METAL HURLANT # 2 & 3

August 10, 2007 Posted by admin

TITLE: METAL HURLANT # 2 & 3

REVIEW DATE: 05/01/03

REVIEWER: STEVEN MAXWELL

WRITERS: JIM ALEXANDER, ALEXANDRO JODOROWSKY, GEOFF JOHNS, PIERRE WAZEM

ARTISTS: PASCAL ALIXE, IGOR BARANKO, FRED BELTRAN, CHRISTIAN GOSSETT & SNAKEBITE, PIERRE WAZEM, J.H. WILLIAMS III

REVIEW:
metal1If your view of adult European comics is one of dodgy ‘erotica’ from aging Italians and tacky, airbrushed Heavy Metal covers, then the revival of Metal Hurlant from the Swiss-based company Humanoids Publishing, may go some way towards changing your mind.
Originally conceived by Moebius, Philippe Druillet and Jean-Pierre Dionnet in the late 1970s as a showcase for cutting-edge, European science fiction comics, Metal Hurlant (literally ‘Screaming Metal’ in French) spawned Heavy Metal itself. But, as Dionnet explains in issue #3:”Heavy Metal magazine quickly (and to my profound horror) plummeted towards falsely poetic and truly cheesy paintings of flying horses and sterile images of bimbos with perfect hairdos.”

For the relaunched title, the Metal Hurlant team rely heavily on the work of long-time Moebius collaborator Alexandro Jodorowsky. Short stories from the Chilean author, and occasional filmmaker, are included in both issues, along with a serialised graphic novel, Megalex, with Fred Beltran. The story – a nature vs. technology parable – is fairly typical of Jodorowsky’s work, where he attempts to blend mysticism and science fiction with touches of humour.
Fred Beltran’s airbrushed artwork, which illustrates the strange events on the city planet of Megalex, is slick but strangely reminiscent of the Heavy Metal imagery so disliked by Dionnet.
Elsewhere, the fantastic J.H. Williams III, of Promethea fame, and the Bilal-like Igor Baranko, tackle Jodorowsky short stories with varying degrees of success. Williams’ illustrations of a Jodorowsky vampire spoof fare rather better than the story, which surely must have lost something in translation, and add a real touch of class to the anthology.

Of the low points in this otherwise excellent collection, there is a Judge Dredd rip-off called Monster Police Department, where the Mega City-style cops hunt down – you’ve guessed it – monsters, and an impenetrable dose of existential angst from Swiss contributor Pierre Wazem, which resembles a self-analytical Tintin story.
Despite this, Metal Hurlant is a brave attempt to bring some quality control back to European comics and if the editorial standard remains sufficiently high, it could well help to show English-speaking readers that there is more to adult European comics than the corny erotic nonsense of its American namesake.

BULLETPROOF RATING: 8/10