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Transmetropolitan Vol 01: Back on the Street Paperback – February 1, 1998
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Ellis's dystopic narrative, with its full-color tale of a gonzo journalist, shares with mainstream superhero comics a macho ethos that undermines the otherwise cool Watchmen-like script. Spider Jerusalem, a hip reporter of the Hunter Thompson mode, breaks a five-year drug binge on a mountaintop to replenish his resources. The city he returns to resembles the post-apocalyptic Blade Runner and all its funky visual progeny, and Jerusalem soon uncovers a government plot involving a staged rebellion by half-aliens. Two pages at the end (done by a different artist?) suggest how much better this would have looked in a style like Moebius, instead of the conventional DC-house graphics. Still, lots of background gags and some sharp cross-cutting panels make for a compelling read. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Meet Spider Jerusalem. An anitsocial journalist forced out of his temporary retirement by lawyers, Spider embodies the two things we love about antiheroes, he'll fight against all the corruption and exploitation in the world, while still raging at the complacent citizens who let it go on. In this volume, he covers stories about the human-alien hybrid movement, the presidential election, television, and the new religions popping up like weeds. Ellis writes fantastic dialogue and brutal sarcasm to immerse you in these scenes. The artwork is also great, with Robertson loading the background with details and gags so that you want to read every panel twice.
This looks like it's going to be one of my favorite Vertigo series.
political savvy = 5stars
Societal Critique = 5 stars
Imagination = 5 stars
Artwork = 10 STARS
The only problem I had with this is the main character, Spider. I thought it was too much of a hyperbolic depiction of Hunter S. Thompson set in the future. There were too many clear parallels between the famous "doctor of Journalism" and the protagonist. I couldn't help but picture Thompson doing all of these things, and the problem was that I couldn't see Thompson acting in this way (even if he was supposed to be Raoul Duke).
I truly appreciated the writing whenever Spider began using his journalistic voice, but he actions and dialogue seemed off to me. I'm hoping this was an attempt at an explosive first couple of issues and that the character will simmer/settle in the subsequent volumes.
All said, 10 out of 10 would recommend!
Aside from praise for the series, the volume itself arrived well bound and vibrantly printed.
I only give it four stars because it kind of throws you into the story and expects you to catch up. Perhaps there will be a back-story somewhere along the line, but it doesn't really matter. Also, it's got a certain feel to it that I'm sure will turn a lot of people off - if you are easily offended stay away. I think I'm exceptionally open minded about things and there are moments when I think perhaps the writer has pushed too far to try and make a point, and instead it just seems forced in order to gain shock value. Nothing is off-limits. However, I am currently on #3 and intend to keep going.
One really cool aspect of this collection is the highly detailed artwork. The background is chock full of little zingers and jokes and what-not. If you take the time to carefully study the panels, you realize you're getting a LOT more than you might have bargained for. I recommend it, but it's definitely not for everyone.
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Spider Jerusalem is a political, harsh, funny, aggressive, real and may be one of the best characters I’ve seen in comic book...Read more
Spider Jerusalem, a hard-hitting journalist, is forced out of retirement by a...Read more