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Tap Dancing and Supervillains

By Syphax, author of Stone Burners

Jul 6, 2014: [I help edit this serial. This review is not 100% unbiased.]

Dark humor always walks a fine line between not funny seriousness and over the top crassness. World Domination in Retrospect does not walk that line so much as madly tap dance along it. But, despite the madness, it is a skilled tap dance. Any time it gets yanked down into melancholy or stumbles into the realm of poor taste for too long, it quickly pulls itself back along the aforementioned line and continues its merry jig.

This is the story of Psycho Gecko (the psycho is short for psychopomp, but who needs that last syllable anyway?), his set of power armor, and his quest for whatever he damn well feels like at the time. This is not usually a man with a plan, unless you’ve pissed him off enough. That being said, there is a clear plot derived from character actions rather than ‘because the author said so’, but plenty of time is spent on chaotic tomfoolery as well. This is a man who uses gag rubber chickens as grenades, this disregard for societal expectations becomes a running theme.

The world he lives in is very much like our own, only it’s another dimension full of superheroes and supervillains. The rules and interactions between light and dark, while not immediately made clear, are well thought out and totally ignored by Gecko (the character), unshackled as he is from conventional logic or social etiquette.

The story is first person from Psycho Gecko’s point of view, and the reader views the world through his wonderfully warped and somewhat narcissistic point of view. There are other characters, which we don’t see too much of because a narcissist is controlling our outlook, but the glimpses of people we do get strike me as genuine people. Rational and real people forced into the same room as a lunatic, and reacting as such.

I mentioned humor earlier, and looking back it is indeed the second word of this review. So the real question for any humorous work is: Is it funny? In my opinion: absolutely, but this humor is not for everyone. The series tends towards violence played for laughs. If people having chainsaws or missiles rammed up their asses followed by wisecracks at your fellow man’s suffering is too much for you, give it a pass, because that happens with almost alarming frequency.

But for the rest of us, there’s more than just body humor. There are videogame jokes, TV show jokes, movie jokes, and music jokes. I probably missed half the copious references sprinkled in. And, lest we forget, there is a veritable avalanche of puns, many of which are quite clever and reliably got a chortle or two out of me every time.

In short, World Domination in Retrospect is a nice unconventional read of a superhero world. The humor can push what people can stomach, but look beyond that and there is a solid and funny story.

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