I read the Transmetropolitan series a few years ago but loved it so much I decided to go back and give them a re-read and see if they hold up the second time around. And if this first volume is any indication, they most certainly do!
Living in isolation atop a mountain idyll, renegade journalist and bestselling author Spider Jerusalem is living the life he's always wanted - shooting rats in a hovel far from the bustling metropolis of the future. If only he'd unplugged the phone... His publisher calls to remind him that he needs to deliver two books or they'll come looking for his advance, and if he's spent it, then they'll do terrible things to him. Knowing that he can't write without being in the city, Spider makes the shaky and hesitant journey from solitary confinement to people saturation, losing the Alan Moore look he's been cultivating for the Hunter S Thompson image that we all know and love.
The best thing about this series, or one of them anyway, is the way everything is skewed and different from our world but seems familiar in small ways. Like Monkey Burger or Ebola Cola, to the kind of narcissistic twerps who endlessly blog and tweet and flood the net with their boring lives, there's plenty here that's similar to our world.
More best things about this series: Warren Ellis' writing. It's never been better than in Transmet and it is scathing, righteous, furious, white hot genius morphed into words from the page and searing itself onto your brain. The lack of restraint and free-wheeling nature of Spider gives Ellis free reign to write the most amazing screeds of hate and disgust you're ever likely to read. Put simply, there are more ideas and more poetry in a single issue of Transmet than most comics books contain. It is his best work and Spider Jerusalem is a character for the ages.
Darick Robertson's artwork is magnificent. He too seems to have cut himself free of restraint and plunged headfirst into the madness of Spider's world, embracing it for all its worth and crafting characters and a world that is utterly amazing to behold. The amount of detail he manages to cram into each panel is brilliant and, while I am unquestionably a huge fan of this man's art, Transmet remains one of his best creations, standing above his work on The Boys, The Punisher, and, more recently, Conan.
So, are you a Transmet virgin and wondering to take the plunge? I love comics and this series is one of the crowning achievements in all comics history. Don't deprive yourself of this ribaldry, this chaos, this pure spitting ball of imagination and beauty, of filth and darkness. There's a transient (human turning himself into a grey alien) called Fred Christ and he's calling for a revolution. Spider is on the case... let's see what he has to say about thieves and liars, shall we?