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Book Review < Back

Back on the Street (vol. 1)

Credits: Written by Warren Ellis and Illustrated by Darick Robertson, Keith Aiken, Dick Giordano, Jerome K. Moore and Ray Kryssing
Publisher: Vertigo (DC)


There's a trick in getting people to actually think about the terrible world we live in and the cretinous beasts we usually choose to run it; it's a hallmark of science fiction from Verne to Asimov, Serling to Ellison. See, no one wants a lecture, no one wants to read notes on social and political injustices - especially if it's force-fed to them under the guise of entertainment which somehow makes the Message all the more disingenuous. We are a people sick and tired of Very Special Episodes. However, the wily writer may employ from his bag of tricks allusion, and talk of one thing while really talking about another. TRANSMETROPOLITAN is social commentary disguised as science fiction, which the most potent science fiction usually is.

On its surface, TRANSMET is about Spider Jerusalem, a rogue journalist of the Hunter S. Thompson ilk rampaging through an orgiastic nightmare of the future trying to get at the truth for the benefit of his hopelessly fucked fellow man. Forced to return to The City (the techno-hellscape which serves as TRANSMET's backdrop), Spider finds himself a journalist once again neck-deep in a world full of sheep yet run by wolves. And, as he gleefully tells us in BACK ON THE STREET, "Journalism is just a gun... Aim it right and you can blow the kneecap off the world."

Self-made alien half-breeds, riot cops with blood-caked truncheons and carte blanche orders to use them, government-compromised news outlets, drug-addicted computers and a zombified, media-obsessed populace are the backbone upon which Ellis and Robertson stitch their dystopic parable. Infused with righteous anger and acid-sharp observations (as well a pitch-black sense of humor), TRANSMETROPOLITAN is a shout, a scream against imaginary and savage tyrannies, so strange and so horrifying that they must certainly be true.

-- Matt Fraction

Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.


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