Book: Trese, Midnight Tribunal

"Midnight Tribunal"

The past couple of months have been hard on my online life as I’ve only logged on for matters of utmost importance. Meaning, I check my e-mail once in a while, but when there’s no work coming in, I log back out and do work offline. This helps with focusing and not procrastinating, yes. But it also, quite successfully, took me out of the online loop.

So yesterday, when I went to Komikon 2012 at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig, it was a complete surprise to discover that the fifth volume of Trese is out!

In a city where the aswang control everything that is illegal and where ancient gods seek to control everything else, enforcing the law can be a very difficult task.

When crime takes a turn for the weird, the police normally call Alexandra Trese. Lately, it seems like others have been taking that call.

A mysterious racer has been breaking the speed limit, running after and capturing criminals.
A masked giant has been demolishing drug dens and breaking up gangs.

Trese must confront these supernatural crime-fighters and bring order back to the city, before the underworld attempts to seek balance in its own way.

This volume of Trese differs a lot from the previous four books in that it isn’t an anthology of the titular character’s cases. Sure, it’s still cut into chapters–but the whole book is one narrative that slowly unravels the bigger picture.

I must say, I really like this change.

While I completely love the previous volumes of Trese, there are times when I wish the stories were longer, that we get to spend more time with Trese in any which time so we could get to know her better in that point of time. The short stories are so stand-alone that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where in Trese’s timeline they happen. And so one of the biggest draws of a continuing title doesn’t work for Trese. We love the main character, we buy the books–but we are not emotionally attached to Alexandra Trese. Not in the way we are with, say, Ada and his superhero counterpart, Zsazsa Zaturnnah. Because in Ada’s case, we get it all: the highs, the lows, and the parts where nothing much is happening.

In Midnight Tribunal, we finally spend a good amount of time with Trese–and she’s as stoic as ever. Nothing still chinks her armor. But, on the plus side, we get more characterization for the Kambal, the twin Aswangs who are Trese’s right- and left-hand men. And even Maliksi, the Tikbalang bachelor we’ve met in one of the previous issues. He makes a return, and from what I can take off from the end panel, will be playing an even larger role in the coming stories.

The one thing I liked most about Midnight Tribunal though is that writer Budjette Tan was able to play with twists and red herrings. Because he’s not ending a story as soon as it starts, we get that Trese is not infallible, that not every case ends with her whipping out her kris and demanding katotohanan (truth) from whatever witness or piece of evidence is left behind. We see her do some actual grueling detective work.

Last Seen After Midnight, the fourth volume of the Trese series, was able to satiate the reader in me. Midnight Tribunal takes it a step further. Putting the book down, I already want to know what’s going to happen next. Especially with the introduction of new characters, ones that look like they’re staying for a good long while too.

According to the Trese blog, Midnight Tribunal should be out in local bookstores by mid-November.

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9 thoughts on “Book: Trese, Midnight Tribunal

  1. I really, really liked this one, too. It reminded me of Mass Murders. 🙂 Plus I loved the role that Maliksi played (it’s like Budjette gave in with the fans’ requests haha :D), and how there’s one cohesive story that could make so many things happen in the next issues.

    Oh and I love the Kambal. And how duwende is now demanding KitKat. Hihi. 😀

    • Budjette sort of did, didn’t he? Haha. But what I like about the Maliksi twist–if we can call it a twist–is that it isn’t out of character at all. You can actually see him doing what he did in this book.

      And yes, Mass Murders was my favorite Trese book prior to this, but now–Midnight Tribunal is currently on the top of my favorite list. 🙂

      And yes, Nuno and the KitKat 😀 Will Trese give in to his request? Find out in the next volume! Hahaha. 😀

  2. This is my new favorite as well. And I’m glad that I now have a Filipino comic book couple to ship (the Nightwing/Batgirl thing has been getting old). I hope this becomes an opportunity for us to see a more human side to Alexandra.

    • I know what you mean! Maybe Makisig will soften Alexandra a little. I mean, not to change her character or anything–just enough that we see a new side of Trese.

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