GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Sons of El Topo

Jodorowsky, Alejandro (text) & & others (illus.). Vol. 1: Cain. Archaia. 2018. 64p. tr. from French by Edward Gauvin. ISBN 9781684152896. $19.99. Rated: Mature. FANTASY
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Author and filmmaker Jodorowsky (The Son of Black Thursday) teams with illustrator Ladrönn (Final Incal) to create this long-awaited sequel to his 1970 hit cult film El Topo. This volume opens immediately following the events of the movie, which saw the titular amoral bandit achieve enlightenment and die a saint, and stars his son Cain, an even more savage criminal, cursed by his father to wander the world as a scorned outsider. Since he can't get revenge against his father, Cain sets his sights on his brother, Abel, a gentle puppeteer. Jodorowsky excels at presenting surreal moments that seem certain to be allegorical, even if the deeper meaning isn't always clear, and readers' enjoyment of the story might vary depending on their patience with that type of thing (as well as graphic violence and sexuality). To the uninitiated, Ladrönn's work here will be a revelation, as his cinematic sensibility, warmth, and grit make comparatively mundane images of a gunslinger alone in a vast mesa seem as loaded with meaning as any of the more surreal moments.
VERDICT Those unfamiliar with the film will find this work inscrutable; nevertheless, owing to Jodorowsky's strong following, it should be in high demand.

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