COMIC REVIEW: Humanoids' The Technopriests
The Jodoverse expands in this eight issue sci-fi comic series...
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Before there was the fan-favorite Heavy Metal Magazine, which began in 1977, there was the French publication Métal Hurlant. First published in 1974 by Les Humanoïdes Associés, the sci-fi and fantasy magazine's success inspired the publisher to continue to bring hard-hitting, gritty, and violent comics to the marketplace. Now, thanks to the publisher's American counterpart, Humanoids, fans of original sci-fi, fantasy, and hardcore comics can pick up a variety of graphic novels.
Following my recent review of Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Metabarons Ultimate Collection, my fascination with the Jodoverse began. The Jodoverse, which includes the author's various comic series: The Incal, The Metabarons and The Technopriests - is a place of sex, violence, mysticism, science, wonder, passion, and - most of all - a search to find belonging and peace.
The Technopriests, an eight-issue series collected in three trade paperbacks, begins with Supreme Technopriest Albino, the series' main character and story's narrator, retelling his life. Looking back on his violent, drama-filled past, Albino begins this engaging tale with the introduction of his mother, Panepha. A young virgin destined to become the Imperial Palace's oracle, she is instead viciously raped by a pirate crew. Thus is the frail, white-skinned Albino, his strong, dark-skinned brother Almagro, and their red-skinned, four-armed sister Onyx conceived. Albino's shamed mother retreats and, with the help of a heard of livestock, creates and leads the Great Kamenvert Factory, makers of the galaxy's greatest cheese. Of course, Albino is disregarded by his mother for his weak physical nature. Thus, Albino spends time playing video games and wishes to one day become a video game maker. Immediately one recognizes the unique nature of this story that's all at once viscous, violent, and shocking as well as humorous, real, and oddly similar to the very world in which we live.
The Technopriests first story arc, Initiation, explores Albino's education under the tutelage of Don Mossimo, the director of the technopriest school where video game makers learn their trade. While physically weak and often intimidated by the other, more physically fit students, Albino immediately succeeded in Virtual Reality training and proves - at least within VR - that intellectual power is superior to brute strength. Thanks to Albino's unique mind powers and a passion for what he does, Albino - and his mentors, peers, and friends - quickly realize he's not only unique, but a prodigy.
Besides exploring Albino's search for acceptance and belonging, The Technopriests also explores Panepha's search for justice against the pirates who raped her. Of course Panepha, Onyx, and Almagro seek the assailants but quickly learn some quests are better left to the professionals. That doesn't stop them from becoming hardened to the violence and hate they're soon surrounded by. Upon finding herself with the opportunity for revenge, Panepha soon find herself exploring the opportunity to settle down and find happiness...if only she can let go of her hate.
Both the second story arc, Rebellion, and the final story arc, The Perfect Game, see similar themes explored. With the continued growth and success of Albino as he continues on his path to becoming the premiere technopriest, Panepha, Onyx, and Almagro likewise grow - emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Eventually, Panepha finds solace and peace alongside one of the pirates who abused her, the family grows to include a third generation, and Albino is reunited with his family. Of course, none of this happens without peril, danger, more violence, and sacrifice.
The inner demons of each character - be it the reformed space pirate or the physically weak video game maker - all play a central role in The Technopriests series as well. As in reality, each of the characters here too have their vices which must be overcome before not only can others love and accept them, but they can love and accept themselves as well.
As for artwork, The Technopriests visually comes to life thanks to artist Zoran Janjetov, whose previous work includes The Incal. His father an architect, Janjetov is a brilliant artist with a taste for realism combined with a disposition for the absurd. While the subjects might be odd and all-together alien, the look and texture of the story is drawn beautifully and features flawless proportions, sensational action, and gorgeous flow. Likewise, the colors by Fred Beltran are bold, bright, and lush, catapulting Janjetov's artwork into the next realm. There's something simple in the way the story looks in each panel, but when examined as an on-going, sequential work of art in science fiction - with all of the unique characters, settings, battles, and creations - it's mind boggling how truly magnificent and gorgeously designed the artwork is on The Technopriests.
As previously mentioned, themes such as the desire for peace and longing to belong are all a part of The Technopriests and thanks to all three creators, these themes are dynamically brought to life. Throughout the entire tale of The Technopriests, readers begin to realize that, for some, this desire for peace and longing to belong are impossible to find while, for others, peace and belonging are only just outside their grasp, they simply must reach for at the right time. Of course, with Jodorowsky in charge of scripting and Janjetov and Beltran responsible for art, The Technopriests is just as deep, rich, and wonderful as The Metabarons, though more spiritual and intellectual in nature.
If The Metabarons is the muscle and heart of the Jodoverse, The Technopriest is the universe's mind and spirit. The Technopriests - like all of Jodorowsky's work - explores the deepest, darkest parts of human nature. Of course, all too often we find ourselves reflected in the characters and so, too, find ourselves slightly uncomfortable with what Jodorowsky's work looks like. Brilliant in all of these ways and others I haven't mentioned, The Technopriests is well worth a look for fans of sci-fi. The Technopriests trade paperbacks are available to order wherever fine comics and collectibles are sold.
For more information on The Technopriests, click HERE.
For more information on Humanoids Publishing, click HERE.
- Jess C. Horsley
Re: REVIEW: Humanoids' The Technopriests
Great review! I really need to check these out.