The end is nigh in Alejandro Jodorowsky’s final graphic novel of the Showman Killer series and as usual, it is swelling with colorful, exotic imagery by Nicolas Fructus. Much of the gore and blood spray that covered the panels of volumes one and two is replaced with lush planets teeming with life shaped in bizarre configurations. In contrast, much of the elaborate word play and inventive phrases and designations for these unique future-beings are in want, as Invisible Woman stumbles to its conclusion.
The third volume is just as out there as the first two installments – even more so – however the characterization of Showman and his young uncle No regresses in a series of comical squabbles while the two of them and the bumbling Tagui attempt to save all of existence. It’s a confounding turn in the supremely intense, blood-and-guts space epic; where Showman was portrayed as the last person in the universe anyone would want to cross – and appeared to gain a tinge of sympathy and cosmic awareness in his association with Ibis – he suddenly comes off as a petulant child that would rather smack around the heir of the Omnimonarchy and count every gold kublar in his mountain retreat.
The hyper-metaphysical journey our titular killer had embarked upon is all but abandoned when the only thing he truly cares about – ridiculous amounts of gold – is threatened by the police monks and his uncle’s regime and most especially the evil from beyond. It’s an odd shift in tone after such a deliberate undertaking in revealing the man is far more than the sum of his powers, and his avarice. In Invisible Woman, Showman Killer is utterly obsessed by it.
It’s an odd change of pace given the urgency of saving the known universe: Thanks to the grieving Omnimonarch who lays impotent with guilt, the grotesque Superheirophant has acquired the power necessary to open a rift between dimensions, allowing her brethren to lay waste to humanity. All of this is possible through the supreme ruler’s confidant/jester Seal, who unwittingly opened a portal in his dreams and out came the wretched technowitch. For most of The Invisible Woman, Showman, No, Tagui and Ibis scramble across the cosmos to amass an army and seal the rift before it consumes reality.
Still, that doesn’t stop the killer of killers from getting some group action with sentient plant women, or incessantly complain about not getting his fair share of bounty or power as a relative of the crown. Showman Killer was an unapologetically weird graphic novel that delved into the phantasmagorical, however the final volume felt like a satire with gross caricatures replacing wildly dynamic personas.
Overall, the Showman Killer series was a fun read coupled with excellent artwork that truly conveyed the epic scope Jodorowsky wanted to achieve in his tale. Sadly, this reviewer felt that sense of wonder and grandiosity was diminished in the third act. Nevertheless, this graphic novel series is an exceptional collection in scope and artistic genius compared to most on the market today.
Showman Killer: Invisible Woman is now available from Titan Books.