Monday, June 05, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: 'The Incal' by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Jean 'Moebius' Giraud

Epic space opera that starts off Sci-fi and with a dose of the meta physical and surreal, over the six volumes in the collected edition, gradually becoming existential by the end.

John Difool, the main protagonist of the story, is a Class-B detective in a futuristic and dystopian world, whose main companion is a 'concrete seagull' named Deepo. His mundane life is thrown into chaos when he discovers one half of the ancient and mystical Incal, and almost immediately he is pitted against all comers, including mutants, a bird-like alien race called the Berg, and the all powerful Technopope, who are after the Incal.

John isn't a very likeable character, coming across very petulant throughout, making it difficult to empathise as he struggles with the responsibility of protecting the Incal. It's only when he has become one the artifact, does he stop whining and only thinking of himself. The supporting cast are pretty good - Metabaron, the galaxy's greatest warrior, Animah and Tanatah, two sisters charged with guarding the Light and Dark Incals respectively, SunMoon, the adopted child of the Metabaron, and Kill Wolfhead, an anthropomorphic wolf mercenary, as they all join John and Deepo on their quest to save the universe from the forces of the Dark Incal, and the Technopriests' manufactured sun-eating Dark Egg.

Superb art by the legendary Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, the detail on each page is unreal, both literally and figuratively, and is worth picking this up just to indulge in the visuals, and a story from Alejandro Jodorowsky that is epic, spiritual, mystical and surreal and is better to read it for yourself than to describe it, trust me. It's also supposed to feature material reused from his unmade 'Dune' movie.

'The Incal' is a legend among graphic novels, and quite rightly so. First published in 1981, after reading you can see that it has definitely influenced some of the Sci-fi that followed it. As already mentioned, the art is sublime and it's best to flow along with the story and not question it too much as it does get a bit surreal at times, especially as it heads towards the conclusion.

Enjoy the ride!

***½ / 5