Alejandro Jodorowsky and Nicolas Fructus bring a vivid and violent world to life in Showman Killer: Heartless Hero. At first glance, Showman Killer fits the mold of the stories Heavy Metal magazine is known for: there’s some nudity, some crudity, and lots of ingenuity. But Jodorowsky’s vision is even more cinematic, as he introduces a mad doctor who creates an emotionless, perfect “Showman Killer.” The doctor dresses up his creation with makeup and says, “I don’t want you to be considered as a human being, but as a character.” Translated from its original publication in French, the dialogue can sometimes be a bit choppy, but the main drawback is that throughout most of the book, there’s no one in particular to root for. The killer is ruthlessly effective, but he shows no real humanity until he’s entrusted with the care of a baby, near the end of the story. Despite the book’s beautiful artwork and richly developed fictional universe, and the author’s eccentric sense of humor, it’s this glimpse of more depth to the Showman Killer that gives a measure of satisfaction, as well as anticipation of the two future volumes that are planned.
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