Robert Beveridge's Reviews > Transmetropolitan, Vol. 2: Lust for Life

Transmetropolitan, Vol. 2 by Warren Ellis
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Mar 29, 09

bookshelves: cuy-co-pub-lib, finished
Read in February, 2009

Warren Ellis, Transmetropolitan: Lust for Life (DC, 1998)

The great thing about Transmetropolitan is that Warren Ellis seems to remember something that no satirist since Mark Twain has gotten right; while the heart of any satire is soaked in acid, the surface is supposed to be funny. It's not satire if it doesn't make us laugh at it (the humorless bastards who can't find anything funny in “A Modest Proposal” notwithstanding). And while Transmetropolitan mirrors most modern satire in that the heart is certainly soaked with acid, it is that rarest of commodities in that it also gets the surface bit right; it's damned funny, even as it wants to break our hearts. We're not supposed to like Spider Jerusalem all that much; he's addicted to everything, he treats his assistant like pure-D crap, he's misanthropic (though one thinks he takes entirely too much glee in his misanthropy to truly be a misanthrope). He's just plain not likable. And yet we can't help feeling for the guy, who just wants to make the world a slightly better place—even if his idea of how to go about that would involve tactical nuclear weapons. But really, haven't we all felt that way sometimes? (Hint: if you haven't, and you're considering purchasing this, you're in the wrong place. I'd suggest considering the equally brilliant, but far more optimistic, Bleach, or maybe Hikaru no Go.) Transmetropolitan is satire at its finest, all the more so because Warren Ellis has never met a line he doesn't want to cross. I mean, come on, Spider Jerusalem's wife's severed, cryogenically-frozen head is kidnapped and still comes back to terrorize him like a penanggalan? Beautiful! ****

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