Page 45 Review by Stephen & Jonathan
Before we get into discussing the book itself I must mention the excellent foreword by the artist, Ferd Beltran, where he primarily discusses how his interest in producing 3D computer generated art arose, and the challenges involved in rendering such worlds and characters. I should add he doesnt mean 3D in the literal comedy-coloured glasses sense, just the sense of depth and realism that can be achieved by smooth, computer-rendered art when done well. He also talks about working with Alexandro Jodorowsky and I must confess I had forgotten that Fred Beltran was also involved with THE TECHOPRIESTS books, having wrongly assumed for some time that it was virtually entirely the art of Zoran Janjetov, but obviously not.
Anyway, apparently this work is set in the same universe as THE INCAL and THE TECHNOPRIESTS , though I didnt see any overt connections as such, this seems entirely stand alone to me, but it certainly has much more in common with the latter than the former, and people who enjoyed THE TECHNOPRIESTS material should certainly take a look at this. This work has an entertaining, fairly typical, metaphysical commentary on society and the individual story from Jodorowsky, but it is indeed the art that really makes it come to life, and I frequently found myself stopping to admire Beltrans skill.
"Megalex is Death! Megalex is Death!" screams the flock of white parrots as it dive-bombs the military base. And it's hard to disagree with them. It certainly isn't "Life".
Almost all of that has been consigned to history and buried under the planetary-wide city that is Megalex. Mountains have been levelled to form one homogenous sphere of grey, metal complexes think The Death Star, only larger and the final elements of resistance from the Dead Ocean and Chem Forest are brutally repelled. Governed from the Gubernatorial Palace, built out of unbreakable glass, by Queen Mother Marea and Princess Kavatah and the mummified remains of King Yod ("who has lost none of his wisdom"), the military machine is served by thousands upon thousands of identical clones with 400-day life-spans to avoid a potential contamination of dissent, after which they are slaughtered in vast meat plants and ground up like offal so that their constituent parts may be reused. The process explicitly depicted in all its revolting "glory" is overseen by drugged-up supervisors so that there are no anomalies. But on a chance distraction during another attack, one anomaly, a much larger humanoid, escapes their attention and finds unexpected help on hand to facilitate his escape.
As Jonathan says, the art is generated on computer, but doesn't suffer from the typical clinical forms and/or gaudy colours. It's actually very impressive. And, in the process mentioned earlier, quite revolting. More nudity - it's European.