Villains. The opposite of heroes. In theory they exist in stories only to give heroes someone to beat up. But there have been numerous hit stories in which the bad guy actually overshadowed the good guy, such as Darth Vader, Hannibal Lechter, at least two Final Fantasy antagonists (Kefka and Sephiroth to be exact), and The Joker… Hell, about half the Batman villains.
Neil Zawacki’s contribution to this concept is a joke book that advises you on how to be an antagonist. Zawacki takes us through five chapters of evil:
Getting Started with the Forces of Darkness: this is introductory stuff. Basic personality, how you came to become evil, motivation, that sort of thing.
Discovering the Methods of Your Mayhem: this chapter begins with possibly the most important part: describing various villain archetypes you use as delightfully unhealthy role models. This determines a lot: what your ultimate goal is (besides being up to no good), what kind of nefarious strategy you employ, even what kind of heroes you face. Not that the section on what tools to use in your villainous career isn’t a big deal.
Thwarting the Forces of Good: of course, you can’t be a villain without encountering a hero. Just as the previous chapter presented villainous types to choose from, this one shows you the types of heroes, one of which will come after you! You’re also shown death to use. Don’t laugh. Heroes get knocked out by them all the time. It’s not confirming that he/she* is dead that eventually gets villains beat.
*Yes, heroines have been popping up in recent decades. Wonder Woman, Princess Leia, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena the Warrior Princess, Katniss Everdeen and others. So don’t be prejudiced, just cold-hearted.
Tools of the Evil Trade: don’t have the talent to get the right type of lair, goons, weapons, and too cool by half attire? Why not copy what others have done instead? This chapter will give you a guide that enables you to escape the horror of hard work. Oh, I see not everybody is pleased by that concept. Please come with me.
OK, my pet monster has had his serving of undercover hero. Let’s move on.
Making an Evil Plan: This isn’t necessarily something you need help with, since many great villains’ plans are as simple as stickups and random killings. If you aim for more, though, this chapter’s for you!
The humor is really what drives this book. The way it describes evilness as a natural lifestyle is hilarious in a macabre sense. There are also humorous parodies of various cliches. “Even if you long to use your excruciatingly slow hourglass death device, resist the urge. Heroes typically escape this kind of situation.”
Got a Kindle? Then I would recommend this book. The humor and intriguing talk about villains are worth the price.
Overall: 8 out of 10