Page 45 Review by Stephen
DC has recently been repackaging its slimmer Vertigo volumes into heftier editions, and this combines the third and fourth - YEAR OF THE BASTARD and NEW SCUM - for little more money than those single editions. It also includes the one-shot TRANSMETROPOLITAN: I HATE IT HERE.
Year Of The Bastard
"You want to know about voting. I'm here to tell you about voting.
"Imagine you're locked in a huge underground nightclub filled with sinners, whores, freaks and unnameable things that rape pit bulls for fun. And you ain't allowed out until you all vote on what you're going to do tonight. You'd like to put your feet up and watch "Republican Party Reservation." They like to have sex with normal people using knives, guns, and brand-new sexual organs that you did not know existed. So you vote for television, and everyone else, as far as your eye can see, votes to fuck you with switchblades.
"That's voting. You're welcome."
Very helpful, Spider. Thank you.
Spider Jerusalem has a second unwilling assistant foisted upon him by his editor. She's called Yelena, but don't expect him to remember that. Worse still his editor is demanding that Jerusalem sinks himself back into the quagmire of politics for the opposition party's Presidential nominations. That will require an awful lot of drugs.
First up is Senator Gary Callahan, sitting there with his rictus grin behind both a political director and a political consultant who squabble. It's Tony Blair, and he's a fake. But the alternative is far worse: a racist fear-monger whose rallies sound like Nuremberg. What's an uncompromising campaigning journalist to do? Manipulate the least awful option into promising hard policy on physical problems because someone has to oust the incumbent President somewhere down the line. Unfortunately for Spider there are more unfortunate truths to be uncovered.
Darick does a remarkable job of keeping what is essentially political debate and swearing visually stimulating, Warren affording him whole pages to go nuts on, surrounding a maniacal Jerusalem with hellfire as he assaults his laptop and thereby the minds of his New Scum followers.
"Everything you look at tells you it's the future. But everything you hear is the same old same old."
Politics for a start, and a public so self-centredly apathetic it cannot even be arsed to get out from in front of the TV once every four years to drag its sorry collective carcass down to the polling booths and vote.
(If you don't vote then you have no right to complain about any aspect of life in the UK. Please don't tell me they're all the same. If you think the BNP is the same as the Liberal Party then I agree that you should at least have your hand held at the booth, but if you decide not to vote because you don't think yours will count then you are an outrageously egocentric wanker I don't even want to take money from.)
As the Presidential Election looms in the wake of last volume's murder, there is a pause to take stock. Everything's changed. The President has gone to ground leaving the ruthless, misanthropic opposition candidate Callahan to bask in a new electoral sympathy, whilst Spider Jerusalem stands way, way up on the balcony of his luxurious new apartment, sequestered from the political intrigue that he feels sucked him in but also from the streets below. It's there that mothers are having to pawn their child's favourite teddy bear for the sake of an appetite suppressor, where all manner of injustices are taking place because of the people in power: those with no ambition, or worse still, those with the active ambition to screw everyone over. Then suddenly both candidates want to be interviewed by the man they loathe most. They're going to wake giant up...
Meanwhile, as I say, it's all fun and games down below with a "back to basics" Rechristianity movement stoning people on the street:
"We're bringing moral order to our communities first, before we take it to the country. And I'm afraid that has to include the death penalty."
"Well, I can't proffer you a complete list..."
"I'm recording this for a column. Summarise. Let's bring your truth to the people."
"Oh, I like that. You're a filthy man who should have God's wrath visited upon his nether regions, but you have a good heart. Well now... homosexuality, heresy, unchastity before marriage, cursing one's parents, fogletism, women who get abortions, people who advise them to do so..."
"And why stoning?"
"It's traditional, clean and holy. And cheap, of course. Furthermore, it puts law in the hands of the people. Executions should be community projects."
Darrick Robertson's one-panel punchline to Spider Jerusalem's wicked desecration of some young children's snowmen is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.