Transmetropolitan was always going to be one of the first comics I would review. Not because it is my favourite, because that accolade is already held in equal measure by The Sandman and Preacher, nor is it the most violent as I can obtain my dosage of the old gratuitous via the likes of Lobo and Hitman. Transmetropolitan is a brutally dark political/journalistic comedy that concerns the return of Spider Jerusalem, a jaded, cynical, hunter s. thompson-esque writer, who is dragged back to the city he hates. It is set in a cyberpunk future where society and technology has advanced purely in relation to human desire, resulting in a hedonistic attitude and the general apathy of most of the population.
Jerusalem initially returns under duress due to contractual obligation, but after studying what has happened to the city in his absence, he soon finds himself drawn to the oncoming election for the US presidency. But this is just the bare bones. At it's core this comic becomes one man's view of a world that has gone crazy and has not realised, and his only sane response is to return the gesture lest he get left behind. Ideas, such as the kinds of social cliques that could establish in a world where genetic manipulation is available from a vending machine, are explored and taken to their logical extremes.
Warren Ellis has crafted an incredible dark, yet still hopeful, view of the future, and tied it to the present via the medium of the journalistic word. At the same time, there is comedy gold in abundance and the climax of the series is gripping as his war against the President of the United States escalates. I wouldn't dare hint at the end, suffice to say read it if you have the opportunity.
The series was printed via the DC vertigo label and ran for 60 issues, monthly. Time passed at the same rate within the story as it did in real life and the entire saga covers five years of Spider's life. For a different idea of what constitutes a graphic novel, lay your hands on this and I assure you you will not be disappointed.