cover image TRANSMETROPOLITAN: The Cure


Warren Ellis, . . DC Comics/Vertigo, $14.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-1-56389-988-1

This collection of the popular Transmetropolitan series follows the adventures of famous renegade journalist Spider Jerusalem. He spends his time in the future dystopia The City avoiding hit men and dealing with government corruption, media infiltration and conspiracy paranoia. In this installment, Jerusalem and his assistants are racing against government assassins to find the last living transient sex worker who serviced America's president and expose the government's web of crime and corruption. Against the post-apocalyptic urban landscape of a federal disaster zone, Jerusalem, who's a cross between Hunter S. Thompson and Bladerunner, is also fighting early onset dementia from a brain infection. Writer Ellis pulls out all the stops to offend, including Nazi sex midgets, and the main character crosses every possible journalistic ethic to get his story. A dark palette and heavy use of black suits the bleak, violent story line; thematic details bind the story together, such as the curlicues of smoke that follow Jerusalem's chain-smoking editor from panel to panel. The artwork helps shore up the weak plot, especially in later pages, with almost hidden background textual details. Labels and message T-shirts provide humor (e.g., one woman's shirt reads "sex object"; a taxi door implores "don't shoot"), along with self-referential graffiti, hotel signs and documents that refer to filmmakers past and present. While this collection doesn't live up to the series' earlier anthologies, the smug lead character and tongue-in-cheek details (reminiscent of MAD Magazine ) will please longtime fans. The collection also includes original series covers by Moebius and Glenn Fabry. (Dec. 2003)