Current Reviews


Lackluster World #1

Posted: Friday, September 17, 2004
By: Michael Deeley

Writer/Artist: Eric Adams
Publisher: Gen: Eric

If active thought is a sign of life, then most of us have been dead for years.

Fahrenheit Monahan is an Albino. This condition has made him an outcast his entire life. As an outsider, he sees people as mindless automatons blindly stumbling through the world. His low opinion of people is reinforced by his siblings Celsius and Kelvin, fundamentalist Catholics, and Herman “Cog” Cogswell, annoying co-worker. To Fahrenheit, these people, like all people of The City, stopped thinking for themselves years ago. When they show up for his birthday party, he’s pushed past his limits.

That night, Fahrenheit creates a public work of art that shakes people out of their complacency. This is not a one-time event. It’s the first shot in Fahrenheit’s war.

I bought this book back at the SPACE show in April. I’ve sat in it this long because Eric Adams wasn’t going to finish issue #2 until the fall. Now that I see issue #1 solicited in Previews, (order it now, you worthless pigs), this is the perfect time to tel you to buy this comic, you stupid robots.

‘Lackluster World’ seems to fit in with the goth/horror/humor books like ‘Lenore’ and ‘JTHM’. The art style is dark, moody, and even a little creepy. However, unlike those books, ‘Lackluster World’ is firmly grounded in reality. This is not about monsters or killers. This is about one very smart man frustrated with everyone else’s stupidity. This is about one man trying to change the world through art. That’s a high concept that’s difficult to pull off. But Eric Adams has the right characters to make it work.

“Cog” represents the common man Fahrenheit is trying to enlighten. By the end of the book, Cog is beginning to doubt his self-worth. “Don’t you ever feel like you’re not doing something right and you can’t figure out what it is”, he asks a friend. Cog may be ready for the new ideas Fahrenheit will show him. Kelvin is a God-fearing Catholic who’s determined to convert Fahrenheit. He represents the kind of people Fahrenheit blames for making others stupid. Their sister Celsius is also a faithful Catholic. But she’s more playful and less dire than her brothers. She has the childish innocence that Fahrenheit lost. To her, life is always happy and wonderful. Fahrenheit thinks she’s as dead as everyone else. But she acts more alive than anyone.

The Monahan siblings seem defined by their temperature scale names. The Fahrenheit scale is used mainly by the United States and a few other countries. It is unique and often in conflict with the more common temperature scale. So is our hero. Celsius is the metric scale used everywhere else in the world. It’s based on the freezing and boiling points of water, two common and natural events. Celsius Monahan is a common person whose energy sometimes boils over. Kelvin is a scientific scale not used in the everyday world. It’s based on the theoretical temperature of “absolute zero”, the point where all molecular motion stops. To date, this temperature has not been achieved. Kelvin the Catholic bases his life on philosophies that have little application in the real world, since they’re formed around an impossible absolute. That level of metaphor shows how much thought Eric Adams put into his work.

(Side note: There’s a difference between the teachings of Christ and the teachings of any church. Christ taught to live without anger and desire, and to learn how to love yourself and everyone around you. Churches divide the world between absolute good and evil and prescribe strict rules about which “side” you’re on.)

It would be easy to dismiss this as yet another dark-kids-revenge-against-the-world comic. But that would do a grave injustice to this work. This isn’t about one angry guy lashing out against the world. This isn’t about how much the world sucks and people are stupid. It’s about one man trying to tell people why their world sucks, and how they can stop being stupid. This is the story of a man trying to change his world through ideas.

And really, there’s no better revenge than turning your enemy into yourself.

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