynous, “she” has a mother complex all the same with her faithful B.O.T. son Woody who becomes Chewler’s partner. This time around, Chewler’s given the assignment to prevent Adolf Hitler from being revived by wealthy antagonist Rubin Charles III who’s looking to use Hitler for access to alien technologies worth trillions.
I enjoyed reading Chewler very much. It’s got tons of action, some sensual scenes and even a flashback which explains what would happen if the KKK got ahold of Hitler. While the subject sounds serious, the entire graphic novel is very tongue-in-cheek and will have you laughing from beginning to end. It also ends on a cliffhanger and keeps you wondering what will happen next. If you enjoy Captain America, Doctor Who or something similar, you’ll definitely enjoy this. As I write that line, the Doctor Who episode “Let’s Kill Hitler!” comes to mind. I give this one a 5/5.
Shannon can be found on Tumblr, Twitter and deviantART. The main writer, David Brown of Fifth Dimension Comics, can be found on WordPress, Twitter and BigCartel.
Unfortunately, their Kickstarter didn’t get fully funded, but the copies will still be published, however, it’ll just take more time.
When I saw that my Facebook friend Dani Smith of Quick Draw Studios was looking for people to review her new comic book, I jumped on the opportunity to do so.
I’ve read a few #0 issues before and have noticed that they focus on the origin of the character in the title. This one follows accordingly and gives the reader a proper introduction to her resident anti-hero Skriker, the progeny of a demon father and human stripper mother who’s a cage fighter by day and creature hunter by night.
Through much of his internal monologue and dialogue, he conveys a smug attitude as he enjoys the thrill of the hunt and the fights themselves. As he fights various paranormal creatures including demons and the like, he sports his demon form which includes a double-spaded green tail, downward curving horns and outward curving ears. I imagine there’s more to his demon lineage, but this is a very enjoyable introduction.
Also, though not alluded to as much, he shows his softer side and even tells the reader not to tell anyone since he’s got a bad boy reputation to protect. I liked how an element of humor was sprinkled in with the intense action. That being said, the action is top notch. The transitions are seamless and the expressions on the characters make you feel like you’re part of the fight yourself. The other allusion that can be seen is to the other of her heroes–Rose–which has a story all her own.
And now, the most important part of the comic book itself: the art. Everything is so beautifully detailed that you have to see it to believe it. I can tell that Dani’s going to have a great career ahead of her that will last a very long time. If I had to give a rating, I’d say a 6/5. It’s an absolute must read for any comic book or manga fan.
Both digital and physical copies of Skriker #0 can be found at IndyPlanet. Dani can be found on Facebook and Twitter for those who want to follow her work. If any other artists would like their works reviewed, I’m happy to do so.