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Fanfic / Mad World (Invader Zim)

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Mad World is an Invader Zim/Johnny the Homicidal Maniac crossover fanfic by ia.m.writing.

Group projects are the worst- especially when you're partnered with your alien nemesis. But when Dib uncovers disturbing ties between his reoccurring nightmares and the homicidal maniac they are researching, he is thrown into the most dangerous battle of his life. At least he'll have some help from an unexpected new ally. Hey, what kind of name is Nny anyway...?

It is complete and can be read here. Not to be confused with the Osmosis Jones fanfic of the same name.


  • Affably Evil: As he's usually portrayed in fanon, Skoodge is this during his brief appearance.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Like in canon, Dib and Squee are both outcasts.
  • And I Must Scream: PAKs store the minds of Irkens and can be transferred into new bodies, but Defectives are blocked from this, leaving them aware but totally sightless and immobile forever if their bodies die. Zim's was modified by the Tallest to trap his mind in a recreation of his worst moment (learning of his exile to Earth) on loop.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Dib and Gaz's relationship is tense throughout the story due to his obsession with searching for the killer, but she's clearly coming from a place of caring, and is very concerned for him during the climax.
  • Batman Gambit: The whole story was one by Miss Bitters to defeat the Thing.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Dib gets hit with this twice — he always wanted someone to believe him and treat him with kindness, and he found that with Nny, who unknown to him was the the homicidal maniac Serial Killer he was looking for. Later, he gets his wish to see something horrible to happen to Zim, and is disgusted by it.
  • Bedlam House: Averted. When Nny is institutionalized at the end of the story, it's noted he's actually better off now.
  • Being Good Sucks: Dib is starting to feel that way. He comes to feel better about it later.
  • Big Bad Friend: Nny is this to Dib, who is completely unaware he's the serial killer he's looking for.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Dib had this for Gaz in the past. And he starts developing a strong one for Squee.
  • Big Good: Of all people, Miss Bitters is this, having set the story in motion in order to defeat the Thing.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Deconstructed. Because Nny treats Dib nicely, Dib is blind to the fact that Nny is the homicidal maniac he was looking for.
  • Body Back Up Drive: PAKs maintain the minds of their wearers, and can transfer them into new bodies if the old ones die. Zim ends up sharing with Dib, until they can clone him a new body.
  • Broken Pedestal: Nny becomes this for Dib once he realizes that he's the homicidal maniac.
  • Bully Hunter: Dib becomes this, protecting Squee from bullies at his school.
  • Chainsaw Good: Nny wields one against the Thing during the climax.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Residue Filtration System contained within Irken PAKs, which protect them from the psychic residue which is gathered by the Wastelocks. During the climax, Dib repairs Zim's, and uses it to weaken and drive back the Thing.
  • Crapsack World: It has all the worst canonical elements from both source series, both of which can be pretty bleak. There's the promise of it getting better in the epilogue, however.
  • Dark Fic: It's a JTHM crossover, what do you expect?
  • Desperately Craves Affection: Dib wants someone to treat him with kindness.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In the end, Dib is able to weaken and wound the Thing, and drive it back into the Wall with a greater seal.
  • Disney Death: Zim is butchered by Nny and has his PAK pulled by Dib. But his mind survives inside it, and he ends up sharing bodies with Dib.
  • Dream Sequence: The Dreamtime chapters, wherein Dib is tormented with images of the Wall.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Dib goes through a lot of dark crap over the story, but in the end he's recognized as a hero, he and Zim are friends now, he's got Squee as a surrogate little brother, and he's got a friend in Nny, who's getting the mental help he needs. And the Thing is resealed, with Zim and Dib planning to replace the Wastelocks with a sealing mechanism that won't require hosts driven insane by the power.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Thing in the Wall, obviously. Also Miss Bitters, who is older than the universe and is the mother of God and Satan.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Dib is disgusted by Squee's parents, feeling that even at their worst, his father and sister are still better than them.
  • First-Person Perspective: The story is solely from Dib's POV.
  • Friendly Enemy:
    • Dib and Skoodge, to the point that Dib wishes it was his mission to take over Earth instead of Zim, so Dib can turn him to his side and become friends.
    • Dib and Zim become this over the course of the story. Dib mourns when he thinks Zim is dead, and is willing to sacrifice to save him; afterwards, they almost affectionately coexist with each other.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Thing in the Wall, which spends the whole story manipulating Dib as it did Nny, but due to being sealed, it can't directly interact with the real world. Until it gets loose during the climax.
  • Heroic Suicide:
    • In ancient times, Irkens chosen as Wastelocks would eventually kill themselves after a time in order to ensure the residue they've absorbed is safely dispersed.
    • A young girl whom Dib and Nny discover was a Wastelock did the same thing, hanging herself before she could release her Thing from its Wall.
    • Dib tries to do this after he becomes the new Wastelock, but Zim's PAK saves his life.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Dib can not tell there's something wrong with Nny even though Nny himself warns him not to trust him. Justified, because Nny is treating him with kindness and believes in him.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Nny is a believer of this, though he does say there are good people in the world, and considers Dib to be one of them.
  • Humans Are Survivors: Dib says as much during his confrontation with the Thing at the climax of the story.
  • Karma Houdini: As per canon, being the Wastelock means that Nny is literally able to get away with murder. After the Wastelock is passed to Dib, this is subverted, as Nny gets arrested and institutionalized.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Deconstructed. Nny's victims are awful people, but are killed horrible ways for petty reasons.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The text messages exchanged between Dib and Gaz list her username as Voxelrot, her gamer alter ego from the IZ comics.
    • Dib also repeatedly mentions encounters he's had with Zim in various issues of the comic.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Dib talking to Nny about Zim leads to Zim being tortured to (his body's) death, and the grief and guilt leading to Dib becoming the new Wastelock and almost freeing the Thing.
  • Once an Episode: Each non-Dreamtime chapter opens with a text exchange between Dib and Gaz.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Zim acting much more sane and rational than usual. It's because Dib is an emergent Wastelock, and being around him drains Zim's insanity.
  • Parental Neglect: Squee, as per canon. His father likes to completely ignore him, and his mother doesn't even remember he exists.
  • Sharing a Body: Dib and Zim end up doing this after Zim's PAK fuses with him. It's temporary, until they can clone Zim a new body.
  • Swapped Roles: As the story goes on, Zim is acting more sane, while Dib is making dumb choices. It turns out that this is because Dib is becoming the new Wastelock, which is absorbing Zim's insanity.
  • Top God: Miss Bitters is implied to be this, being mother to God and Satan.
  • What You Are in the Dark: When sneaking into Nny's house, Dib is faced with the choice of whether to save Dillon and Tess, when their escape might alert the killer to the fact that someone's snuck in, thus threatening Dib's mission. Dib actually hesitates to consider this, before his better nature kicks in and he frees them.
  • A World Half Full: The ending implies that Dib and Zim's plan to replace the Wastelocks will change the world for the better.