Book Diary: Warren Ellis & Darrick Robertson: Transmetropolitan Vol. 4 – The New Scum

Transmetropolitan Vol. 4: The New Scum by…The fourth volume of Transmetropolitan continues the plotline started in volume three but raises the stakes – this time, it’s all about the actual presidential election. My favourite episode in this volume was I think Spider Jerusalem’s interview with the President – Ellis and Robertson turn that into a really great portrait of a villain: They give him the occasion to justify himself, to demonstrate that he has his reasons for doing what he’s doing – and that for all that he is not one bit less of a bastard and not fit to rule a dungheap, much less the United States. In contrast to that, the companion piece of the interview with Callahan was a big disappointment – he comes across as your average cardboard villain who does bad stuff for the sole reason that he’s so very evil. Even the drawings seem flat and uninspired in this episode, and I fully expect Callahan to grow a moustache for the next volume of the series that he can go around twirling while indulging in diabolical laughter. While this not bode well for the future of the series, the election night makes up for some of the shortcomings – in particular Robertson’s artwork is nothing short of brilliant there and captures both Spider’s frustration and his rage in dynamic, evocative panels that grip the reader by the throat and don’t let go.

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