Showman Killer Vol. 1: Heartless Hero HC
Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date:  December 29, 2015
Price: $15.99
Creator(s): Alejandro Jodorowsky (writer); Nicolas Fructus (artist)
Format: 56 pgs., Full-Color, 8-1/2" x 11", Hardcover
ISBN: 9-781-7827-6139-6
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

The writer for this series is probably best known in the U.S. for his work on Incal, with Moebius.  While Fructus is not as distinctive as Moebius, his artwork is certainly very good, and well-suited to this dark, twisted tale.

The prologue is about the creation of a perfect assassin, and is marred only by its dependence on one of the worst mad scientist tropes, which is that a mad scientist can never see the obvious outcome ahead of time.  That, and an all-powerful emperor who is incredibly spendthrift of his resource pool, for no apparent reason.  Dune meets Frankenstein, only moreso.

Once that's out of the way, the story is about an absolutely amoral, incredibly powerful assassin-for-hire, who is nonetheless easily tricked and manipulated.  That this would really lead to a short and messy career somehow escapes the writer, but if you let the story just flow from there, it is an exciting adventure that takes unexpected twists.  The idea of a killer both modified and "nurtured" into having no positive emotions is an interesting one, and the question of whether a true sociopath can every learn emotions is intriguing.

Presented in the form of a European graphic album, the cost per page is quite high, but the physical product is very good.  There will be two subsequent volumes to complete this story.

The grim brutality of the story will limit it to adults and older teens.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.