The latest from Humanoids, bringing English translations of European works. Megalex was a three-volume work released in French in 1999, 2002 and 2008. This is its first English release.
On the planet-city of Megalex, urban sprawl and technology consume all, leaving only a few bastions of nature and a mass of drug-addled citizens. That all changes when a clone, known only as the Anomaly, is created and rescued from certain destruction…
Straight from the untamed minds of Alexandro Jodorowsky (THE INCAL, THE METABARONS) and Fred Beltran (PIN-UP GIRLS FROM AROUND THE WORLD) comes an intriguing and highly original Sci-Fi adventure.
Now collected in its entirety, and including both a brand new foreword from artist Fred Beltran and a making-of bonus section.
This story is all over the place but I’ll try and sum it up. There’s a rebellion going on against a technological society that has a vast ruling class drugged to fight boredom and cloned workers with a planned expiration date. Their massive city fights to overtake the last forest: machine versus nature. Add to that creationist overtones, a few messiahs and an alien invasion and you’ve got the premise of Megalex.
Holding it all together is Ram, a giant from the city’s clone factory that as an anomaly should have been destroyed but throughout manages to keep his head above water and not only escape but join the rebellion, fall in love and live to see an ending. He’s engaging and endearing; a fitting glue for this story of ideological extremes. Jodorowsky makes a lot of statements about a lot of things but cutting through the political and religious overtones there’s a strong plot of sacrifice, love and seeing the big picture.
It’s a serious tale but finds room for some heartfelt and witty dialogue; check out the “endowed” comment below in the second panel. Too much happens to get a sense of character development but there are moments of realization.
Beltran took a unique approach to the art in doing it digitally, or at least the first two thirds. It’s very distinct and beautifully rendered, especially since it the first chapter was released in 1999 and 3D modeling tools were just coming into their stride. Very detailed and while a bit static a slick overall look for the book. He’s great at facial expressions: take a look at that last panel above for complete disdain. At some point between 2002 and 2008 Beltran abandoned the 3D modeling and went to a traditional art style; understandable with that length of time between chapters but as a cohesive unit makes for a jarring change.
And as a complete surprise extras are included in a Humanoids volume! Not only an introduction by Beltran explaining his role in the book but also eight pages at the end of the book showing how he developed the environments digitally. Megalex is a compelling story with a unique perspective.
Originally published at Comic Book Daily.