Friday, April 12, 2013

Johnny the Homicidal Maniac (issue 3 and 4) by Jhoneen Vasquez

Random Comic Review

The series focuses on the 20-something year old anti-hero Johnny C, also known as "NNY" (pronounced 'knee'). He is a deranged serial killer, mass murderer, and spree killer who interacts with various other characters, generally by murdering them. He elaborately kills anyone who even slightly irritates him, then drains their blood and paints one of the walls in his house with it. Johnny is also willing to murder "innocent" people who, in his twisted mind, deserve their fate for some reason or another. The number of Johnny’s victims is in the dozens, if not hundreds — or perhaps even thousands. Authorities are unable to capture Johnny and seem unaware of his existence, even though his crimes are often witnessed in public and reported by the few who manage to survive.(from Goodreads)

I'm not sure this falls under random seeing as I've previously reviewed issues one and two, but let's not pay too much attention to this and more attention to the comics. I won't get to detailed into the structure of the comics, because I did that in the first review. I'm  just going to highlight some of the good/bad aspects of the comics. It's an awesome comic either way. 

Issue 3  A Transient Smile 

A little note from the author.

" My mind grows heavy at the burden of my dark life......and it is deeper that I.....oh.....why must I...OH FORGET IT!...".....

I always enjoy reading the authors introduction or note (again I'm not sure what to call it). They're always dark, depressing but not insignificant. In this case confusing, Vasquez goes on about something about emotions and how "blind certainty is repellent...". Have to agree on the latter. The font used in the introduction/note is unpleasant . The text which, as in the previous issues, is cropt together, too close together and the use of inverted E's is confusing. This really makes it difficult to make out some of the words.

What's Johnny been up to in issue 3: he  visits Cafe Le Prick then goes on a killing rampage. Which was pretty entertaining. He also rescues the poor kid from issue one from a child molester by knocking him out......then johnny proceeds to cut off the guy's hands and takes his brains out. All this gory insanity in front of the poor kid, who runs away screaming.

Meanwhile...which is also the highlight of this issue because of the absurdity. There's a sketch of a guy being abducted by aliens. Now these (not very intelligent aliens) have abducted Rob to study human sexual behavior.  Rob suggests  voyeurism  but of course the aliens must do this in a controlled environment in which Rob must engage in sexual activity with a human female.  However according to the aliens a human female is a chicken. An actual chicken. Now what happens when aliens force you to copulate with a chicken...........................I don't wanna talk about this anymore.

Of course, there's always other favorites : Wobbly Headed Bob and Johnny' s failed suicide attempt.  The Aliens were really fun, drawing wise and then there's (my) the  least favorite , Happy Noodle Boy. The one thing I liked about HNB is that somebody kills him at the end of each sketch...he's still alive by the end of the comic.....


Issue 4  Another Tiresome Descent

A little note from the author.

This time sort of handwritten again not very legible but still fun. Also a lot of cursing. must of had a bad day...

What's Johnny been up to in issue 4: well he's trying to figure out what he was like before (he became homicidal) and why he changed.  It's noticeable from all the sketches that Johnny seems to be getting worse and more psychotic. The kid from Issue one and the girl Johnny dated then tried to kill are featured.

Successful suicide attempt?
Again Johnny tries to kill himself and has apparently succeeded...but he can't be dead!

Also features Wobbly Headed Bob and Happy Noodle Boy (who is again still alive!)

Both issues feature a new sketch called "Public Service Announcement" the first one is about teen pregnancies (which I only now understand) and the one in issue 4 is about using drugs. 

Remember ...."" KIDS, drugs won't help things. They'll only turn you into a hideous little freak troll-baby with exploding eyeballs.""

This comic is pretty dark, gory at times, insane. Johnny is not the kind of person you'd wanna meet but his frustration is understandable.  I think anybody can relate to some of the things he says about society. Also I'd recommend getting the real comics, a physical copy. E-copies aren't as fun. Vasquez likes writing things along the margins of the sketch-boxes, horizontally,vertically. and there are hidden texts everywhere. Fun things to discover. 


Monday, April 8, 2013

The Emerald Tablet ( Legends of Amun Ra # 1) by Joshua Silverman

Leoros doesn't have many friends. The son of a scientist and archeologist, he is constantly on the move. But when his parents make a startling discovery in Egypt, Leoros' world is turned upside down.


Do you wish you could have the power of a god? Would you use it for good…or for evil?

When an archeologist discovers the mythic Emerald Tablet buried beneath Egypt’s desert, her son decodes the ancient text leading him to a distant world.

On that world, a slave girl begins a journey towards a destiny she cannot imagine. But when an ancient foe rises from the ashes, they will be brought together
by forces neither understands.

Leoros, who dreams of being like the heroes in the comic books, must fight to unlock the secrets of the universe to save a people he never knew existed.

Atlantia, whose bloody visions wake her in the night, senses the darkness coming.

Together they will face an enemy with the power of dark energy, lose a mentor to the assassin’s blade, and be betrayed by someone they trust. Their fight for the future is just beginning, and before it is over, a final sacrifice must be made. When the darkness comes, will they stand and fight or will they join it?

There is darkness in everyone.GOODREADS


I expected this was going to be another story about a kid ending up in another world and having an adventure. Like that movie Warriors of Virtue or Alice in Wonderland. Although I suppose with all the Star Wars references it should be more like Luke saving a planet story. However my Star Wars savvy is limited to some popular phrases and yoda-talk. So I won't go there, everything I expected from this book was blown out of the window starting from chapter one.

The first chapter starts of with a disturbing and unpleasant scene. A girl being strangled by her father. The scene is very detailed, describing what the girl is feeling and how she blacks out. The father while he strangles her keeps asking her if she has ever felt hate. Eventually the girl escapes by unlocking an innate ability, she uses energy and throws her father away. That' was the whole point of the "exercise". The father,King Ankar, is the villain of the story. A man who wants to use his children and get vengeance.

The narration isn't that great. At times it sounds like an old wise science teacher or philosopher or like an enthusiastic kid playing with toy soldiers, the latter comes out especially in the scene where captain Axios is introduced. Also the narrator switches from one character to several together and describes what they're thinking and a bit of each characters background. 

This is a book with very good characterization. Every character has an interesting background but they have unpleasant personalities. But this can just be me and it's only at the start of the book. So bad first impressions. The characters are dynamic as well so they become more bearable in the second half of the book. Leoros was too accepting, he's 13, very young, goes through a portal meets an Amun Priest that says he's a kid from some prophecy and Leoros's reaction to this is basically "cool, teach me your ways". The other apprentices have unpleasant and shallow personalities. Again this changes later, while  some change for the better others not so much. The one character that changed and I liked more was Dio, I think her character grew a lot and I suppose Leoros as well. Then there's Kam's character  one of the apprentices that goes and joins Ankars army. The one character that just kept going down hill while developing a twisted obsession to a magical rod, I expected him to start calling it "my precious " at some point. 

The odd and unfortunate thing is I liked Leoros's parents, Alex and Camilla. Those were the characters I liked the most. They had clashing personalities, Alex believes in what he sees while Cam is more open-minded. The narration also switches from what's happening in Potara and with Leoros's parents trying to activate the pillar to get him back. This was an unfortunate choice in favorite characters because they died.

This is science-fiction, kind of. Leoros ends up in a futuristic kind of Egyptian planet, potara. There's a disconnection at times between the narration and  the story. Sometimes you're focused on one scene or event then suddenly they're on advanced aircraft's. 

It's still a good story, it has that old school feeling of diving into a new and interesting  world and not just some glossy young adult novel. Also a good integration of Egyptian and Greek mythology.

I'm not happy with the ending. The ending was unexpected. It felt like the scene in John Carter when Carter gets tricked and sent back to earth...only the movie didn't end there. Objectively it's a good ending, subjectively.........

I'd definitely recommend this book, if you're a sci-fi fan, or Star Wars fan, or a comic book fan then there's definitely something for you in this book. If you're looking for something new, this book has that too. 

I liked what Leoros learned about Duality , how it's about perspective and finding a balance between two things. Is this really a good book or a bad one, I guess you'll just have to read it yourself.

My review of The Soul of World (Legends of Amun Ra 2)

**T0 review this book I was asked
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