K G Powderly, Jr., author of The Windows of Heaven series, weighed in with five stars on Johnny Came Home’s first Amazon review. His review expounds on the mythological elements I crafted into the world of John Lazarus:
As a boy, I lived at the pharmacy comic book section, where The Avengers and X-Men captured my imagination, and made me want to be a mutant (I’m old enough to remember before Beast got blue, before Wolverine was even a thought). While I got over my mutant fixation, I still confess enjoying Marvel comics because their heroes have human problems compounded by their super-powers. Reading Tony Breeden’s Johnny Came Home made me feel nostalgic. It was refreshing to see Christian characters deal with super-powers that not only gave them “mad skills,” but complicated their lives.
Science fiction is an expression of today’s mythology, which may or may not have religions spun around it. To most people, myth is just a fanciful story that never really happened. But to the professional mythographer and historian, the technical definition of “myth” is “any story–whether from real history or made-up–that explains why things are as they are.”
As a student of myth with a Bible-centered worldview, who has written fiction dealing with the origins of ancient myth, I was delighted to find Johnny Came Home peppered with allusions to the central Greek flood myth characters. The “evil overlord” corporation, Titan (named for pre-deluge deities as the Greeks recalled them), is in the business of making a new kind of human–a “next step in human evolution” or, when viewed from a biblical worldview, a fanciful depiction of the restoration of human capabilities lost through the Genesis Fall and Deluge. Titan’s hidden agenda is dark and sinister, as monstrous as many of the Titans of Greek myth.
In Greek mythology, a titan named Epimetheus creates man of clay, while his brother Prometheus angers Zeus by giving man fire. To hinder the titan brothers, Zeus sends them a woman as a gift, Pandora (her name means, “all gifts”); with a box that she must never open. Curious, Pandora opens it anyway, and uncontrollable evils spring from it, unraveling creation. The box is shut, trapping “hope for the future” before it escapes, but not before evil gets so bad that Zeus wipes out the Titans and men with a deluge. Pandora’s daughter, Pyrrha, marries Deucalion, son of Prometheus. Zeus relents, and preserves the couple from his flood in a giant floating box, to repopulate the earth by them afterward. Zeus also overthrows his father, Chronos, with the other Titans, setting himself up as the new chief god, while imprisoning the Titans in Tartaros, beneath the lowest chamber of Hades.
Breeden alludes to this myth (and related Atlantean myths of Poseidon and Atlas) with genius in naming the players of his story; set in today’s world. What’s more, he views the myth and his own story through the lens of the Bible’s redemptive history, and its view of human life. Best of all, he does it in a fun and readable story that appeals to kids from 10 to 90. While Johnny Came Home has no flood, it deals with a form of chaos only opening “Pandora’s Box” can unleash.
John Lazarus returns to his hometown for mysterious reasons not even he understands. Three years ago, John’s father died in a house fire that John barely escaped. His father was Sherriff, a devout Christian, and an employee of Titan burdened with a terrible secret. The world thinks Johnny is dead…
I hope Tony Breeden hooks up with a graphic artist to make a graphic novelization of Johnny Came Home. But sparing that, I hope the [subtitle] “(A John Lazarus Adventure)” means a sequel is coming, or better yet, a series. Johnny Came Home is a delightful read with many plot twists and surprises. Breeden so brings it home!
Well, the subtitle does mean exactly that: two [and possibly even three!] John Lazarus Adventures are being written even now. As for a graphic novel… just wait and see.
In the meantime, buy Johnny Came Home at the Amazon.com and begin the adventure! Available in trade paperback and Kindle editions.