THE NEW SCUM is the book upon which the TRANSMET series pivots. It's set on the brink of a Presidential Election between a thug and a maniac with Spider Jerusalem, drug-addled journalist, ranting against the brick wall of lethargic nihilism that masquerades itself as 'voter apathy.' Of course, the New Scum of the title - that is, all of us - elect the wrong bastard, which is especially bad news for Spider as the President-elect has a major hard-on for wrecking his life...
It's what's going on between the lines of THE NEW SCUM that really gets me. There's an inherent contradiction in Spider Jerusalem, never so clearly on display as it is in these particular pages. Spider hates it here, as he is want to tell us, and hates all of us. And yet Spider's stuck with us, stuck roaming the streets and falling in love with the world day after day, a world that's done nothing but step on his neck and shit in his heart. He hates us because he can't leave us. He hates us because he's really one of us. Rage and rant all he likes, but Spider (and, really, Ellis, deep down in his gooey heart) needs us, in spite of all of our failures of vision and imagination.
He's no better, no worse, and no more or less infallible than the rest of we titular New Scum: Spider Jerusalem is, like all cynics, a heartbroken romantic just barely over it. I don't think that Spider has ever been surprised by the depths to which his fellow man sink, but rather surprised by his own capacity to keep caring about it.
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.