The Metabarons are a dynasty of ultimate warriors, originally featured in The Incal – one of the seminal graphic novels of the 1980s – then spinning off into their own series. This is the collected edition of those eight comics, which takes us through eight generations of Metabarons, and is a sci-fi epic of extraordinary proportions.
The story is narrated by a robot belonging to the current Metabaron, who is the eighth to have held the title. We meet this robot as he’s explaining the history of the Metabarons to his sidekick, chronologically treading through their stories but often flitting back to his present day to fend off interruptions and events that are happening around him, which sometimes involve the appearance of the current Metabaron.
Each Metabaron has been different, but a set of abstract rules and traditions, set up by the original Metabaron (though not always purposefully), have to be upheld in order for the title to be passed down the line. These include a mutilation by their father’s hand; a childhood devoted to training and killing; and ultimately a face-off with their father that must result in the death of one or the other. Along the way, the Metabarons have amassed a massive fortune by selling their services to the highest bidder (when it pleases them), which has let them develop and invest in the best technology, further cementing their place at the top of humanity’s soldiering food chain.
Despite the similarities in the way the lineage had to be created, Alejandro Jodorowsky has flexed his creative muscles to make each Metabaron different and their journeys unique. This trips into the absurd in places, and the robot narrator can be annoying, but the serious tragic nature of the patricidal dynasty needs a little relief in places to stop it from becoming too intense. It’s a tour de force of sci-fi, encapsulating a far flung future where morality and life have become entirely disposable.
Its grandiose nature is aided and abetted by Juan Giménez’s stunning art. From epic space battles to gruesome hand-to-hand combat, Giménez pulls out all the stops to give the illustration a similar magnificent epic feel to the story.
In summary, this is a must-read for sci-fi fans. It’s not going to convert non-believers to the fold and it isn’t perfect, but it’s big, gorgeous to look at and extremely lovable. Well worth the money.