Trese 3 and 4

I read the first two Trese books a couple years ago, right after getting them signed at the Visprint booth at the 30th Manila International Book Fair back in 2009, where I got them signed by creators Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo.

It wasn’t until the third volume won the National Book Award for Graphic Literature that I was able to get myself a copy, but I hadn’t had time to read it yet. It’s been tucked away on my shelf since, shrink-wrapped, because I was reserving it for Halloween. I finally got to break open the seal a few weeks ago, when I sat down for an interview with Budjette and Kajo!

Trese 3: Mass Murders contains 5 new cases featuring paranormal detective Alexandra Trese. Case #9, “A Private Retaliation” dips surprisingly into Trese’s past, showing us a teenage Alexandra being trained early on by her *ahem, hunky* father Anton Trese in a crime that local police can’t make head nor tail of. Case #10, “Patient 414 in Mandaluyong and Case #11, “The Fort Bonifacio Massacre” continue in the same vein, interconnected episodes pointing to a sinister force that lies in wait.

Case #12, “The Baptism of Alexandra Trese” depicts a rite of passage for the series heroine, where, at age 18, she has to undergo twelve tests to fulfill her destiny as the sixth child of her parents, as divined before she was born. Trese emerges three years later, in time for Case #13, “An Act of War,” where the long-brewing battle finally ensues.

Meanwhile, Alexandra Trese notches in four new cases with the recently-released Trese 4: Last Seen After Midnight. Case #14, “Cadena de Amor” deals with strange fauna at Rizal Park; Case #15: “A Private Collection” features an extraordinary connoisseur; Case #16, “Wanted: Bedspacer” is an eerie tale set in an off-campus dormitory; while Case 17, “The Fight of the Year” takes our heroine to General Santos City, in a Faustian tale that’s clearly a reference to a certain *cough cough* world-famous boxer.

I must say, I enjoyed books 3 and 4 immensely, as the series grew into what I hoped it would, especially with my growing appreciation for graphic novels as a genre.

I got the “meat” I was looking for in Book 3, which is much thicker than the other books in the series. We learn more about Alexandra Trese as her backstory — and the Trese family legacy — is fleshed out, and we meet other members of the family: Anton Trese, Alexander Trese (her grandfather) and Alexandra’s brothers! And though the book is broken down into different cases, I loved the bigger story that is threaded through the chapters, and enjoyed the anticipation of the action building towards a magnificent finish. In the same manner, the art gets more detailed as the series progresses, complementing the added dimensions to the story.

Trese definitely hits its groove with Book 4, I think — everything falls into place in this latest installment in the series. The stories introduce us to a new set of otherworldly creatures that are familiar, and yet new at the same time. The artwork is just fantastic! the backgrounds are filled in, and the lines more dynamic, adding even more impact to the storytelling.

I only had two words after reading these two books: MORE, PLEASE!

I join the many others waiting with bated breath for the next Trese book!

Coming up this weekend: my interview with Budjette and Kajo!


Trese 4 limited edition (with special dust jacket) is exclusively available at National Bookstore for P175.


Trese 3, paperback, 4.5/5 stars; and Trese 4, paperback with dust jacket, 5/5 stars

books #96-97 for 2011

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