the Little Red Reviewer

Transmetropolitan Volume 1

Posted on: April 8, 2015

transmetropolitan v 1Transmetropolitan Vol 1 by Warren Ellis, artwork by Darick Robertson

published in 2009

where I got it: published new












Journalist Spider Jerusalem has been hiding in a mountain cabin in the woods for a while. He’s gotten rough around the edges, his hair is down to his waist, he hates everyone. Hard to believe he’s only been out there a few years. One best-selling book was all it took for him to get more than his fifteen minutes of fame, and when the attention stopped agreeing with him, he went up the mountain and promised never to come down. Except for the pesky fact that he’s still under contract with his publisher for two more books.

And how the hell do you writing a biting political book out in the woods? You don’t. Spider is going to have to return his natural habitat. The City. It’s loud, it’s filthy, it’ll hate him right back, it’s full of noise and insanity and things happening. In short, it’s the perfect place to complete his contractual obligations. Thanks to his still existing journalism contacts, he’s able to get his old job back. Luckily it comes with an apartment. That’s a shithole. Now, not only does he have two books to write, but he’s got newspaper deadlines to meet, a city that evolved into who knows what without bothering to tell him, and an assistant who doesn’t take any shit from him.

Now that he’s settled in, it’s time to get to work. The major plotline of this first volume of Transmetropolitan involves The Transients. This group of people genetically modifies their bodies to include alien DNA. They are all slowly changing into blue-ish humanoid aliens. A transient demonstration turns into a riot, and Spider reports live from a nearby rooftop. Here he is, reporting on the story of the year, and wasn’t he trying to avoid fame and attention? As much as he hates the attention, he can’t stop doing what he loves – getting a good story, and making sure everyone knows the truth.

Warren Ellis’s Transmetropolitan is crass, ugly, unforgiving and bitingly intelligent. At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked Spider. Would it have killed him to put some pants on? Seriously. Once he gets to the city, I can see why he left, and wanted to stay gone. Maybe it’s just me being a prude, but the tour I got of the city included more prostitutes, strip clubs, and general boobage than I usually go for (yup, that’s me being a prude. Get over it). That said, the artwork was pretty fantastic. The artist, Darick Robertson, does some pretty amazing things, really giving a feeling of motion and urgency to static artwork. And this is going to sound petty, but this was a huge bonus for me: The pages are matte, not shiny. For some reason, shiny pages are hard for me to read, and matte is much easier. Thus, if your graphic novel is printed on matte paper, I am much more likely to buy it, read it, and forgive nit pics that would bother me a lot more on shiny paper.

Do I want to have dinner with Spider? Nope. Do I think he’s an ass? Yes. Am I interested in the rest of his story? Yup. All Spider cares about is the truth, and I’m curious to see what happens when he forces the populace to see it. I don’t need to like him to want to see what happens next.

1 Response to "Transmetropolitan Volume 1"

I really enjoyed Transmetropolitan, although it’s been several years since I revisited it. Hope you like the rest of the series.


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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