Small Thoughts Review: Falling Angel by Albert E. Cowdrey

Albert E. Cowdrey is known for his ghost stories. The Novelet, Falling Angel (published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2020) adds to Cowdrey’s portfolio.

The premise is somewhat Noir, in the sense that the murder in question took place back in the 1940s. Think The Black Dahlia type of case, but an echo or the ghost of the murdered woman’s scream haunts the hotel in which she perished. That’s what Butch and Roma are here to investigate. What happened to a struggling actress back in the 40s, how she died, and how to finally put her rest.The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January/February 2020 ...

This piece is filled with the occult and the dark underworld of things that go bump in the night. It’s urban fantasy, well told, and well written. However, I didn’t see the ending coming–and not in a good way. It left me feeling a bit bemused since it hinged on some political/social commentary that was completely absent in the piece up until that moment. If there had been an inkling of politics in this piece beforehand, I think I would have found this ending more fulfilling. Still, up until that last page or so I found this an enjoyable read.

Comic Review: Abbott, Issue 5


See the source imageIt’s been some time since I ventured into the world of Abbott, but it’s finally nice to finish of this 5 issue run.

Before I get to any of the spoilers and reviews, I just want to point out my most glowing endorsement of this comic: I really hope Boom! Studios orders more issues from the author. Saladin Ahmed and the artists, Sami Kivela, and Jason Wordie. This is one of the first comics I started getting into about a year ago, and I just couldn’t put it down. Every time I picked up an issue I was hooked. The only reason it took me so long to read this last issue was that I moved twice in 3 months and it never made it out of a box until now. But dang, I want more Abbott, and hopefully, you do too because that’s the only way more issues would be made: sales. Anyway, let’s talk about issue 5 a bit.

Set Up: If you haven’t read the other issues, don’t worry, I won’t ruin too much for you, just know that issue 4 was left on a cliffhanger and a reveal that was sorta predictable but earned at the same time. As #5 is the final issue to the arc, you’d know that there would be at least some closure.

Expectations: One of the tricky parts about this issue is that it certainly leaves the door open for more issues. It does a great job communicating that this world is larger than this story. Hopefully, we get to see more of this world, but we’ll see. The expectations well managed by the author, because not only do readers get a satisfying conclusion, we’re also given a glimpse into a larger world that is within potentially future plot arcs. It’s not easy to do–but this issue delivers both with ease.

Art: This is some of my favorite art in any comic. It has a rawness, yet is still detailed and precise. The rawness lends itself well to the 70s era, as does the atmospheric tones of color that act as backdrop. As someone who ha a comic script and is actively searching for an illustrator, this style is comic I’d want to be considered for my own work.

Conclusion: I’ve made this as spoiler-free as I can. I don’t think it gives anything away. The main thing I took away from this issue was–dang, sad it’s over. I’ll probably reread the whole 5 issue arc within the next few days, just to get the full experience. it’s that good. If you like urban fantasies set in a 70s era race-relations fraught time, this is an awesome series. And if you don’t like that, you should probably read it anyway.