The Short Version: Spider Jerusalem, firmly retrenched in the City, has been writing with his usual vitriol about any and everything – except the upcoming elections. But the time has finally come: the bastard is back, with a vengeance.
The Review: Okay. Now things are starting to kick into a more proper gear – this is what I signed up for.
I don’t think it’s any secret to anyone who even so much as looks at an issue of Transmet that Spider Jerusalem is a future-day Hunter S. Thompson. There’s even a copy of one of Hunter’s books sitting on his desk in one panel of this volume. Throw in the drugs, the attitude, the fact that he wrote a book on the last campaign… yeah – it’s Hunter already, albeit warped through Warren Ellis’ brilliantly twisted brain.
I’d also have to say that reading Crooked Little Vein has given me a greater appreciation for Ellis’ work – because where this is a comic and just as much about the visual as it is about Ellis’ writing and plotting, that was ALL him. And that whip-fast “go fuck yourself” attitude, in a larger dose (which is what Vein provides), makes a volume of Transmet go down like a little snack. A disease-ridden, drug-boosted, sex-bomb of a snack.
Loyal readers of this particular column/blog/site will have some inkling of my affection for politics – I’ve a soft spot for that most unholy of all professions, stemming from repeated viewings of The West Wing as a child. I got out before the beast devoured me, but I still keep an ear to the ground and a few numbers stored in my address book just in case the day ever comes. But, as Ellis so viciously points out, it isn’t really about the politicians themselves: it’s about the people behind them. For example: Vita Severin, the Smiler’s campaign manager, is Spider’s kind of woman – I appreciated that, on several levels. But watching Spider toy with both the electorate and the folks playing the game… it was masterful. And so unreal that it became quite possible, if that makes sense. Just look at House of Cards – a journalist can control so much, if they’re willing to become a part of the system in one way or another. And up to this point, we get the sense that Spider hasn’t exactly been affected by it: he hates everything, everyone, is a bastard, writes a damn good column, and just wants to get away again.
Rating: 4 out of 5. It’s the ending of this volume that – to me, at this point – changes things. Ellis has done a decent job setting up Spider over three volumes, establishing him in our minds (although I think I speak for many when I say that he arrived pretty fully formed the first moment he splashed across my eyeballs), and now he’s shifting things. Change, of course, being the best dynamic for storytelling. Really what I’m saying is that it makes me excited – I’m half-tempted to go out and buy the remaining seven volumes right this minute (although I won’t, and not just because this minute sees me seated on a train somewhere in New Jersey). I want to know what comes next and I hope that it induces a few more of the political-based chills I got during this volume. Maybe if more people like Spider were out there, our current climate would sort itself out. Although, then again, maybe not – we (the people) will never really……. but anyway, I digress. That’s for another blog, somewhere else.