The Metabaron Book 1: The Techno-Admiral & The Anti-Baron – Alexandro Jodorowsky / Jerry Frissen

4 out of 5

Heavy-handed and brutal as usual, but these are defining elements of the Metabaron world, and of Jodorowsky’s narrative style when penning stories in such worlds.  But: the wealth of ideas, and sense of symbolism – of these one-dimensional figures acting as stand-ins for concepts, or for whole ‘cycles’ of emotion lumped under one pontificating characterization – has, for years, enriched Jodo’s universes immensely, and also, thankfully, making them fascinating to dive in to, a story at a time.

Here I am talking about Jodorowsky, but it’s writer Jerry Frissen scripting Book 1 of The Metabaron’s adventures, over plot from Alexandro, perfectly emulating Jodo’s style, and perhaps even curtailing some of the latter’s tendencies to include oddball tangents in much of his work.  The Techno-Admiral & The Anti-Baron is laser-focused: a hulking monstrosity of a man, Wilhelm-100, has taken the title of Techno-Admiral and possession of a precious resource-providing planet, Marmola.  This is also the Metabaron’s home planet, and he’s not keen on the Techno-Pope who’s directing this resource-stripping, necessitating his return, further necessitating Wilhelm-100 to come up with an ultimate weapon for combating the Baron: The Anti-Baron, duh.

The story starts at the end and then rewinds rather illogically, with a dead character narrating; this is also a tactic that generally undermines momentum, and the same is rather true here.  At least to start.  Wilhelm is such a wonderfully typically waaay over-the-top-evil Jodo villain that you’re easily swept up in his vile machinations, and thereafter, the story is kept in pretty high gear covering the creation of the Anti-Baron and the eventual dual-Baron clash.  We’re also – also typically – lacking a strong female character, with those included pretty much always sex slaves and / or victims.  But at least we don’t dawdle on that: we are very centered around these two massive slabs of man-meat: Wilhelm and The Metabaron.

Humanoids’ over-sized hardcover printing is perfect for Valentin Secher’s painted art; the darker color palette would look mushed in a regular format, but with the extra space, we can see Secher’s skilled touch with emotional tics and better appreciate the ace flow of the pages.  The English translation (Quinn and Katia Donoghue, Cristy Stiles) is also excellent, or at least their are no notable oddities.

And as we are yet to arrive at the conclusion shown to us in the first few pages, there are undoubtedly more Metabaron battles to come in future volumes…