L’Incal, vol. 2

L'Incal 2Synopsis: John Difool, a low-class detective in a degenerate dystopian world, finds his life turned upside down when he discovers an ancient, mystical artifact called The Incal. Difool’s adventures will bring him into conflict with the galaxy’s greatest warrior, the Metabaron, and will pit him against the awesome powers of the Technopope. These encounters and many more make up a tale of comic and cosmic proportions that has Difool fighting for not only his very survival, but also the survival of the entire universe.

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L’Incal, vol. 2, by Jodorowsky and Mœbius 7.0

After reading the first volume of ‘L’Incal’, I was so disappointed that I just didn’t feel like reading another. It had not met my expectations whatsoever, and even a second reading (with then-adjusted expectations) couldn’t enthuse me about the series. It was a truly flawed book and it wasn’t a joy to read.

But I felt that you can’t always let first impressions guide you, especially when dealing with what some consider a masterpiece. Sometimes you just have to give it a second chance, push a beyond your comfort level and/or limitations to try to understand that which makes something so acclaimed.

I still don’t get it.

Volume two of ‘L’Incal’ takes us to where the last one left off: John DiFool has been caught by the Techno-Pope and is about to be dissected. Deepo saves him, naturally, and they escape to encounter other threats. Meanwhile, there are political tremors taking place in the great city and deep in its bowels.

On the plus side, this volume is more coherent than the last one, in that the thought bubbles make sense here. That’s a huge leap, given how much they hobbled the storytelling. However, a lot of the plot just doesn’t make any sense. For instance, one moment DiFool is dead, the other he’s alive (p.39). No reason. He just is.

It’s also quite incoherent at times: one moment DiFool destroys the Cardiogrif (p. 20), a sort of robot crab, and then a moment later it turns into a flower. What? Or, after the destruction of the Techno City, somehow the Techno-Pope finds DiFool in the rubble (p. 21). A whole city in rubble, but they just happen to find each other.

Jodorowsky and Mœbius also have problems establishing plot. There’s this one scene in which a powerful ship suddenly appears in space, but its arrival is barely mentioned in one small panel (p. 35); it’s a throw-away. And yet, if it’s such an important element, as they suggest, why such a weak introduction to it?

There are also continuity errors: when the Meta-Baron finds DiFool (p. 24), he is only wearing a loin-cloth (out in the snow, I must add). The next time we see him, he’s wearing a jumpsuit and he’s been shot. Really? So… the Meta-Baron gave DiFool something to wear before killing him? Because, yes, there are holes in his jumpsuit…

I was also annoyed that everything is techno-this or electro-that. It made me think of the Star Trek books’ “space karate chops”. Language simplifies over time, but in this book it’s rendered more complicated only to give certain actions or objects a more sci-fi vibe. But this defies logic and the natural development of language.

Even the political machinations, which are at the heart of this book, are implausible and a bit ridiculous. I don’t know… I just can’t see what others are getting out of this series. To me, it’s a jumbled mess, with a few intriguing elements in it. But it’s not enough to warrant reading a whole set of books. Or its sequels.

Maybe someone will someday enlighten me. For now, though, I’ve had enough.

What do you think?

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