YMMV / Anarky

  • Anvilicious: While the premise of an idealistic, ethical, but extremist anti-villain that challenges the reader's political and philosophical preconceptions may be very interesting, Grant had a bit of trouble understanding how to be subtle about it. One might imagine that it would be impossible, but some creative writing can provide a reasonable case for Grant's perspectives within a narrative. Instead, Anarky stories by Grant tended to rely heavily on the character's dialogue or inner monologues to stress the author's perspective. Occasionally he would place literary references throughout the stories, ostensibly to remind the reader that Anarky is bookish, but also to act as indirect recommended reading list for the audience. Plots were rarely used to show a political point. There was little direct portrayal of corrupt governments, heavy-handed police, or exploitative economic forces. Anarky's monologues just told you what to think.
    • One early Anarky story, "The Tyrant" (Batman: Shadow of the Bat Annual #2) gives greater emphasis on the dangers of centralized power by presenting an alternate universe were Batman dispenses with being a vigilante and instead becomes an overlord in control of a police state to stop crime. Here, Anarky pauses mid-way into an action scene to provide a multi-panel Character Filibuster, while the rest of the comic provides a bullet-point list for tyranny, complete with public surveillance, mind-control, harsh interrogation, and a cult of personality surrounding the dear leader.
    • More interesting political narratives were made during Grant's early 1980s work on Judge Dredd, which inversely follows an anti-heroic officer of a police state.
  • Designated Villain: Various authors like Alan Grant, Kevin Dooley, Fabian Nicieza, and James Peatty have attempted to make it clear that he's not a bad guy. He's just misunderstood. The reader is encouraged to think that the only reason why the traditional heroes fight him is because they disagree with him on a political level or misperceive a threat in his methods. This may not be enough to sway some readers, who may disagree with him on a fundamentally philosophical or political level.
  • Dork Age:
    • The Anarky limited and ongoing series represented a shift from Grants original political sentiments, but also an attitude change towards the character. While some can respect some of the political thoughts Grant was trying to address, the over-powering of the character and shift in philosophy wasn't appreciated. Throw in some strange editorial moves, and the whole series is looked down upon. Did Anarky really need a teleporter, a secret base built under the Washington Monument, or an artificially intelligent computer he built himself— all off-screen? Did Anarky need to be "cemented" as part of the Bat-family by borrowing from soap-opera themes to make him the son of a prominent villain? Why include so many guest appearances if the guest characters wouldn't do anything that important or interesting? Why isn't Anarky fun? He's too serious. Every word of dialogue and narration out of him sounds like a manifesto.
    • Lonnie Machin as "Money Spider" in Red Robin. When Fabian Nicieza returned Anarky to publication after years of obscurity, he liked the idea of portraying Tim Drake as a cold, calculating strategist. To get a good "Joker" foil, he decided he needed an epitome of chaos. He wanted "Anarky", but only in name, since he knew Lonnie wasn't evil. So he Nerfed Lonnie off-screen, leaving him comatose, hooked up by his brain to the internet, and captive to another villain. Lonnie now became the "Money Spider", an elite hacker for Tim Drake, and continued in this capacity until the Red Robin series was cancelled. Original fans of Anarky weren't happy, but since the character had been obscure for years by that point, the outcry wasn't that huge.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The Anarky ongoing series begins with the search for Lonnie's missing parents, but immediately shifts gears at the end of the first comic with the revelation that Lonnie was adopted. The new subplot becomes a question of who his parents were, but no further thought is given to the original search for his beloved adoptive parents.