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Nexus Graphica
by Rick Klaw

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The Metabarons
The Incal
Alexandro Jodorowsky
Juan Gimenez
The Metabarons

  "Ever since the second book of The Incal, in which the character of the Metabaron is introduced, I had the feeling there were other stories to be told about him. This hero, presented as the ultimate warrior, suddenly turns up in The Incal, without any explanation or background. The mystery had to be explored."
--Alexandro Jodorowsky
 

A unique melding of Frank Herbert's Dune, Jack Kirby's Fourth World, Michael Moorcock's The Dancers At The End of Time, A.E. Van Vogt's bizzaro, golden age space operas, and the Greek tragedies, The Saga of the Meta-barons (simply know as The Metabarons in the US) explores the multi-generational lineage of the universe's ultimate warriors. Originally introduced in May 1981 as a supporting player early on in Alexandro Jodorowsky and Moebius classic Incal series, the Metabaron played a prominent role throughout.

Ten years after his first appearance, Jodorowsky, joined by Spanish artist Juan Gimenez, returned to the character in a series of eight French graphic albums. Using a pair of storytelling robots as a framing device, the duo recounts the fascinating history beginning with the first Metabaron through The Last Metabaron.

The Metabarons Limited The Metabarons page 1 The Metabarons page 2

For American audiences, Humanoids, the English division of the original publisher Humanoïdes Associés, reprinted the censored first six albums (the final two yet to be produced) in a 17-issue comic book series (2000-2001). They were all collected into four trade paperbacks (2001-2003). Starting in 2004, Humanoids delivered the uncensored versions in a series of four graphic novels and recently as a one volume, over-sized limited edition hardcover.

The Metabarons 1
The Metabarons 2
The Metabarons 3
The Metabarons 4

#1: Othon & Honorata and #2 Aghar & Oda

The isolated Marmola, a world full of marble, hides a material far more valuable and powerful: the gravity-defying epiphyte. The substance remains a sacred secret of the Castakas, the small tribe that rules the planet, until a mining accident involving Othon von Salza, the son-in-law of their ruler Baron Berard, reveals the substance to the rest of the universe. This knowledge places Marmola at the center of an intergalactic war.

During the chaos, the near death Berard gives Othon the power of the spirit that exists in every Castakan. The new ruler eventually brokers a peace with the other empires. During the negotiations he is honored by the galaxy's rulers as the Metabaron.

A series of tragic events lead Othon to develop the first metabaronic weapons and cybernetic implants, which is a hallmark of all future Metabarons. Othon conceives a child with the beautiful Honorata, a former priestess of Shabda-Oud. Unbeknown to the Metabaron, a conspiracy involving his wife and the Shabda-Oud threatens his son's future.

When the child turns seven, the priestesses of Shabda-Oud return to claim him. Othon and Honorata defy them and an intense and graphic battle ensues, insuring the ascension of a new Metabaron.

In these two volumes, Jodorowsky engaged in complex world building of Jack Vancian levels, while managing to grant the superhuman characters surprising humanity. Gimenez, in the difficult position of following Moebius, masterfully created breathtaking space vistas, chaotic and bloody battle sequences, and emotional interchanges.

#3 Steelhead & Doña Vicente and #4 Aghora & The Last Metabaron

To describe the events in these volumes in any detail would be a disservice. While the first two books offer superior space opera with just a hint of something different, the latter two explode into an orgy of the strange and the surreal rarely seen in science fiction of any variety. Improbable and seemingly impossible acts of incest, creative scientific explorations, disgusting aliens, revenge, bloodlust, parallel realities, and abundant red herrings all careen into a shocking and satisfying conclusion.

Writing like a man who doesn't care what others think, Jodorowsky's concepts combined with Gimenez's visions propel the groundbreaking story into a realm of quality and content rarely seen in comics or prose. The Metabarons disturbs, intrigues, and fascinates, but most importantly delivers a unique graphic experience.


Copyright © 2011 Rick Klaw

Professional reviewer, geek maven, and optimistic curmudgeon, Rick Klaw has supplied countless reviews, essays, and fiction for a variety of publications including The Austin Chronicle, The San Antonio Current, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Moving Pictures RevolutionSF, King Kong Is Back!, Conversations With Texas Writers, Farscape Forever, Electric Velocipede, Cross Plains Universe, and Steampunk. MonkeyBrain Books published the collection of his essays, reviews, and other things Klaw, Geek Confidential: Echoes From the 21st Century. He can often be found pontificating on Twitter and over at The Geek Curmudgeon.


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