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Trese is one of the most interesting new shows on Netflix, a gritty detective story set in a modern-day Manila beset by all kinds of supernatural forces. It’s great, but it also ends quickly: the debut season is only six episodes long. Luckily, if you’re looking for more of Alexandra Trese, there’s plenty to dig into with the books on which the show is based.
What is it? Trese follows the titular Alexandra Trese, a Manila resident who owns a club called Diabolical, but more interestingly, is also a consulting detective of sorts. Basically, whenever police officer Captain Guerrero comes across a crime he can’t explain, he calls Trese for her expertise on the city’s dark supernatural underworld. She’s the link between the human world and the magical, helping to keep the balance between the two.
The series is a mashup of genres. It’s structured like a police procedural, with each chapter covering a different crime. That could be terrifying — and hungry — baby creatures that are terrorizing a mall parking lot, or a dead body that was found with a mysterious jar of ground-up mermaid bones. These supernatural elements lend the story a strong horror vibe, which is accentuated by the grisly, black-and-white art. The places Trese ventures are not places you’d want to go. It’s not just scary, though, as many of the stories are tinged with sadness, like a fading actress who will do anything to stay in the spotlight, or a raging fire monster trying to bring back a lost love. There’s drag racing, zombies, and a monster informant that just loves chocolate.
For fans of folklore creatures, Trese is also a great chance to dig into the rich world of monsters from the Philippines. Not only are they the focal point of the stories, but each issue ends with handwritten notes from Trese’s father, which detail the specifics of various creatures, whether it’s the vampire-esque tiyanak or god-like creatures that can control fire, lightning, or wind. Trese both works with and fights against these creatures; at almost all times she’s accompanied by a pair of violence-loving twins who wear creepy masks, one smiling and the other frowning.
If you’re into stories like Hellboy or Lucifer, Trese should be right up your alley.
Who is it by? Trese was created by writer Budjette Tan and artist Kajo Baldisimo.
Where can I read it? If you’re into the concept (or enjoyed the show), the good news is that there are a lot of Trese books to explore. The series is available digitally through Comixology; the first volume is out now, with the second due on July 21st and the third on September 29th. In print, the first two volumes are available now, published by Ablaze, while the third is due out in September.