From School Library Journal
Gr 4-8–Evil mastermind Vordak the Incomprehensible shares his “evilosity” with aspiring supervillains in this hilarious spoof on superheroes. His comical narration features over-the-top self-congratulation matched by supreme contempt for readers and everyone else. He applies that bravado with great comic effect, sharing evil insights on everything from “choosing the lair that's right for you” to the four basic options for costume color: “dark black, black, light black, and dark dark dark dark gray.” Each section goes beyond obvious jokes to explore all possible angles of satire. The “Bringing Out the EVIL” chapter, for instance, includes evil laughter tips, evil manners, “three ways to make your little brother look like an idiot,” and a description of Santa Claus as an evil genius. Comical black-and-white cartoons on nearly every page extend the humor. Many, like the “lemon-based-beverage” stand, work as stand-alone jokes. Vordak's distinctive voice, peppered with alliteration typical of the genre, remains fresh and funny throughout. Pop-culture references and varied elements of grossness are sprinkled in regularly, along with 15 “commandments of incomprehensibility” and repeated references to “diabolically clever yet slow-acting death traps,” which get funnier each time. So does the ironic fact that despite his egotistical rants, Vordak is actually a completely unsuccessful supervillain. The humor, subject matter, and visual appeal should make this a top choice for fans of Jeff Kinney's “Wimpy Kid” (Abrams) and Dav Pilkey's “Captain Underpants” (Scholastic) as well as any readers who enjoy superheroes without taking them too seriously.–Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Crude and irreverent, this fictionalized self-help manual calls on kids to embrace their inner evil and go after those stupid, morally upstanding jerks in power (adults). Amplifying the cheeky fun are instructions, advice, anecdotes, rhymes, charts, and cartoon illustrations for destroying the planet and putting together a deadly organization capable of wreaking havoc on humanity. This is really the same scenario over and over, but many middle-schoolers will enjoy that they can open up to any page and find lots of discussion about vomit, farts, boogers, and poop, as well as coverage of elaborate assassination apparatus, described with wordplay and alliteration: instructions for tying a victim to a conveyor belt include the phrase, gaze gleefully as he glides towards his grisly good-bye, for instance. Puns are frequent: Hal Itosis, Aunty Social. And some of them are sure to offend: Special Ed. But whether it is the ad for putting up a little brother for adoption or the fantasy of punishing those in authority, the over-the top parodies tap into kids’ wild fantasies. Grades 5-8. --Hazel Rochman