Trese followers/fans/readers know very well that its co-creator, Budjette Tan, is now living somewhere in northern Europe, but it does not mean he will discontinue writing about our beloved mandirigma/babaylan and the Kambals. In the recent Komikon, I was so glad he and co-creator Kajo released a new Trese tale entitled TRESE: TABLE FOR THREE. Intrigued and mystified, I soon bought this rather new format–newspaper style — and proceeded reading it. One big problem here, it needs editing.
Before that, this newest iteration has two stories set in Metro Manila’s business center and these circle around, well, dinner! I really dig this one because the first half is more or less inspired by the macabre of the Hannibal Lecter series. The suspense build-up is adequately done, paced to the degree of turning the pages slowly until the stoic heroine makes her dramatic entrance after doing a Captain American-Winter Soldier elevator scene inspiration. Furthermore, I noticed the creative team upgrades Trese’s powers, particularly her ability to deflect and dodge bullets with EASE. The chase is somewhat possessed an Assassin’s Creed feel, particularly the jumping and somersaulting scenes before shifting to the main (and more serious) story of failing to “let it go” murder case. Overall, the plot, the dialogues and the narrative sequences are felt like the first Trese stories (more specifically, the first two volumes)–gritty, standalone stories, very serious, no-holds-barred Trese bad-ass sleuthing intelligent moments.
Kajo Baldisimo‘s art is a mixture of being understandably rushed but his illustrations of Trese’s faces, most particularly the close-ups of her eyes, are mesmerizing and hypnotic. The Kambal is another case for I know they have human eye-forms, but in this new story, they have “white-eye” illustrations, even close-ups. Some pages are drawn in various degree of consistency, some are edgy, while are clean. Kajo’s biggest improvement is his sequential paneling, showing his increasing confidence on Tan’s script and go beyond the writer’s plot, to say the least.
As I said above, there are five sentences that are poorly written/constructed and I hope the compiled or collected edition in the future would erase these following glaring errs (and other typos).
a. “You have ruined my enter year!”
b. “He was so amazed that was born on February 29.”
c. “He always liked it when I wote that blue dress.”
d. “But is it painful to be dragged away from the light.”
e. “…You to think about her and not about yourself.”
Regardless, Trese: Table for Three returns to the roots that originally made TRESE, well, the 21st century Filipina pop icon. Standalone case, gritty and moody atmospheric moments, suspenseful twists and even a mushy (but tender) moment of love. Improvements are to be done, but at least, the creative force behind TRESE is still around to deliver intelligent postmodern supernatural kababalaghan!