"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."
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.
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.
#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.
Professional reviewer, geek maven, and optimistic curmudgeon, Rick Klaw has supplied
countless reviews, essays, and fiction for a variety of publications
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.