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November 3, 2011

Humanoids Reviews: Metabarons Ultimate Collection HC

Alejandro Jodorowsky and Juan Gimenez’s epic space story of The Metabarons has finally been collected in one grand hardcover edition. Published by Humanoids, The Metabarons Ultimate Collection collects The Metabarons #1-4 trades in 544 beautiful pages. Limited to only 999 copies, this ultimate edition comes in a gorgeous black and white slipcase.

Metabarons Ultimate Collection

Cetacyborg. Bad. Ass.

 

Writer: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Artist: Juan Gimenez

Jodorowsky and Gimenez are true masters of their realms. Having created and debuting The Metabaron within the pages of The Incal, The Metabaron grew into his own legacy. The Incal is anotherĀ  story created by Jodorowsky, which is placed within what has now been dubbed the “Jodoverse,” a universe where all 0f Jodorowsky’s science fiction takes place. The Incal features a different cast than the one found in The Metabarons. The Metabaron had become popular enough in its debut in The Incal in May of 1981, that it deserved its own series.

The Metabarons are a long line of fearless warriors. Fusing technology with their own body, a Metabaron is the ultimate warrior of the universe. There can only be one Metabaron alive in the universe at a time. This is because of the rigorous trials and rituals involved in becoming a Metabaron. The aspiring Metabaron must kill his own father, the current Metabaron. When the heir is born, his father mutilates him, for two reasons. To test his endurance and to make him stronger. The mutilated body part is replaced by mechanical parts, making the hopeful heir a cyborg. For the rest of the heir’s adolescent life, he must train and become better than his father. The Metabarons are skilled in every facet of combat, and attain victory at any cost, making them as deadly as they are ruthless.

Jodorosky’s work in The Metabarons is one of the most complete and compelling space tales ever told. The creativity that Jodorowsky pours into his Jodoverse is incredibly imaginative and unique. Without confusing or alienating the reader, Jodorowsky manages to create many unique species and worlds that have never been seen before. From flying apes that lived on a planet with massive poisonous mushrooms, to an evil witch cult that flies around in giant whale/shark-looking ships, Jodorowsky combines and creates normal ideas for a very special universe.

One of the difficult parts in regards to The Metabarons is trying to fit it into one category. Which is a good thing. As a whole, it is an epic space opera, no doubt about that. That being said, there are so many other elements to it that make it such a masterpiece. The drama within the family, and most of all within each and every Metabaron, is imaginative, yet easy to understand. The use of primitive worlds in the same universe as some of the most advanced technology makes for an amazing variety. Some battles take place in the stars among ships, yet many battles take place in hand to hand or melee combat, using many elements of fantasy swordplay. The rituals and superstitions add a religious tone, which is hard to incorporate within a story without making it the sole idea. Jodorowsky does it with ease.

The unique universe is only one aspect of Jodorowsky’s genius. The evolution of the Metabaron lineage feels so natural while reading it, that despite all of the science fiction and unusual creations, readers are able to understand and sympathize with the characters. How many times have you heard, “I just don’t connect with the character(s)”? This just isn’t the case with The Metabarons. With each new Metabaron it is easy to understand their motives and follow their adventures. Jodorowsky manages to touch on so many emotions that you very nearly get overwhelmed with the ideas and concepts given to you. But, just at the right time, a tense moment or thought provoking event is broken up by the antics of Tonto and Lothar, the current Metabaron’s robotic slaves, as well as narrators of the story. Fear, curiosity, love, disgust, action, sex, anger, joy, surprise, envy, and anxiety are just a few of the emotions that The Metabarons invokes.

Pairing artist Juan Gimenez with the mind of Jodorowsky is a perfect match. Juan Gimenez’s work can only be described in one word: breathtaking. His beautiful painted style coupled with his attention to detail make for some of the most gorgeous work out there. One of Gimenez’s best traits is his attention to detail. From panels where all you see are two beings standing, to huge panoramic shots, Gimenez draws every line without skipping a beat. His colors are all very natural, and even though readers are engaged in a very strange and unusual universe, Gimenez makes it easy to get a feel for where they are. Every landscape is done beautifully, and every building has its own unique architecture. When jumping from planet to planet it is easy to imagine what the planet is like, with the way Jodorowsky describes and the ease that Gimenez draws it.

While it would be a real spectacle to see more of the long line of Metabarons, having finished reading this Ultimate Collection you will feel more than satisfied. From front to back it is delivered in a most gorgeous format. Collecting the first four trades, which are split up themselves into two “chapters” each, this hardcover is a fantastic item to have. The slipcover it comes in gives it a real regal feel with a dark undertone, which perfectly describes the legacy of the Metabaron. The black ribbon bookmark is a must, because reading all 544 pages in one sitting is no easy task. As it’s limited to only 999 copies, many people will be wanting to get their hands on this beautiful book.

If there was ever any story to be collected in an ultimate edition, it would be The Metabarons. Though the character was created 30 years ago, and the stories have been written since the 90s, many of the ideas and concepts are everlasting. Alejandro Jodorowsky provides an amazing blend of drama and family inspired motivations. Add to this fearless warriors mixed with space faring action and futuristic concepts, and you are in for one hell of a ride. Juan Gimenez’s breathtaking art only enhances the story. Gorgeous panoramic views, realistic anatomies, and some of the most creative ideas for ships, aliens, and landscapes are truly awe inspiring. Suggesting this timeless classic is an understatement. A beautiful piece to showcase on any bookcase, The Metabarons: Ultimate Collection is a must have for any fan of master storytelling and superior art.

Cover and Slipcase

 

Mike Parente
mike@comicattack.net

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review. Many Thanks.

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