Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Book Review: Transmetropolitan

Transmetropolitan: Back on the Street
Written by Warren Ellis
Illustrated by Darick Robertson
Published by Vertigo

Having tentatively foisted the heavy fire door open and exited the rainy night, I mount the rotting stairs through the stinking, smoky, dubious air. The soles of my boots draw themselves from each print left in the…I’m not sure what, nor do I want to know. I’m up and face another door that meets with my jacket-clad forearm. Each chance taken is something else willingly given up.

I arrived at the party late, but people are still lying about with smiles of conversion and lights of redemption gleaming from their countenance. Thus I associate myself with the world of Spider Jerusalem.

Fashioned after Hunter S. Thompson, Jerusalem is a nasty bastard who hates the world, which hates him back. In fact, the distopian world is pretty hateful. And cynical. And selfish. And expensive. And invasive: bodily, spiritually, and psychically. Turn on CNN and think of a Bush dynasty lasting another decade. Get the picture? Yup. Pretty fucking bleak.

Which is why Ellis and Robertson’s collaboration remains so timely. Originally published in 1997, the Transmetropolitan series has been collected and reissued as a perfect-bound edition. As seemingly miserable Jerusalem is, even his cleverly half-shaded-half-rose-coloured glasses see a glimmer of light. It reminds us that we lunatics aren’t insane, we just haven’t taken over the asylum. But it is possible. And we can, if we want. Just turn on your brain and open your eyes.

These are the end times. It rained cheese last night. The Black Squirrel has been seen has been seen as far afield as Luton…And behold a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Death…. If anyone in this shithole city gave two tugs of a dead dog’s cock about Truth, this wouldn’t be happening.
---Warren Ellis, from the introduction.

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