Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dr. Anarchy's Rules for World Conquest by Nelson Chereta review


    I'm a big fan of the Waldo Rabbit series of fantasy novels. I'm also someone who has made a decent living publishing novels about supervillains. So, when Nelson Chereta decided to do a book about the God Emperor of Rhode Island, I was sold from the beginning.

    Still, there have been a lot of books about supervillains. There's the D-List Supervillain series, the Supervillainy Saga (which is the best), and the original Soon I Will Be Invincible. Could Nelson Chereta really add something new to it all? Well, the answer is yes. If there's a few jokes which have already done before then they're outnumbered by the easy good humor throughout.

    The premise is Doctor Anarchy is a top-tier supervillain but exists in the penumbra between A-list and B-List. He's got his own island stronghold, an army of killbots, and regularly steals millions from the Cartels without consequence. Unfortunately, he's not the nemesis of his archenemy in the Dark Detective. As a running joke in the book goes, Doctor Anarchy isn't the Dark Detective's nemesis, Whiteface is. Doctor Anarchy is closer to being the Scarecrow or Elektro versus the Joker or Doctor Octopus. Not that he's willing to acknowledge it.

    One day, while walking the beach on his island lair, Doctor Anarchy finds a ninja who has been left to die after having her limbs cut off. Rebuilding her stronger, faster, and more deadly--Doctor Anarchy finds himself with a lieutenant (she prefers sidekick) called Raven. This results in him getting a perky female villain who pretty much regularly trash talks him as he tries to explain why he does the things he does.

    Honestly, the Doctor Anarchy/Raven relationship doesn't quite work the same way the Waldo Rabbit one does. In the Waldo Rabbit series, the protagonist's love interest has reason to call our antihero out because he's woefully ignorant about life outside of his Mordor-esque homeworld. Instead, Raven is constantly calling out Doctor Anarchy for acting like a supervillain...in a world which operates by superhero and supervillain rules.

    As such, instead of coming off as the only sane woman or even Scott Evil, she kind of just comes off as ignorant. For example, at one point she freaks out for the fact he's stealing from the Cartels and he just calmly points out he's done it before when you'd think anyone living in a supervillain world (particularly one where a Doctor Doom EXPY has taken over the planet) would think of them as small potatoes. It doesn't endear Raven to the reader even if she does redeem herself by the end.

    Nelson Chereta makes a point that Doctor Anarchy isn't a misunderstood good guy and there's several moments he does actually evil things, albeit he does a nice job of making them so over the top you lose your sense of horror and it becomes funny. He kills the local equivalent of James Bond by accident (which you'd think he'd want to advertise given his lack of respect) and also regularly murders his "henchmen" even when they don't want to be henchmen.

    Despite this, I was entertained by the book throughout. The humor is crisp, the parody fun, and there's a bunch of really good moments throughout. I also liked the climax with the alien invasion as we finally have the Dark Detective tell Doctor Anarchy what he REALLY thinks of him. Honestly, Doctor Anarchy and he should team up more often as the DD is pretty awesome.

    Fans of superheroes are, of course, the people who will get the most out of this but I think the comedy is broad enough to entertain just about everyone. I also love the fact he managed to deconstruct quite a few tropes like world conquest by science god as well as the interpersonal relationships of villains. Strangely, my favorite scene in the book may just be Doctor Anarchy showing up at a civilian wedding in costume. That was awesome.

    One small warning in that, like the Waldo Rabbit books, this novel is "unconventionally" edited with no indents and spaces between paragraphs. Once I got used to it, it was no problem. Those who are obsessive about grammar, though, will probably set themselves on fire with a disintegration gun.

9/10

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