Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Review: Trese (Cases 9 to 13)

TRESE: MASS MURDERS: Finally, a volume that has a singular story

At first glance, it may seem that the third volume of Trese is episodic because it features ‘Cases 9-13’, but the volume is actually a singular story arc, and these ‘cases’ are more like ‘chapters’ of the arc. I think this kind of storytelling is much better compared to the episodic approach of the previous volumes. It doesn’t suffer from the 22-page limitation of the episodic approach, so the plot has a lot of room to branch out and become more complicated.

The complication shows itself early enough, when the story shows hints that it has its roots in the military. The readers will be driven to occult rituals, controversies and conspiracies, all concerning the military and Philippine myth. Having these kinds of intricate plot points wouldn’t be possible in the 22-page limitation.

What I like best about this volume is the time period it has happened. The story features a younger Alexandra Trese, who seemingly works as an apprentice for her father Anton Trese in supernatural detective work. It is always interesting to see the earlier days of the main protagonist. Another factor that makes me like it is the fact that it explains many things that have been established in the previous volumes. I get to see the origins of the Kambal, the Takipsilim, the Sinag, and, most of all, I get to see Anton Trese in action.

There are similarities with the previous volumes though -- and that’s a good thing by the way. The dialogues and plot elements of Trese: Mass Murders have subtle hints of future storylines. There are even hints of past events that have been influential to the current timeline. I am sure that these stories will be expanded in the next volumes.

This technique in storytelling reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, which the creators of Trese admit has been influential to the creation of the series. Yes, I can clearly see how, but this doesn’t mean that Trese is just a second-rate version of Sandman. The two franchises are unique in their own ways, and I am happy and proud that I am comparing a Philippine comic book to something as big as Sandman.

            So far, Trese Mass Murders is the best volume of Trese. The plotline is more interesting compared to those of the previous volumes because it is more complicated. I’m not saying that the previous volumes are just regrettable. They are actually necessary volumes in giving the readers sufficient exposition in the world of Trese, but I admit that I would have enjoyed them more if they also had an overarching storyline and not just individual cases.

I’m looking forward to the next volumes of the series, especially the storylines that have been hinted to me in this volume’s dialogues and plot elements. Actually, there are newer volumes already available in the market, but for some reason I can’t find a copy of Volume 4 even though I see copies of Volume 5 around. I hope that these volumes also feature a singular storyline though. If they don’t, I’m pretty sure that I’ll still enjoy them. After all, this is Trese we’re talking about, the Philippine version of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.

Related posts:

No comments:

Post a Comment