John Difool is a low-end detective caught in a conspiracy greater than his means to handle it. After an escort job with a noble goes wrong, John is pursued by Killy, a man with a dog’s head. This leads John Difool to the tunnels underneath the floating city where he stumbles across Boargs conspiring to retrieve the Incal, an object with the power to destroy the universe. Now in possession of the Incal, the police and many bad guys are after John Difool. Will he make it alive? Will he discover the secrets of the Incal.
This is a fun story that follows a common man on his path to discovering more about himself and becoming a hero by default. I didn’t expect this story to be so funny. It’s not humour per se but sarcasm. Characters are frank about what they are and what they can do. Few take themselves seriously. The only equivalent to this way to handle characters is the Dungeon series.
Yes, L’Incal is a classic of science fiction that has inspired many creators since then. But it’s fun to see why. There aren’t layers upon layers of symbolism – yet. Well there are some if anyone bothers to look for them. But what makes this series more approachable and easy to read is the frankness and non elitist tone it has. It doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a good piece of entertainment.
This is not my favourite Moebius piece. His work has a lot of dynamism and his page layouts are always different and always interesting. But it all feels rushed like dirty John Byrne mixed with some Barry Windsor Smith. The real problem is the primary colour colouring which at the time was not a problem but makes the work feel dated by today’s standards.
There are many printings of this series and this volume in particular. The one I’ve got is from 2000 and is no longer available as a new release. It seems that in the latest release, the colouring has been redone.