Okay, here’s the thing about reading a comic set in the Jodoverse; once you have your mind totally meta-fucked by the absolute insanity of everything you read and see, every other comic will seem like paleo-shit in comparison. There is no going back to your former life of all the sanitised garbage mainstream comics churn out year in year out, you’re sucked into a blackhole where your mind is subject to a re-awakening of colossal proportions. Jodorowsky will make you re-evaluate everything you think you know about what constitutes a great science-fiction comic.
The Technopriests was originally released from 1998 to 2006, and is every bit as enjoyable as his previous works (including The Incal and The Metabarons). This time round, he deals with themes which are very resonant with what is happening around the world today, with the rise of immersive computer games, and the brainwashing so to speak, of the masses.
The 1000 year old Technopriest Albino, the series’ main character and narrator, is retelling his life in the company of his trusted talking paleo-rat, Tinigrifi. The first story follows Albino (who likens himself to Moses) leading an exodus of 500,000 young technopriests on a Star Trek as they try and find the promised galaxy. The second plot follows his childhood and rise to become the Supreme Technopriest and the third follows his family during that same time period. There are also moments from the present.
Albino begins this fascinating tale with the introduction of his mother, Panepha. A beautiful young virgin destined to become the Imperial Palace’s oracle, she is instead viciously raped by a horde of invading pirates.
Soon she gives birth to a white-skinned Albino, his strong, grey-skinned brother Almagro, and their red-skinned, four-armed sister Onyx. Panepha shuns Albino and his sister, seeing them as mutants and unworthy of her love, while embracing Almagro as her own. She retreats away, and with the help of a herd of Guanodonts (think alien cows!), and creates the Great Kamenvert Factory, makers of the galaxy’s finest cheese!
Disregarded by his mother for his weak physical nature, Albino spends time playing video games and dreams to one day become a video game maker. He is made to clean the dirt in the Guanodonts’ stables along with his sister, while their mother and brother Almagro, mistreat them at every given opportunity.
One day he tells his mother how he would like to escape the hellish hole and persue his ambitions of becoming the greatest game maker in the galaxy. His mother then puts him forth for education under the tutelage of the dastardly Don Mossimo, director of the Technopriest school where video game makers learn their trade. He is a fat moustachioed moron with a short temper fuse.
Albino is shocked by the rigid and oppressive system, but due to his tenacity immediately succeeds in Virtual Reality training and proves that intellectual power is superior to physical strength. Thanks to Albino’s unique mind powers and a passion for what he does, his mentors and peers quickly realise he’s not only unique, but a genius. However, his resilience is tested on many occasions and he finds himself grappling with his emotions and the moral injustices imposed by the Techno heirarchy on game makers and game players, and one which he deems excessive.
The turning point happens when he encounters the Fifty Morons (probably the funniest title in the galaxy!); fifty game players who are basically human guinea pigs whose minds are used to alter and improve the virtual games.
With his cunning wit and with the help of Tinigrifi, he manages to locate the sleeping virtual spirit of Supreme Technopriest, Saint Sovoro De Loyola. He soon takes on the mantle of mentor, sort of like the Obi Wan Kenobi to Albino’s young Luke Skywalker!
Besides exploring Albino’s search for acceptance and belonging, The Technopriests also explores Panepha’s search for justice against the pirates who raped her. She is on a personal mission to castrate them all and aquires a ship in order to fulfil her task. However, she soon learns that certain vendettas are best left to the professionals.
She is tricked and captured by Ulritch the Red (one of the pirates who raped her) and finds herself his unwilling concubine; used and abused at his whim. While Onyx learns that Ulritch is her father and is elevated to a higher status.
Poor Almagro however, in a cruel twist of fate find himself cleaning puke and Onyx has no sympathy for her brother’s plight whatsoever, which is only to be expected!
However, through some scheming on the part of Gorth (Ulritch’s right hand man), a former accomplice Thark the Gray overthrows the red tyrant.
It seems his time in prison has reformed him, and he is set on winning the love of Panepha, who despises him, as does her son Almagro even though Thark is his father.
However, she eventually gives in and feels that she finally has a chance at happiness, of course, this being the Jodoverse things can change at any given moment! In another cruel twist of fate, they find themselves stranded on a female dominated planet and are taken prisoner. The childish Almagro is crowned a queen/king due to his likeness to their divine goddess-god! I mean, what can go wrong now?
The inner turmoil of each character plays a central role in The Technopriests. Jodorowsky again delves into themes around transformation, outwardly as well an inwardly, and is never one to shy away from twisting the proverbial knife into each character. He is like a cosmic joker who glees on pulling the rug from beneath our feet, questioning our own expectations and ideals.
As for the artwork, The Technopriests is a visually delightful piece of work thanks to Serbian artist Zoran Janjetov, and the stunning bold colours of Fred Beltram (Megalex). The result is absolutely gorgeous and eye-catching, everything from the characters, the ships, the alien creatures and worlds, it is a visual feast. Jodorwosky has had the fortune of working with great artists over the years, and Zoran Janjetov definitely joins that list.
Technopriests is a richly rewarding experience for lovers of ‘high science-fiction’. It is just as enthralling as The Metabarons, but perhaps more spiritual in nature. It a story that will linger with you for a long time.