A soft science-fiction graphic novel written by Alejandro Jodorowsky and illustrated by Fred Beltran. The book is published by French publisher Humanoids, set in the same universe as Jodorowsky's other science fiction comics, The Metabarons and The Incal. Megalex is a City Planet ruled by a royal family and an elite noble class. The common people are kept addicted to drugs and kept in line by police clones programmed to be loyal to the ruling class and implanted with control tabs that will kill them after four hundred days of life. The common folk can only live to forty, while the ruling class can hope for at least four hundred years, and the actual royal family will live for over four thousand.
The entire surface of the planet except for the oceans and a small area of forest (known as the Chem Forest) is covered in urban sprawl with absolutely no organic matter. But beneath the city, the tunnel-like ruins of the old city lead to a series of massive, unfathomed caverns seven thousand feet below the surface, teeming with underground life. The rebels live in the caverns, occasionally venturing to the surface to raid the city.
The first protagonist we are introduced to is an anomalous police clone who is almost twice the size of the rest of his brethren, spared customary termination by an alien attack on the city that drew the cloning factory overseers away from their duties. He is rescued from the surface by the lovely freedom fighter Adamâ, and brought down to the subterranean world. There, he meets a resistance leader named Zerain. Zerain is a mutant with a hunchback who also seems to be destined to lead an open rebellion on the surface. He also seems to be in love with the main antagonist, the princess Kavatah. Kavatah herself is a beautiful woman who hates everything about the Chem Forest and the underground rebels.
Like all of Jodorowsky's work, Megalex features surreal science fiction technology including some that may or may not be magic. It's not as dark as The Metabarons, but still quite brutal and featuring plenty of gorgeously-drawn nudity and Scenery Porn. Beltran uses a hybrid hand-drawn and computer-generated style that gives the whole book a unique look. Three volumes have been released so far, only the first in English as of yet.
Megalex includes the following tropes:
- Action Girl: Adamâ is a very effective fighter, and doesn't take shit from anybody.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Holds true for the noble class and the royal family on Megalex.
- Attack Its Weak Point: The Undergrounders, especially Adamâ, have an uncanny ability to hit the robotic Shock Troopers right in the control chip, through a tiny gap in their armor.
- Author Appeal: Both Jodorowsky and Beltran seem to like bald, busty women.
- Bald Woman: Adamâ and many other female characters. Most of the Undergrounders seem to be bald for some reason.
- Buxom Is Better:
- Adamâ. She has large breasts and wears a very revealing set of overalls. Ram obviously is fond of them and gropes her when she tells him to "grab my waist" to hold on during a hippodrile ride. She is not amused by Ram's mistake.
- Shalise, the holographic projection of the police clone training ship. She tells the clones that she's been "endowed with a feminine personality" while she caresses her considerable bust.
- Can't Have Sex, Ever: Seems to be the case with Princess Kavatah, at least as of Volume 1. A noble general tries to touch her romantically, and he bursts into flame. She believes it to be a curse.
- The Chosen One: Zerain.
- City Planet: The titular Megalex.
- Cloning Blues: It sucks to be a police clone in Megalex. See Expendable Clone, below.
- Evil Overlord: King Yod.
- Expendable Clone: The police clones are terminated after living for four hundred days, the limit enforced by explosive control tabs implanted at the base of their skulls. This is done to prevent them being infected by dissidents. The clones are filed into a large room like a group show, made to strip, disinfected to allow more efficient recycling, and then their control tabs are detonated. The allusions to concentration camps are obvious.
- Explosive Leash: The control tabs implanted in every citizen. The Undergrounders remove them from new recruits.
- FaceHeel Turn/Start of Darkness: The royal family before the comic's time were significantly different from their current iteration, which they were benign that they lack police and army to maintain control until a revolution by a megalomaniacal prophet. Then the three scientists decided to build a golden throne for the king, who was transformed into a mummified form and became more or less ruthless.
- Fan Disservice: See One-Winged Angel, below.
- Gentle Giant: Ram generally has a kind and compassionate personality, but he is capable of violence when necessary.
- Giant Mook: Ram starts out looking like one, but is actually one of the Heroes.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Queen Marea is an evil tyrant like her husband and daughter, and an ancient, withered harridan to boot.
- Hard Light: Shalise is a holographic projection but is able to attack people in the real world with seemingly physical claws.
- Lady of War: Princess Kavatah. She wears elegant - if revealing - dresses and also leads her troops to war.
- La Résistance: The Undergrounder rebels.
- Mecha-Mooks: The Shock Troopers are intelligent robots.
- Metamorphosis: Zerain's hump bursts and a pair of wings sprout from his back when he and Ram win the battle of the twelve chiefs. This is a sign that he's The Chosen One.
- Mummy: King Yod, Princess Kavatah's father, is a mummified corpse attached to a supercomputer that contains his consciousness. He's not a good person.
- Not What It Looks Like: Ram wakes up to find a naked Adamâ sleeping on top of him. She wakes up and angrily tells him to turn around so she can get dressed, and not to get any ideas because "it's not what you think."
- One-Winged Angel: When she spots Ram in the back of the ship, Shalise transforms into an absolutely terrifying monstrous version of herself. Her mouth fills with fangs, her ears become bat-like, she grows in size, and worst of all, her beautiful breasts become pendulous and rotten, tipped with corroded metal blades.
- Sapient Ship: Shalise, the sinister female personality of the police clone training ship.
- Serious Business: The twelve clan chiefs among the Undergrounders engage in ritual combat to determine who should lead the rebellion — by chickenfighting. To the death.
- Shout-Out: To Les Mondes d'Aldébaran — characters often refer to various Aldebaran seafood.
- Uterine Replicator: The police clones are born from a techno-vagina in a large black sphere - complete with a flashing red clitoris to signal the birth of a clone.
- Warrior Princess: Princess Kavatah leads her troops into battle personally.