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YMMV: Transmetropolitan
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Spider Jerusalem has this in spades. Is he an Anti-Hero, doing what has to be done? Is he a Knight Templar who crosses the line just as much as those he's against, with his constant physical assaults, and violations of people's privacy? Perhaps the most disturbing possibility: he's a massive hypocrite, who thinks that as long as he calls out the powers that be, he's perfectly justified living in luxury, never giving a single cent to anyone in need.
    • The last point doesn't really hold up given the fact that that Spider is shown giving money to the poor straight out of his pocket for no other reason than coming across a heartbreaking situation and is willing to lose his job at the Word, along with the trappings of luxury it comes with, in his pursuit of the truth. To say nothing of how often he advocates for the have-nots when he's not specifically writing about sleazy politicians.
    • Fred Christ is also a good example. There's no question that he has self-serving motives, but it isn't clear if those are his ONLY motives. There are definitely moments, immediately before his death especially, when he seems to actually be concerned about people other than himself.
  • Anvilicious: Religion makes you evil, period. If you are religious you can't even die with dignity.
    • There's a recurring undertone of "Pornography is exploitative and harms sexual progress".
  • Complete Monster: Senator (and eventually President) Gary "The Smiler" Callahan, in a world nearly without ethics, he goes above and beyond the call of evil. He has his campaign coordinator publicly assassinated to win sympathy for himself after his campaign went into the gutter; he has his family killed in an "accident" to again win sympathy; he has a member of his State Sec pull a sniper spree on civilians so that no one would notice the freak storm brewing nearby, a storm that causes massive damage and loss of life, all so he could wipe the evidence against him from existence (and that was a fool's errand as Spider kept his own private records, meaning that the Smiler did what he did for nothing); he has a peaceful protest of college students riddled with bullets at the first opportunity of "I thought he was pulling a gun"; he allows the brutal murderers of an innocent kid to go free and orders the cops to butcher all of the protesters as soon as violence was initiated (and it was done so by the murderers) and then (briefly) used his power to prevent the media from even acknowledging the riot and the slaughter of innocent civilians from happening.
  • Crazy Awesome - The whole thing, but especially Spider.
  • Crosses the Line Twice - And then hops back and forth over the line some more before firing a bowel disruptor into the air indiscriminately.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse - The Chair Leg of Truth.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop - Like so many things in the series it Crosses the Line Twice:
    Spider: Hi. I'm Spider Jerusalem. I smoke. I take drugs. I drink. I wash every six weeks. I masturbate constantly and fling my steaming poison semen down from my window into your hair and food. I'm a rich and respected columnist for a major metropolitan newspaper. I live with two beautiful women in the city's most expensive and select community. Being a bastard works.
    The City Careers Service. Call us now. No matter how much of a fuck you are.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment - Spider has been exposed to Information Pollen twice, once before the comic starts and once early on, whe he visits a futurist reservation. The time we see him exposed, he complains that it causes an Alzheimer's-like effect and asks, "Did you just ruin my brain, you weird-looking fucker?" Near the end, the I-pollen, really does. It becomes even harsher when you realize all the wacky behaviour you, up until then, attributed to his copious use of drugs could just as easily be the degenerative effects of I-pollen exposure.
    • "Every law that curbs my basic human freedom; every lie about the things I care for; every crime committed against me by their politics; that's what's makes me get up and hound these fuckers, and I'll do that until the day I die... or until my brain dries up or something."
  • Harsher in Hindsight: On the penultimate pages of the series, Spider puts a cigarette in his mouth for One Last Smoke, draws a handgun, puts it under his chin, and it turns out to be a lighter. Sad part? Three years later, Spider's inspiration, Hunter S. Thompson, did the exact same thing... except the gun was real.
    • The Ruin-Storm arc is a lot harder to read for some after Hurricane Sandy, considering that The City is heavily implied to be New York throughout the series.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Spider. His reaction to Vita Severn's murder is heartbreaking, and whenever he's not being completely insane, you can't help but feel bad for him.
    "Sometimes I want to be someone else so badly it hurts."
  • Misaimed Fandom - Ellis has repeatedly said that Spider is not a role model to be emulated. And yet...
  • Moral Event Horizon: Vita Severn's murder.
    • It's eventually stated that Vita's death wasn't it after all, happening years previously with the family kitten thrown under a bus. It's revealed to be the Smiler's favorite political trick.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped - You can't do a tribute to Hunter S. Thompson and not be anvilicious. 'Business', about child prostitution, is arguably the most famous.
  • Squick - Yelena drinking the bottle of tequila on election night. Rather than a worm it has a cockroach in it and we're treated to an extreme close-up of her slowly biting it in half!
  • Tear Jerker - A story Spider tells in an interview about a young woman and her brother. It's agonizing.
    Spider: He systematically sexually abused her over a two-year period and she missed him because he was her brother and she loved him.
    • The picture for the above shot? A close-up of the girl's slashed wrists.
    • Vita's death. Spider's reaction shot is crushing. We've seen him angry, excited, confused... it's the first time we've seen him horrified.
    • "Business". The whole damn thing. But especially the line "Can we go to Long Pig? They have toys."

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