Megalex was published by Humanoids, collecting all three volumes of the Megalex arc by Alexandro Jodorowsky and Fred Beltran. This review is for all three volumes, and if you’re a fan of Jodorowsky like I am, or stunning sci-fi artwork, then boy are you in for a treat!
European and Asian science fiction storytelling tends to resonate with me more strongly, than say American ones, purely for the fact that some of the ideas expressed through writers and artists such as Jodorowsky, Otomo, Moebius, Enki Bilal et al, are more daring and appealing to me. Sometimes they blur the line between reality and fantasy and operate on a higher plane of existence. Slowly over the years I found myself falling out of love with American superhero comics, and more in love with these master storytellers from different parts of the world.
And Megalex is a comic which encompasses everything I love in my comics; it’s twisted, sexy, mind-boggling, funny, topical and bat shit insane!
The story is set in the city planet Megalex, a technological power which is ruled with an iron fist by the ruling elite; the royal family composed of undead King Yod, Queen Marea, and the beautiful Princess Kavatah. Only two parts of the world escape their authority; the haunted forest and the deadly sea.
Megalex is filled with giant clones and drugged up workers. After 400 days of service, these clones are disposed of and new ones are born via a mechanical apparatus which resembles a vagina. Of course this is apt in terms of symbology, but the clones prior to their death, become aware of their impending doom and start a riot.
Amidst the hysteria, a new clone emerges who is referred to as the ”Anomaly” and later named Ram.
He has genetic shortcomings and this abnormality creates in him the desire to break his chains and escape Megalex. On board a craft, an A.I being called “Shalise” spots him, and he flees the ship with his life.
He is helped by Adama, a beautiful buxom woman from the labyrinth in the underbelly of Megalex, which was created “before the Anti-gravity era.”
Ram starts developing a crush on Adama (quite frankly, what hot blood male wouldn’t!) which she brushes off (at first).
They hitch a ride on an hippordile; an enormous, intelligent crocodile creature with the ability to speak (probably a relative of Sensitive Klegg from Judge Dredd‘s world!). They go deep into the bowels of the labyrinth and meet some tribal chiefs.
Meanwhile on Megalex, food parcels or “manna” are dropped from the military ships, and the residents are able to transform the gloop into any manner of food they desire.
But rebels from the labyrinth plot an attack on one of the military complexes, which in turn enrages King Odd and Queen Marea. Soon all hell breaks loose and our heroes Adama and Ram find themselves in the thick of it, with Princess Kavatha playing a key part in the story as well as a hunchback named Zerain who sprouts wings and declares war on Megalex.
The theme of nature versus machine features strongly in the story, as does love and transformation of characters. The fact that Jodorowsky delves deeper into these themes is one of the strong points of the story amidst the more crazy stuff, and believe me, Megalex is crazy with a capital C!
Fred Beltran’s artwork is so fucking good, at times it left me speechless. The first two books are computer generated and the fact that the first book was released in 1999, makes it even more impressive. It actually complements the story perfectly, with the artificial clean features of the city and the clone characters which all add up to a very eye-popping experience.
The third book is rendered in a more traditional hand drawn style. It is a slight disappointment in terms of the overall style of the story, but showcases Beltran’s versatile prowess as an exceptional artist.
Megalex is a world full of rich visualisation, and insane ideas. Fans of Jodorowsky will want to check it out as will fans of science fiction storytelling in general. If nothing else, then Beltran’s stunning artwork which is an absolute joy to observe.