Books, Pop Culture and the Arts

TRESE 4: Last Seen After Midnight

TRESE 4: Last Seen After Midnight

Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo

Php 175

It was in 2009 when Trese 3, the last one before this new book, was released.  After reading T3, I was very excited for the next installment that any news of its release date made me very much ecstatic and fan girl-y. VERY MUCH.

I think there was even a plan to release the 4th book last November (2010) but they had to postpone it.

After two years of waiting, Trese 4 was finally made available to us.

And boy, was it worth the wait.

Here are the synopsis of the cases included in this book:
(text from here)

In a neglected area of Luneta Park, where the grass grows untended, a man is found strangled by vines; which have started to grow outwards, killing anyone that gets in its path.

A manananggal has been found, tortured and murdered. The Manananggal Clan declares war on the Aswang Clan. Trese must find the real murderer before more blood is shed, before Manila gets in the crossfire of a supernatural gang war.

A strange illness has affected the students living along Katipunan Avenue. The doctors are clueless on what’s driving these people mad with despair. Can Trese trace the source of this growing paranormal epidemic?

Once a year, in General Santos City, the demons and creatures of the underworld converge to watch a most awaited event, where the country’s greatest boxer fights for his very soul.

My favorite of the bunch was the first story, Cadena de Amor. Maybe because I’m such a sucker for those plot which would make you go “awwww” at the end. The other Trese story which made me feel this was Our Secret Constellation in Trese 1.

After three books, you kindov expect that the quality of Trese to decline. Well, I did, honestly. I was kindov expecting that they will ran out of storyline to tell, or creatures to explore.

I was wrong.

I think this book is better than the previous Trese’s (with exception to the third one, which explored Trese’s past, and pretty much blew my mind of its awesomeness).

Trese 4 was not limited anymore to murders of humans by underground creatures, but it played on the idea that humans were the bad ones *spoiler alert- highlight next text* (as per Cadena de Amor and A Private Collection).

This book also made me pay attention to the art. I have to admit that when reading a comic book, I don’t really look at the drawing AS MUCH as I do at the story and dialogue. That’s why sometimes, it would take me less than an hour to read a graphic novel. I know it’s a sin. I apologize (someone once told me to admire the art as well because that’s the RIGHT way to read a comic book. Again, sorry).

In Cadena de Amor, for instance, there was this creature named Wari who’s a shape-shifter. You won’t know first that she’s a shapeshifter, until she, well, shape shifted.

On one panel, she had this short black hair, then she’ll have a long black hair with bangs in the next, and then she’ll have a light-colored pony-tailed do after that. If you’re not paying enough attention to the art (like someone I know – ME!), you won’t notice that immediately (until Trese mentioned what kind of powers Wari had). Good thing I did, ei?

The third story, Wanted: Bedspacer, also had that effect on its art. There’s actually a continuity factor in its illustration which was very easy to miss. It had a plot in which after reading, I actually have to utter to myself  “how can I miss that!?”. It was awesome.

(Or maybe the art thing was embedded already in the first three books, but this was the first time I noticed it. Maybe I should re-read them. Boinks!).

What made me love the whole Trese collection was its exploration of Filipino myths and the local underground world, and that was not lost in Trese 4. *spoiler alert- highlight next text* (as per Wanted: Bedspacer which has a very interesting take on Bangungot, and Fight of the Year which had a very creative explanation why crime rates shoot down whenever Manny Pacquiao had a fight). This factor made me fall in love with Trese in the first place.

I always suggest Trese to people who ask me what book to read. Maybe what made me want to share this to my friends was the fact that Filipinos can very much relate to the settings of the cases. For instance, Cadena De Amor supposedly happened at the Rizal Park in Manila (and a peculiar happening at UN Ave LRT station). I will never look at the these places the same way again.

Trese has a strange effect on me. Everytime I read a news article with any amount of weirdness on it, I always thought “Capt. Guerrero should be handling this case… Alexandra Trese will take care of it”.


[also, you can check out Paeng’s interesting ‘prediction’ here]

Now, if only there’s already a release date for the 5th book.

(I kid, Mr. Tan and Mr. Baldismo)

(But if there’s REALLY a release date for Trese 5, please feel free announce it already teehee.)

And now, we wait again 😀
October 31, 2011