Nothing To Lose was written by Steve Vernon and published by Nocturne Press. Let me start by saying I really hope there are more stories coming from Steve about this character. I loved it.
The book contains three stories about Captain Nothing. This guy is my kind of hero. Yes he wears a mask, or two, and believes in helping others. It's the way he goes about helping people that makes him so entertaining. Who needs heat vision or lightning speed when you have a brick and the bad guy doesn't hear you sneaking up behind him?
After reading Nothing To Lose I found myself wondering if Captain Nothing is a hero out to protect the innocent or a institutionalized patient simply sharing his delusions with us. Either way he is quite entertaining in the three stories.
The Glint Of Moonlight On Broken Glass - Captain Nothing encounters two men assaulting a woman with plans to rape her. If she knew the horrors that awaited her in the future she would have prayed for death instead of a savior. This story gives us the supernatural villain that every superhero must one day face. A being that feeds on the suffering of others. A being that takes the form of it's victims so that it can feed again.
Lamprey Fellatio - The problem with being a hero is there are people out to get you. After all, you can't have good without bad. All our hero wanted was to enjoy a night at The Sloppy Seconds and a few beers. Next thing he knows is his life goes from pleasure to pain as he finds himself chained to a cinder block and rapidly sinking. It's a fear we all have.
The Frozen Axe Of Winter Love - When you have no reason left to live the only thing you can do is die. This is the kind of story that will make you stop and give your mother/wife an extra hug in the morning and an extra kiss at night. If someone is determined to die then the heroic thing to do is comfort them before they go. Captain Nothing is just the man for the job.
So where is the "horror" in Nothing To Lose? Each person will find it in a different way. To me the horror comes from the crimes discussed in the book that you can read about in your newspaper every day. The horror comes from Captain Nothing's point of view. Once you see how he sees the world you learn there is something to be afraid of everywhere. The horror comes from the choices people make when they feel there is no choice left.
For those of us that grew up thinking "Batman should be more bad ass than this. He's the Dark Knight for crying out loud!" Steve Vernon has given us what we wanted. Captain Nothing is beyond cool.
I can't help but wonder if I was the only one to hear KISS singing their song "Nothing To Lose" while reading the book.
Special "Thank you!" to Steve for allowing me to quote the following:
Then I heard the scream. It was more than a scream. More like something was being pulled out of her, yanked and uprooted. I run like my feet have suddenly grown anvils; the purse rattling against my side like a bagful of hammers. In the moonlight I look like the world's ugliest drag queen, cape, purse and all. I don't care. She needs saving.
By the time I get there the screaming has stopped. She's lying in the mouth of the alleyway. Lying wreathed in a halo of sodium lamp, something dark pooling around her, moonlight glinting on a fresco of broken glass.
I have one more point to make today. Why can't the major publishing houses produce books of the same quality as the small publishers? I recently received Ghoul from Dorchester and saw Hannibal Rising at the book store. Both of these books, all of the Hannibal Rising copies in this particular store, were in ragged shape. Apparently the cutting blade used during production was dull. In both books some of the pages were not separated and they both had the very ragged ends that looked like the pages had been ripped apart instead of properly cut. I'm am constantly amazed by the production quality of the smaller publishers and Nocturne Press is one of them. Wonderful production quality for Nothing To Lose.