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The Technopriests, Book One: Initiation
Alexandro Jodorowsky, Zoran Janjetov (Artist), Fred Beltran (Colorist and Cover Artist)
Humanoids/DC Comics, 160 pages

The Technopriests, Book One: Initiation
Alexandro Jodorowsky
Alexandro Jodorowsky was born in Chili as the son of Russian immigrants. He began his career with several creative jobs, such as mime, actor, movie director, writer of theatre plays and novellist. He made his comics debut in 1966 with the futuristic saga Anibal 5, illustrated by Manuel Moro. In 1978, his first collaboration with Moebius appeared at Humanoïdes Associés, called Les Yeux du Chat. Two years later, they created the absurd science-fiction serial John Difool in Métal Hurlant. In 1997, he took on a new challenge with Janjetov and Frédéric Beltran to create Les Technopères.

Alexandro Jodorowsky
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Alexandro Jodorowsky
Alexandro Jodorowsky

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A review by Susan Dunman

Albino's dream is to become a game creator for the Technoguild so he can create fabulous virtual worlds for the citizens of the galaxy to enjoy. His ultimate dream of becoming the Supreme Technopriest lies in sharp contrast to reality, where he is the unwanted bastard son of a cruel mother interested only in avenging her rape by marauding space pirates.

Unfortunately for Albino, he is one result of the vicious attack on his mother, Panepha, who bore triplets after her assault by the pirate band. Panepha despises two of her children as mutants and therefore, unworthy of her love. The white skinned, pink-eyed boy Albino and his red-toned, four-armed sister, Onyx, serve only as reminders of their mother's humiliation. The firstborn son, Almagro, receives all of Panepha's loving attention. He is a merciless bully to his siblings, but vows to help his mother in her quest to find and castrate the pirates who took advantage of her years earlier.

Panepha is a cruel taskmaster to her unwanted children, yet agrees to enroll Albino in a technopriest training school. Albino is thrilled by this unforeseen turn of events even though the world of the technoguild is harsher than the world he left behind. Although his training is brutal, the technoguild provides powerful computers that unleash Albino's creative genius. The virtual worlds of the technopriests are fantastic and artist Zoran Janjetov captures the feel of such an incredible place with images that shift from surreal visions representing computer components to digital cybersuars and technoexecutioners.

While Albino is learning the secrets of the technoguild, the rest of his family has purchased a starship and hired mercenaries to fulfill Panepha's promise to track down and punish the villainous space pirates. The story alternates between Albino's efforts to become a technopriest and Panepha's exploits to seek revenge. The result is a visually extravagant rampage through both inner and outer space that is quite remarkable.

Alexandro Jodorowsky's vision of the future is filled with high-tech machines and low-tech humans focused mainly on violence, sex, cruelty and greed. At times there is poetic justice for despicable behavior but this is definitely not a Pollyanna universe. The author's trademark linguistic and visual pranks are sprinkled throughout the story, but there's also plenty of violence. Scenes of rape, castration, and loping off of various body parts may not appeal to the weak of heart. However, many of the illustrations are breathtaking. Depictions of ships and planets moving through space are spectacular and virtual reality is imagined in color-drenched symbolism that's intriguing to interpret.

The 75-year old Jodorowsky has been writing comics since his debut in 1966 with the futuristic saga Anibal 5 and he is considered an icon within many comic circles, especially in Europe. His collaborations with Jean Giraud (Moebius), Zoran Janjetov, Fred Beltran, Georges Bess, and Juan Gimenez have produced works such as The Incal, The Metabarons, The White Lama, and, of course, The Technopriests. Selected titles from the French publisher Les Humanoides Associes are now available in English through an agreement with Humanoids Publishing and DC Comics, giving a broader readership the opportunity to experience Jodorowsky's brand of graphic novels.

Explorations in the technopriest universe do not end with this volume. Albino continues his training as a technopriest and his mother continues her vengeful quest in the second title of this series, The Technopriests, Book Two: Rebellion. If this first volume is any indication, then the conclusion of Albino's story is sure to be another unpredictable wild ride through the galaxy, with illustrations to match.

Copyright © 2005 Susan Dunman

Susan became a librarian many light years ago and has been reviewing books ever since. Audiobooks and graphic novels have expanded her quest to find the best science fiction in Libraryland.

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