Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trese book 4: (Not a Review )

I've just finished reading Trese Book 4: Last Seen After Midnight for the second time. This is not really a review, just some random thoughts after reading it. Probable spoilers ahead.

As usual, Budjette Tan's writing is very captivating in this new book. It offers everything that you loved from the first three books and even more. There's the drama and the horror, the funny banters of the 'kambal', the walk into the Pinoy mythological lane, the slice of life stories with a twist and the entertaining popular culture references. (Offtrack question: How many creatures can you spot in the collector's gallery? I see a Tikbalang skeleton, a 'nuno sa punso' (or is it a duwende?) in a bottle, a diwata, a mananaggal's wings and what seemed like a 'banga' (i.e 'halimaw sa banga').

As for the stories, all I can say is that they are all great. Ruel de Vera , in the introduction, is quite spot on when he mentioned this book alongside the legendary classics of Warren Ellis' 'Planetary' and Mike Mignola's 'Hellboy'. I agree 100%. My favorite perhaps is 'Fight of the Year'. It's got that similar tribute vibe which I loved (being also a Pacquiao fan) and amazing story that could match 'Our Secret Constellation' (which is in my opinion the best Trese story). [Though I find it funny that when I read Manuel's lines, I hear it in my mind the way the real Manny speaks. You know what I'm talking about, I mean, you know.]

I truly admire Kajo Baldisimo's artwork in this book; from the detailed depiction of many cityscapes like Luneta, Ortigas and Katipunan, to the fine, flowing lines for the elementals and underworld creatures, to the splash pages and panel layout, everything just works out perfectly. My favorite is Manuel's fight in the underworld boxing arena. I like how the fight started with six panels on the first fight page and becomes 5 panels, then 4 then 3 then 2 as the fight goes on to the next round. Then, on rounds 11 and 12, there is only one panel each. The round 12 single-panel page shows Manuel standing over his kill-- that's the perfect victory shot right there. Add also the fact that Manuel fights a bagyon (?) lightning tribesman, a shark, and a Cthulhu-esque monster no less, says something about the awesomeness of these splash pages.

Some more thoughts:
I have a feeling (or yearning) that Jay Gerson will be back. Though I like how Trese is always able to give a 'happy' ending to each case (by curing the cursed or defeating the baddies) I would like to see a vulnerable side of her-- the side that sometimes lose fights and possibly cry. I think an archenemy can expose that side of her -- an enemy with the same skills, background, or even personality but with different motivations. I feel that Jay Gerson is a very good candidate. Like a nemesis that would challenge Trese's skills throughout many overarching cases. Like her Moriarty or Joker. Like a supernatural serial killer.

I'm also curious why the Great Santelmo is very loyal to Trese. In past books, the santelmo have played big parts in solving some cases.  It actually appeared in this book twice and saved Trese's life both times. (Maybe Budjette and Kajo are building this up to something bigger?)

That's all. I'm already watching out for Trese Book 5 whenever that will be.

(Image from

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