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Entries in Warren Ellis (1)

Tuesday
Apr122011

Transmetropolitan

Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson's Transmetropolitan series is one of the pinnacles of SF in comics. Written between 1997 and 2002 it outlines the story of Spider Jerusalem, gonzo, muckraking journalist; profane, angry and at the same time endearing for his fervent if slightly off-kilter moral crusades.

Jerusalem's world is a cyberpunkish near-dystopia. It's along the lines of Blade Runner but in a significantly lighter, more ironic and humorous vein. It's a world riven by political, religious and social corruption, and the depth and interest of the series comes from its thinly veiled commentary on these contemporary issues.

Jerusalem takes it upon himself to investigate the chicanery and expose it in his columns. Though he comes across as a sort of superhero character, he's more in the mold of a film noir private dick than someone who can leap tall buildings. His role is to investigate and enlighten, all the while mired in a seemingly bottomless cynicism about the world that he must overcome just to get out of bed.

He's accompanied by his assistants, Channon Yarrow and Yelena Rossini, women who are every bit as screwed up and profane as Jerusalem himself, and a two-faced cat with a bad smoking habit.

I can't fall in love with a comic when I don't like the artwork, and the artwork in Transmetropolitan is some of the best I've seen in comics. Each panel overflows with detail, and each rewards losing yourself within its small world. The series would be half of what it is without Robertson's pen.

For anyone with an interest in SF, this is one series not to miss. But you have to be in the mood for a gonzo, over the top protagonist, a la Basil Fawlty at his worst, and some over the top narrative. It's available in ten slim volumes from Vertigo.