Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Trese Vol. 3: Mass Murders by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo

If you'd only listened to me twelve years ago, you wouldn't have had to wait so long to read Trese. But I'll forgive you: the series is now actually being published on my end of the Pacific, and there's even an animated TV series (on Netflix) that I'll probably never see.

See also my posts on the first two volumes of these new editions from Ablaze: volume one from last year, and volume two from last month. The fourth volume should be published by the time this post goes live, as well: there's more Trese now available to Americans than there ever was.

So, what is there for me to say about Trese, Vol. 3: Mass Murders this time around? (Seriously: if you want details, the links above say most of what I could say here.) It's still full of detailed fantasy mythology, drawing from deep wells of Filipino folklore, turned into gripping fiction by Budjette Tan. And it's still gorgeously drawn by KaJo Baldisimo, all silky blacks and creepy lines that make a strong case that fantasy/horror comics should never have color.

But, as I said a dozen years ago, this book was the capstone of that original run of Trese stories: the big mythology story, the explanation of who she is and how she came to be. Not everything - Tan and Baldisimo are smarter and trickier than that. But a lot of details, and a lot of secrets, and a lot of things that lead to further questions. For example: Alexandra Trese is the sixth child of a sixth child: where are all of her older brothers these days? And what did happen to her father?

Start with the first book: it has four great standalone cases, gripping and creepy, with excellent Baldisimo art. Then move on to the second, which is more of the same, though possibly even stronger. This one will then come as a step up, since you'll already know something about Trese and have started to wonder about the things you don't know.

But, as I keep saying, if you like urban fantasy at all, in any context - any stories about folkloric monsters in the modern world - you really need to check out the Trese stories. They're world-class, and well worth your time.

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