Spook Out Sister By Ruel S. De Vera / Philippine Daily Inquirer
READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW AT: http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/you/expressions/view/20080425-132699/Spook-Out-Sister
“My name is Alexandra Trese. I am nothing like my father.” Her father Anton dabbled in affairs mystical and mysterious; she—called “Little Trese” fondly and otherwise—has inherited his gift for the eerily unorthodox, with a difference. It is to her that Manila’s police turn when a crime scene confounds them, because there is no one like Alexandra Trese.
Stepping resolutely apart from the crowd of the commonplace, “Trese: Murder on Balete Drive” by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo (Visual Print Enterprises, Pasay City, 2008, 100 pages) is a graphic novel that stands apart from what has come before.
Tan provides a suitably street-level feel to the dark happenings, producing plots that feel like Warren Ellis’ Planetary, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy and Chris Carter’s The X-Files all melded together and contained in a fully realized Metro Manila avatar. “That will be the least of your problems,” the fascinating Alexandra Trese barks. “As the universe seeks balance, so does the underworld.” Full of sharp characterization and suspenseful revelations, “Trese” is clearly Tan’s best work, a transcendent product of modern spookiness.
There are some creations that really are better in black-and-white, and “Trese” is one of them. Baldisimo’s moody art, full of negative space, speed lines, a black grid and sharp angles, enthralls the reader.
The elements present in the fortuneteller’s brew that is “Trese” are not new, but the seamless communion of Tan and Baldisimo’s talents imbues “Murder” with a palpable energy. Every few years, a completed Filipino-crafted graphic novel emerges from the mist to take its place among the work of greats such as Mars Ravelo and the Redondo brothers: Gerry Alanguilan’s “Wasted,” Arnold Arre’s “The Mythology Class” and Carlo Vergara’s “Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah,” in particular.
With a subtle glint of eldritch metal and a mystery woman’s steely relentlessness, “Trese: Murder on Balete Drive” by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo joins that potent pantheon, something that emerged burning brilliantly from the shadowy streets we assumed we knew so well.
TRESE: MURDER ON BALETE DRIVE
Budjette Tan & KaJo Baldisimo
Published by: Visual Print Enterprises
B&W comic book
Now available in Comic Quest, Comic Odyssey, National Bookstore, Powerbooks, Fully Booked, and Pandayan Books.
TRESE can also be ordered via the National Bookstore website. Click on the link below: