3.18.09 Reviews (Part 2)
Transmetropolitan #1 (DC/Vertigo): My best friend's name is Sean. We go way back, Sean and I. We were in each other's wedding, went to college together, have lived together, travelled together, etc. Years ago I discovered that I could manipulate Sean's name to suit whatever mood he was in or activity we were engaged in. If I was simply talking to Sean, he became Conversa-Sean. If Sean got drunk and started talking wildy with his hands, he was Gesticula-Sean. If Sean was feeling particularly introspective, he could be Contempla-Sean. If we're in a club chatting with the ladies, I could tease him about his rap and say he was Despera-Sean. If it was going particularly horrible, he might even become Masturba-Sean. If Sean was laying down the law with someone and being very stern, I granted him the name Constitu-Sean. If we were at his parent's house and his mom was warning us about eating too many bananas, he was instantly Constipa-Sean. When Sean gets mad at me for manipulating his name, yes, even then, he is Indigna-Sean. If Sean is feeling particularly jaunty and different, he can be Egyp-Sean. And on rare occasions when Sean is just the man, that brand of wise-cracking, likable, Corellian rogue, I bestow upon him the name... Sean Solo. That was my long-winded and personalized way of telling you that Warren Ellis is a multi-faceted writer and it took reading Transmetropolitan #1 all over gain to remind me of it. I deeply enjoyed this look back at one of his first hits, with its wry edge of blowing up bars and ebola bombs hidden in the loo. I loved the ranting ramblings of a half crazy mountain man; you don't even notice the pages of exposition because they are so believably in character. What began as a part of DC's aborted sci-fi line, Helix, quickly became a searing indictment on his fellow man and the modern age of pop culture and fame. Lines like "But you really are everything I moved to the mountain to escape from. A worthless crap of frogshit with a pulse and a bit of authority" crackle with energy and make you long for the Warren Ellis who is capable of so generously pouring ideas onto a page. Darick Robertson is an equal participant here, pouring copious amounts of detail into every single panel, they bristle with life and are visual feasts. Ellis, like Sean, is capable of many different personalities as a writer. Planetary is his ambitious love letter to the medium, Ocean and Orbiter are his contemporary sci-fi exploration classics, Transmet is his journalistic writer's ball, Black Summer gets political, Aetheric Mechanics is his steampunk science romp, and the list goes on. Sure, sometimes he misses, but the hits are aplenty and I appreciated him all the more having re-experienced one of the early ones. All for $1. Grade A+.