Transmetropolitan: Lust for Life



The Short Version: Spider Jerusalem, back on the beat, manages to lose his assistant to a cult and get himself hunted by a bunch of assassins and cops and other angry ne’er-do-wells.  All in a day’s work…

The Review: Coming from the world of novel-novels, I’m still learning a bit about the Graphic Novel realm.  I grew up with Jeff Smith’s amazing Bone (how have I not referenced that in all this time?) and that set a sort of standard in my mind for how graphic novels would exist: they would tell, linearly, a story.   Perhaps several but with one overarching, unifying theme.  There weren’t really stand-alone moments in that tale.

Yet, as I learned from Mr. Gaiman’s Sandman, that was apparently more the exception than the rule.  This, here, is one of them somewhat more standalone collections – not really driving the story itself forward (although, I also wonder: is there a overall story to drive forward?  The President thing’s gotta come back, right?) but instead just shading in the scene and giving us a bit more knowledge of this crazy-go-nuts world we’re living in.  I actually really appreciated one of the middle stories, a one-shot about a woman who was cryogenically frozen today and brought back in the present-tense action of the series.  Her story, told to Spider and turned into a column, is an interesting commentary on our experience of hearing a story about the future – whereas she’s a story that has come to the future.  …that was a thought that made more sense in my head than on paper.

We get to see a bit more of who Spider really is, too.  Stories of his past seep out with every character he meets and we see that he’s genuinely a pretty dangerous guy – but in that roguish way that makes us thrilled to see him.  A bit weird when he fled briefly to France, but also, you know, whatever.  It was fun.  I just wish this had been more story-story – the background on his ex-wife and all is nice but ultimately… give me more than 10-15 pages per arc.

Rating: 3 out of 5.  Mr. Ellis told me on Tumblr that Transmetropolitan is really just “a fairly obscure, nicely drawn container for a bunch of swearing.”  That’s about all this issue is.  That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing – I loved seeing Spider in a top hat and tails – but he’s also maybe not far off.  Take that or leave it – but I know I’ll be following the series onward.

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