Last month Titan Comics released the hardcover version of Jodorowsky and Fructus’ work, The Showman Killer. This novel is the first of the eventual series with two sequels novels in the works. Is it good?
The Showman Killer (Titan Comics)
The novel chronicles the title character, the Showman Killer, through his creation and progression into the most notorious assassin in the galaxy. It’s important to note that this novel is only the prelude and first chapter of a much greater Showman Killer epic. So while it does contain a good amount of storyline, the end leaves the reader wanting much more which will surely be included in the following novels, two of which are currently in development. So if you’re going to give The Showman Killer a go, be prepared to be in it for the long haul.
The story begins when a mad scientist, Courcolain, known for his bizarre experiments, embarks on a task to create the ultimate killing machine and thus, the creation of the Showman Killer. It’s a dark tale of how the character got his start and slowly developed into the legendary paid killer. Claiming to lack all love and empathy, the Showman is the most powerful figure in the universe and within that role he’s met with those who worship him and those who plan to oppose him.
The novel…was not what I was expecting. I was pulled in by the art which is exactly how it’s promoted. The amazingly detailed panels are painted by Alejandro Fructus and are some of the best I’ve seen in a novel. While it’s a unique style for a comic, the oil painting look is very appealing especially for the genre of the novel (however that’s not to say what’s being depicted is particularly aesthetically appealing). Both the characters and scenes alike are beautifully haunting and are the type you want to dedicate time to looking over. Unfortunately, for me at least, the writing isn’t up to the standard set by the visuals.
Now I’m not aware of whether this is true or not, but at times the writing sounds as if it’s been translated due to awkward dialogues and certain phrasing. The conversations and transitions can be described as a bit contrived and it made it difficult to really get into. The story moves too quickly to become invested and scenes which would otherwise have potential (e.g. battle sequences) are quickly skimmed over in just a couple panels. Now hopefully this is just due to the creative team wanting to incorporate a prologue and first chapter within the first volume, but ultimately it didn’t come out as well as it could have.
Is It Good?
I came for the visuals and was dissatisfied with the writing and story development. The end of the novel provides an intriguing cliffhanger, but I don’t know if we’ll get anything different from the writing. The Showman Killer is definitely a unique comic experience, but not one everyone will enjoy.