Ever since the first collected edition of Budjette's and Kajo's opus came out I've been a huge fan. It's not that the idea of fantastic creatures living among us is really all that unique. It's not even that this time, Filipino mythology is used instead of European. The draw for me is that both creators seem to know how to do a lot with a little. There isn't a whole lot of exposition in the words, and there isn't a whole lot of detail in the drawings. Manila in these books is a world of shadows and lines.
This new book seems to mark a departure from the tone for the series. Books 1 and 2 were more focused on the mysteries of the Trese's city. Like CSI with aswang. Now that we're all following along, we're treated to a great big FIGHT!. This series of stories focuses on Alexandra's battle with a god of war. That's right, a god of war. Blood and guts and plenty of it. It can get pretty gruesome. We also get to see more of the supporting cast, along with flashbacks with Mr. Anton Trese himself. With all this, it's not surprising that the book costs slightly more than the first two; p200.00. The size of the comic makes up for it though, with several extra chapters.
The story's got quite a few nice little ideas in it, like a ghosts playing MMPORPGs and bribing duende with imported chocolate. Kambal fans will also want to get their hands on this as soon as possible since part of the through story involves their origin. We also get treated to a werewolf pack that doesn't suck like the one in Twilight. Sadly, Angel Locsin isn't among them. There's also a mention of Skyworld, another Alamat comic by Ian Sta Maria and Mervin Ignacio. According to Budjette's blog, they're working on tying the two books into the same universe. I can't wait to see the first real crossover and see Trese and the Kambal battle it out with the Tikbalang tribes.
Of all the comics produced by the local industry, I love the titles in Alamat's library the best. They bring out the same kind of feeling I got back in my college days, dicking around the UP library or borrowing books from friends reading up on Philippine myths and history. Despite the history and Filipino lessons I took in my 4 years of high school, I never really felt as connected to these islands as I felt reading the old stories. Trese and books like it bring back that same since of wonder I felt then.
I suggest you pick up a copy as soon as you can. Hell, pick up several. I do. If I give you one of them as a gift this christmas, it means I like you. If I don't you're getting some random piece of clothing.