Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review - Translucid #1

"There have been accusations he's fallen short while I've been away. This city cannot function with a lost hero."

Heroes and villains offer timeless struggles, both physically and mentally. How does a hero cope with the potential death of his nemesis? BOOM! Studios offers such a tale in Translucid #1. The issue is written by Chondra Echert and Claudio Sanchez and illustrated by Daniel Bayliss.

The Horse has been the arch-enemy of The Navigator for years. But The Horse feels The Navigator’s moral compass slipping, and even a villain can’t let that happen. The Horse decides to get a closer look into The Navigator’s past that he’s buried deep in his subconscious and find out what drives a person to make the right choice and what propels someone to make a selfish one. Thus begins an exploration of why a young man would take the mantle of a superhero.

The premise behind Translucid #1 seems pretty basic on its surface, but Echert and Sanchez attempt to infuse headier themes than just good versus evil. The story plays out really as an elaborate scheme to elicit a response from a character and both the Navigator and the Horse are two sides of the same coin. Echert and Sanchez draw largely upon the relationship between Batman and the Joker, as the two perform an eternal waltz pitting order against chaos. Navigator is clearly inspired by Batman, while the Horse offers a personality that's a little more organized than that of the Joker, but equally as unhinged. There are some other scenes interspersed throughout that seem to offer a fourth wall aspect to the book and could prove to be more intriguing as the series progresses.

Bayliss' illustrations are rather beautiful in a deranged sort of way. The Horse comes across as calculated and brutally efficient, while Navigator's blanket heroism and naive appreciation of good is evidenced by heroic stances. The color palette is a little on the bright side as well; a choice that actually enhances the effect of the character interactions and doesn't undermine the rather dramatic nature. Cityscapes are rather lush and give the reader a true sense of the world the Navigator struggles to protect. Panel layouts are pretty standard, yet there's a particularly close set of panels that really offer a great perspective of certain aspects of the city.

Translucid #1 attempts to subvert many familiar superhero notions by offering a deconstruction of that hero's relationship with the villain. Echert and Sanchez make that feel slightly fresher by giving the reader something slightly realistic that they can hold onto. Bayliss demonstrates a great command of settings and character illustrations, excelling with masks and non-human faces. Translucid #1 offers an intriguing premise that could lead to some philosophical themes in future issues that take new perspectives on what it means to be a superhero and a supervillain. Everything's not as simple as monologues and epic battles.

Translucid #1 is available in stores April 16 with interiors below.


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