Page 45 Review by Jonathan
Cybo-cops stand watch over the smooth teflo-concrete shell of Terra #2014... where lies the City-Shaft... unfathomable depths, whose only illumination is cast by the neon of the lower-level pleasure zone they call the Red Ring, and by the giant hypertube screens that constantly transmit messages day and night from the Prez and his endless clones...
A posh tourist craft of upper-level aristos sinks into the Red Rings torrid night...
I want to party till my halo drops!
I just installed a new kitbox and its already dripping wet!
Im dying to find someone whos got the virus!
Stay together! The areas crawling with psycho anarchists!
If you arent familiar with THE INCAL, then the rest of this review isnt necessarily going to make a great deal of sense to you. Quite simply, if you havent read that work, you really should as it is a true classic, and just for emphasis I will reprise a Mark Millar quote I used whilst reviewing it, that THE INCAL is "quite simply one of the most perfect comics ever conceived and probably the most beautiful piece of graphic literature ever drawn."
This material, billed as prequel material, telling the life history of the central Incal character John Difool right up to the moment THE INCAL begins, was written in 6 volumes like the original work. Im sure that is no coincidence, Im just not aware of the particular significance, numerical or otherwise, though knowing Jodorowsky and his mystical obsessions, Im sure there probably is one. Jodorowsky started writing this material in 1988, so pretty much immediately after completing THE INCAL, and the sixth volume came out in 1995. It hasnt before now been compiled into one sumptuous hardback edition, so firstly, a big hurrah to Humanoids for doing that and getting it back into print.
Youll note immediately that this time around Jodorowsky didnt collaborate with his Incal co-creator Moebius, instead working with Zoran Janjetov, with whom he created THE TECHNOPRIEST spin-off series, and who also part-illustrated what was effectively the fifth, and most recent, METABARONS spin-off. Why, I have no idea. Maybe Moebius just fancied doing something different. Similarly, he also worked with someone different (Ladrönn) on the FINAL INCAL material, which will shortly be released in English for the very first time.
The art however is still amazing, and Janjetov has clearly chosen to not stray far from Moebius original take on the crazy world of the City-Shaft and its equally insane inhabitants. That relatively seamless continuity is important, I feel, given the deliberately less coherent and frenetic style of story-telling employed by Jodorowsky. THE INCAL is undoubtedly a story of the struggle for spiritual enlightenment, wrapped within several layers of comedy capers, sci-fi farce and space opera, whereas whilst this material does contain some trademark Jodorowsky higher state of consciousness concept moments, it is just far more of an amusing romp.
I do remember being slightly disappointed the last time I read this prequel material, thinking that it wasnt as good as THE INCAL itself, and I would think that was probably the case for most people, but actually, reading it with the fore-knowledge of what precisely it is, and also isnt, this time around, I found I absolutely loved it. Its a fun-filled riotous romp, part Clouseau, part Benny Hill, part Monty Python, which perfectly sets up the masterpiece that follows it.