The Filth

June 14, 2004 | Trades


The Filth
Grant Morrison, Chris Weston, Gary Erskine
Vertigo/DC Comics
$30.95/$19.95 US (Paperback)
*** 1/2 (out of five)

There hasn’t been a more aptly named book in the past year than The Filth.
This 13-issue maxi-series, now in one handy collected edition, is, without a doubt, one of the most vulgar, twisted and over-the-top comics in recent memory. But whether it’s good or not requires some debate.
Penned by Grant Morrison — a golden boy of mainstream-alt comics — The Filth, when boiled down to its essence, is about Greg Feely … or is it Edward Slade? Feely is a middle-aged bachelor who is addicted to pornography and is living out a rather mundane existence with his cat, Tony. Slade is a super-cop from another dimension whose job is to deal with all the spectacularly filthy crimes on Earth. The twist is: They’re the same man.
After Feely is forcefully recruited into The Filth, he is told that he is, in fact, Slade and was given a new personality when he retired.
Pressed back into service, Slade grudgingly takes on one bizarre assignment after another on behalf of The Filth. From stopping a genetically engineered porn star to catching the madman who’s kidnapped the president and given him breast implants, things just get weirder and weirder.
Chris Weston and Gary Erskine, who manage to keep up with the task of matching the writer’s vision, breathtakingly bring Morrison’s weird world to life.
While there is no doubt that The Filth is an engrossing book (it’s hard to resist the urge to see if the off-the-wall thing on the next page can top the one you just read), it is nearly impossible to tell if this is a work of sheer genius or insanity. But in the end, The Filth is original. And at a time when many comics off the rack are homogenous and indistinguishable from one another, that may be all one can truly ask for.

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