Monday, October 18, 2010

Masked Review: Where Their Worm Dieth Not

So we're gonna start with the rating this time. It gets a 5 out of 5.

The author is James Maxey. This is his blog:

He has a second blog dedicated to just his fiction work, and that can be found here:

Review, review, review. Spoilers, obviously.


Atomahawk. How would you pronounce that? A-tom-a-hawk? Atom-a-hawk? I couldn't make up my mind. I still can't. He's a Native American superhero with a "fusion reactor where his heart should be." This allows him to fly and shoot lasers out of his fingertips. So maybe it is supposed to Atom-a-hawk? That sounds so awkward, though. Whatever. He's not the main character; it's not important.

The main character is Retaliator. Real name: Eric Gray. He has no real powers, but his cardiovascular system is bulletproof. I'm not really sure how that would be helpful unless... well, let's pretend your cardiovascular system is bulletproof. Is it bulletproof in such a way that if I shot you in the chest, the web of veins and arteries underneath your skin could catch the bullet? And stop it from, let's say, shredding a hole in your lung? Because it says here that you are scarred from all your crime-fighting. Which means that your skin has been cut at some point in time. Which means that your veins and arteries are doing nothing to hold your skin together, despite being made from "high-tech bioplastics from the twenty-eight century." So if I cut you with a knife, it would cut around your cardiovascular system? What would that even look like? Is that even possible? Would you not bleed? I NEED MORE INFORMATION, GOD DAMN IT.

Also. This is Retaliator's costume: "... black leather pants, knee-high boots with about a hundred silver buckles, leather gloves that laced up his forearm, and a black mask that concealed all his features save for zippered slits at the eyes, mouth, and nostrils."

Got that? Good.

Those are the clothes his father was found dead in.

Yes. That's right. He's wearing his dead father's sex outfit. As his superhero costume.

Think about that for a while. I won't.

And just try to make sense of this.

Honestly, it's actually a nice bit of foreshadowing. Because, ask yourself, what kind of person would wear the clothes his father died in? Never mind that he wears them as his superhero costume, or that they're some hardcore bondage attire. A fucked up person, right? A really fucked up person. And then take into account that bondage carries with it connotations of punishment and discipline, along with an absence of power and control. And then! He wears it as his symbol of power. Which shows, I think, the fundamental problem here. The one who wears the zippered mask isn't the one in control.

What I really like about Where Their Worm Dieth Not is that it deals with the ubiquitous ability of comic book characters to come back to life. The only comic book character to not get reconned back into existence, as far as I know, is Uncle Ben. Which probably pisses Peter Parker off permanently.


There's another character I haven't introduced yet. She-Devil. She's got some magic mojo and her whole schtick is to punish the wickedest of men.

Did I mention that Retaliator has an armed robber locked up in his basement? And that he tortures him? Daily? And will eventually kill him? This armed robber is seventeen years old, by the way.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Where Their Worm Dieth Not closes with Retaliator's best friend dead, his worst enemy dead, his wife dead. He chooses suicide and the implication is that he's killed himself before. But She-Devil wipes his memory and brings everyone back to life, just to torment him over and over again.

"Not kewl, She-Devil. Not kewl."

What can I say? I liked this one.


  1. It really doesn't surprise me that you liked this one. I don't know why it doesn't, but it doesn't.

  2. Technically, the epidermis doesn't have blood vessels in it, only the dermis. So, he could injure his epidermal layer and not his dermal layer. But he'd have to work at it to make it scar. MAYBE he gets secondary infections in all of his wounds. The bacteria could work around his blood vessels and make bad abscesses, and those would scar nicely.
    Hi ho vet girl! dun dun duuuuuun!

  3. Your comment sort of made me want to slap you.

  4. Slap taken. It's hard out here for a brain.