Because I occasionally find myself in the presence of a Jodorowsky evangelist – one who vehemently asks me who my favorite Metabaron is with every meeting, and tells the premise so passionately (even without beer!), I have finally yielded and read Alexandro Jodorowsky & Juan Gimenez’s The Metabarons series.
What a ride that has been.
Warren Ellis wrote about The Metabarons‘ speed of innovation. That there is literally a new and mad idea on every page, and it’s very hard to put it any better. The Metabarons is a wellspring of science fictional wonder and weirdness. It is the tale of the Metabarons ancestry – a clan of perfect warriors whose initiation includes cybernetic physical brutalizations and whose succession is determined by the child killing his father. It has a lot of Dune references too: you will find Shabda Oud “whore-priestesses” whose mental powers rival that of the Bene Gesserit and, very similarly, sends their witches to mate and spawn the perfect androgyne, savior of humanity etc Kwisatch Haderach-ish etc.
It’s very hard to talk about Metabarons succinctly without sounding like a fool because it is brimming with ideas that wrestle between being ridiculous and awesome. The universe and the mythic Castaka ancestry is massive with every issue thick with plot and gorgeous, gorgeous artwork. It is one of the most wonderfully illustrated and colored works I’ve ever seen. You could literally hang any page up as a poster and it would look perfect.
And it’s filled with all sorts of things: a cybernetic crotch that guides a ship through Metabaronic instincts; beautifully-drawn females; astronomical battles; a tarantu-wolf that breastfeeds a metabaronic baby, and so much more shit you never thought would be printable.
Jodorowsky is definitely a master myth-maker and The Metabarons is a comic book from a wonderful and fantastical poet. For someone so used to American superheroes to suddenly read about a mythological warrior so strong who travels to worlds so rich and fight battles whose scale and suspense so inventive, is like mental assault. Everything is so interesting, and though riddled with some weird jumps of logic, the book’s a grabber. I took turns laughing, turning pages in suspense, and slapping my forehead with the face of my palm. The Metabarons has some crazy shit…probably some of the craziest shit I’ve seen in any medium. And it has a lot of flaws – the robots become annoying past the tenth issue, the world is sexist as frak, there’s incest, the translation is cheesy, and the sex scenes are cringe-worthy. But ultimately, this book was so much fun, and it’s surreal and epic and I enjoyed reading it a lot.
It’s an intense roller-coaster ride through moments of painful personal tragedies and hollowed victories of these driven, intensely passionate, comically insane, larger-than-life heroes. It is a story about power, death, misguided love, the chokeholds of unavoidable filial obligations – and the wonder of rising above these limitations while embracing the true virtue of humanity. A brilliant concept of sci-fi space opera and gruesome, violent action – I LOVED IT.