If you can imagine the natural outcome of the much-maligned ninth installment of the Friday the 13th series, Jason Goes To Hell, you’ve got some idea of what you’re in for with Reincarnage by Ryan Harding and Jason Taverner. With the titular Agent Orange, Vietnam Veteran turned slasher extraordinaire, we have a masked, seemingly immortal serial killer who routinely returns to slaughter people who make the mistake of venturing into his territory. The government knows he exists, and they know they’ve found no way to stop him in his murderous rampages more than temporarily. The only solution is to evacuate the region and build a fortified perimeter around the region Agent Orange inhabits. Patroled by military personnel tasked with killing him, again and again, to keep him contained within the walls, the perimeter isn’t perfect but it’s all that separates Agent Orange from the outside world. Taking a page from Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s Roadside Picnic, Harding and Taverner imagine a culture of “stalkers” developing; brave or insane souls who venture into the kill zone for memorabilia, or for the sake of saying that they survived crossing into Agent Orange’s territory. At the point when Reincarnage takes place, Agent Orange has become as much a part of pop culture as Charles Manson or Jason Voorhees. Books, video games, and collectibles of all sorts proliferate the world the authors introduce us to. When eleven people wake up in an otherwise abandoned hotel, it doesn’t take long for them to realize they’re on the wrong side of the walls, with no idea how they got there or why they’ve been deposited in the last place any of them would want to be. Conspiracy theories abound, but answers are harder to come by. Maybe, if this band of survivors could find the time to catch their breath and think things through, they could discover why they’re in the ghost town of Morgan and who would want to leave them there; but the number of survivors is steadily diminishing, and staying still for too long only invites disaster. Will anyone stay alive long enough to discern the truth? Will anyone escape? You’ll have to read it to find out. This edition of the book includes additional material focused on another group of survivors venturing through the kill zone simultaneously, with no better fortune favoring them.
You can obtain this edition of the book by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:
It’s Clerks meets Assault On Precinct 13. It’s Intruder meets The Warriors. It’s Dawn of the Dead meets Rosemary’s Baby. It’s none of those things because it’s altogether too original to be classified that easily. I’m talking about The Night Stockers by Triana and Harding, a true masterpiece of absurdity and gore. Freshway is struggling now that Devil’s Food has opened up across the road, stealing customers as well as some of the staff. In a desperate, albeit transparently futile, attempt to combat the erosion of the bottom line, Todd demands that most of this Freshway staff work an unexpected overnight shift for deep cleaning and stocking. A miserable night is soon to become altogether worse as the Freshway staff learns that competition between grocery stores can not only be fierce, it can be deadly. It stands to reason something like that would have to happen when the Devil’s Food chain is owned and operated by Satan. Fueled by a desire to live up to the expectation of his dark lord–and his petty impulse to seek vengeance against the Freshway manager who helped drive him to the dark embrace of Devil’s Food–Desmond decides he and his staff will be destroying the competition. Of course, even with Satan on his side, Desmond and his crew of miscreants might have a bit more on their plate than he could anticipate. Equal parts an homage to death metal of the late 80s and early 90s and the early days of splatterpunk horror, the authors create a world that feels entirely real so that they can do the most unreal and unspeakable things to the people populating that world. Drawing from their own experiences working in retail during that period as well as their lasting appreciation for the music that finds itself repeatedly referenced throughout the narrative, Triana and Harding successfully bring the world of Freshway to life–for the express purpose of converting it into a funhouse of death and dismemberment. Filled to the brim with graphic sex and violence, often in tandem, The Night Stockers becomes a barrage of viscera and perverse humor that remains constant from the first to the final page.
There was no doubt that Ryan Harding would bring the first Fucking Scumbags Burn In Hell season to one Hell of a conclusion. But the way Harding expertly ties it all together, bringing us around full circle, defies even the most liberal expectations. The story of Agent John Kessler, celebrity FBI profiler, is a fascinating and convoluted one. The Profile isn’t solely a story about Kessler, though. It’s the tale of an insidious serial murderer we’ll refer to as The Usurper. Of course, it’s also a story about Sonny Hooper. It would hardly be the Hoopiverse without Hoop making an appearance. I can’t say anything more. As much as I’d love to dive into this and provide a more detailed description of the things I loved about this installment–and there is an awful lot–I have to keep my mouth shut because I don’t want to ruin the fun for anyone else. I will say that the conclusion of this story is one Hell of a captivating, edge-of-the-seat sequence that will leave the reader breathless and dizzy–desperate for more. Thankfully, we have season two to look forward to, and the paperback collecting the whole of season one–including an additional bit of icing on the cake from Drew Stepek himself and an introduction from the always spectacular Rayne Havok. It’s worth mentioning, of course, that Harding didn’t create this in isolation. None of these phenomenal authors contributing to the Hoopiverse did so without the guidance and tutelage of the maestro, Drew Stepek. As outstanding members of the orchestra, they each brought their own flair and their distinct characters to the page, telling us the stories they developed. Like Hooper himself, Drew worked behind the scenes to help everyone bring the individual scumbags to their fitting conclusions, setting the stage for everything that was to come. I suppose, in the end, we should all just call him Hoop.
This final volume of the first season was released as part of the AntiChristmas event at http://www.godless.com and you can pick it up for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below: