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4 Ratings: 4.5
A post-cyberpunk comic book series written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Darick Robertson.
1 review about Transmetropolitan

"My household appliance is on drugs. Horrible...."

  • Aug 7, 2010
  • by

trans (prefix): through, beyond
metropolis (n): large, major city, esp. capital or center of activity

"This City never fails to amaze me. Here we are in a place with no borders anyone can find, full of people who don't know what year it is, walking down streets being rigged up by Media Scum so that they can embed TV screens in the sidewalks, walled in by billboards that either try to sell us stuff we don't need and never even heard of yesterday, or that have been attacked by ad terrorists so that they now project radio signals that cut little patterns on the surfaces of our brains... and yet it's me who gets arrested on a Temporarily Violently Insane charge.

"It was like this. I keep getting beggars coming to my door. Small children with Boy Scout barcode stamps on their white little butts try to sell me poisoned cookies. Grinning drugheads from The Party In Government plead for me to give up  some of my dollars for the Re-Election Fund. Wet-eyed professional compassion mongers attempt to twist cash out of me for Help The Cryogenic Revivals. And just today, I get this pale little zealot from Crusade Aid at the door, asking for a donation towards the provision of religious shock-troops to continue the massacre in Pagan England. What can I say? It was one beggar too many.

They found me in the kitchen with the zealot. I'd strung him up by his navel from the ceiling light and had beat him with wooden spoons until his nipples bled. His screams had woken up my landlord - which was a trick in itself, since his doctor prescribed him a course of sloth genes to control his hypertension, and he hadn't moved from his branch since - who had called the police.

So now I'm under five days' house arrest, with seven fat ampoules of No-Chance stuck into my belly. If I step outside the front door, the ampoule's little brains notice and pump me full of some nasty police drug that makes me think I'm in a brig inside a Martian colony pylon with a heavily greased slave worker called Pththth who believes me to be his pet rabbit. An interesting one-time experience for any healthily curious journalist, but nothing you'd ever want to repeat.

I hate it here."

Think of all the horrible, ugly things in an urban civilization gone wrong. Think of corruption, of apathy and decadence, of twisted consumerism and self-deception; think of these things embodied into a single mass and turn it up to eleven. That, folks, is the society of Transmetropolitan.

It's not exactly a dystopian future; if you're into pervasive sex, drugs and violence then you'll have no shortage of cheap thrills with which to empty your wallet and fill your fragmented shell of human waste. It's more like a hyperbolic caricature of present day society. And it's funny. Pitch-black hilarious, more like it. If the sheer cynicism and galvanized depravity of it all doesn't at least make you chuckle then I advise you to check your pulse, and perhaps you need not worry about what comics to read this week because the dead read no such comics.

"If you loved me, you'd all kill yourselves today."

And you know what? It's as striking as it's out there. Because the humor and the cynicism of Transmetrpolitan draw from evils and obsessions that we recognize because we are familiar with them because they are real things, and what you have is not merely panel after panel of frivolity, but a mirror reflecting our own perversion and ugliness. Some of the featured adventures are disturbing. Some of them are genuinely touching. And many of them run deep.

"You're a wimp and a freak, Jerusalem.... Nobody wants compassion. It doesn't sell, you can't make a living off it. The city went to me in a landslide, and you know why? Because all it wants is decent television, a bit of spare change for booze, and a blowjob every Saturday night."

The story follows the exploits of one Spider Jerusalem: an infamous gonzo journalist* who takes on everything from the justice system, to the government, fundamentalism and media. This is not to suggest that he is a power-to-the-oppressed-people sort, though; Spider knows that people everywhere, from every end of politics and ethnicity, are full of shit. And he's not afraid to get in their faces and tell them that. And his fearlessness of telling such brings upon him endless trials and tribulations, and altercations both verbal and physical.

Well that's all that need be said. Now I'm going to steal a bit from my favorite reviewer / critic Yahtzee Croshaw. Friends, countrymen, please do the following:

* Find a pen or similarly dimensioned object.

* Place the object between the second and third fingers of one hand.

* Grab your hand (the one holding the pen) with your other hand, and squeeze the fingers inward
  toward the pen. Go on. Do this before you keep reading.

There you go. You just have received your punishment for not having read Transmetropolitan. Now go and rectify this cosmic error at once.

Read well and prosper - when you're not in aggravating pain between your fingers, that is.

 - Kriss

"Thieves, the goddamn lot of you! Thieves and leeches! Fucking vampires! Sucking the will from people whose only goddamn crimes were to be frightened and tired.... You bastards are winning. Hundreds more of you every day. Getting away with it in a place so noisy that no one could hear the truth if it were ever told - and I can't fight you alone, you fucks, couldn't when I was a kid... and I can't now - ....

All I can do is tell the truth....'"

*Gonzo journalism: a style coined by Hunter S. Thompson, who the character Spider Jerusalem is loosely based off of. Gonzo journalism emphasizes truth through language over balance and objectivity; it has been aptly paraphrased as "get right to the fucking point." 

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