The Metabaron Book 2: The Techno-Cardinal & The Transhuman – Alejandro Jodorowsky / Jerry Frissen

2 out of 5

The final sequence of this volume – which connects back to the flash-forward of volume one – is admittedly thrilling, as it’s an all-or-nothing gambit that puts us back into the Jodoverse’s more general state of inertia-guided plot developments.  That, plus Niko Henrichon’s emotive art (lots of little glances and lovely brow-furrowing; lip-curling) allows me to bump this up to a two… because otherwise, this volume is some bullshit.

Having completely gotten over any fallout from last book’s Anti-Baron, the Metabaron is mopey once more, and then, witnessing the start of a universe-ending event, undergoes elective surgery to make himself more human, proclaiming that – with the time left – he wishes “to do all that I have not yet done.”  Which only amounts to banging big-boobed female prostitutes.  The cold, sex-driven male lead is not a new component in Jodorowsky’s writing, for better or worse, and there’s some prattle in a quote on the back cover about Greek mythology which might be factoring in in some way here which I’m not keen enough to spot, but between Alejandro’s story and Jerry Frissen’s script, proclaiming you want to try everything and then doing just one thing is… well, pretty limited.  And I don’t think this is played for humor’s sake.

Meanwhile, the Techno-Pope is concocting another plan for conquering Marmola, sending his new Techno-Cardinal – Orne-8 – and a roboguard (a Simak; the ‘Transhuman’ of the title) to do so.  Orne-8’s plan involves further bullshit, which I’m tempted to say is intended as gender commentary, but it’s woefully shallow if that’s the case.  Saying more would ruin the book’s larger plot development, but there’s plenty more shallowness to come, just further sprinkling dirt everywhere and claiming it’s magic pixie dust, the better to convince us that the emotions spoken to in the story actually have a precedent in the text.

To be fair, and to somewhat re-underline, some of this is very much expected within Jodo’s worlds.  But the balance tipped in this book, with way too much focus on elements that feel out of place within this particular tale, or at least were not blended in in such a way where they felt relevant, instead coming across as ignorant.

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