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Review: Trese Vol 1: Murder on Balete Drive

Trese Vol 1: Murder on Balete Drive

As the son of a Filipino mother, there are givens. One of those givens is that we go to church every Sunday and those extra days during Easter. Another given is that rice is part of your daily food intake, no matter what. Then there are those things that outsiders may look at like it is bizarre.

One such thing is the Filipino belief in supernatural creatures. For outsiders, it looks contradictory to believe in God but also believe in otherworldly beings. Faith is to believe in something even if you can’t see it. In the first volume of Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo’s Trese, they introduce to a world where they don’t live in the margins but very much in the open.

In the first tale, “ At  The Intersection of  Balte and 13th Street” we are taken to modern-day Manila, where a young lady has been found murdered, but not other Jane Doe, as she had been for more than 60 years. Because of the peculiarity of the case, Detective Alexandra Trese is called to the scene, an inspector who deals with supernatural creatures. As she starts her fact-finding mission, leading her to inspect the spectre of a “White Lady”, while questioning  Nuno (underground dwellers) and  Aswang( vampires) along the way, leading to even more puzzling questions. In the second tale, a car accident leads Trese to a Tikbalang (mythical horse) whose thirst for racing gets him outwitted by Alexandra. In the third tale,” The Tragic Case of Dr. Burgos”, where a Santelmo( fire elemental) becomes far too gone in their hopeless romanticism of a long-dead spouse. In the last story, “Our Secret Constellation”, one sibling uses the powers of a deity to carry out a mission of retribution, so that his sister didn’t have to become who she actually is, the goddess, Bathala.

Overall, Trese Vol 1: Murder on Balete Drive is a dense, well-written story that showcases to the world, the talents of Tan and Baldisimo. The stories by Tan are engaging and suspenseful. The art by Baldisimo is awe-inspiring. Altogether, a great introduction to a series that will soon become a Netflix show.

Story: Budjette Tan Art: Kajo Baldisimo
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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