Review: Paknadel & Trakhanov’s Turncoat #3

What does civilization look like post-alien occupation? Many countries could offer up an answer, but in Turncoat, the entire world was occupied by a hostile force. Writer Alex Paknadel cleverly leaves the finer details about the aliens (called The Management by humanity) out and leaves us with the aftermath of a revolution. Turncoat doesn’t linger on the politics of its world, but we feel the ripples of them throughout the story. The characters in this book are all worn down, tired, and looking for a way out, and Earth’s infrastructure is crumbling without the support of alien leadership after being occupied for hundreds of years. These are all details that revolve around the main plot, adding a deeper layer to the world in which we explore. Paknadel does an amazing job at blending these slight references, giving this version of Earth more personality than many other “alien invasion” stories. Anyways, shit gets real in this issue, so let’s talk about it. Paknadel & Trakhanov’s Turncoat #3Detective Marta Gonzalez continues the hunt for the missing alien hybrid children, who she discovers are being held somewhere and their blood is being used to create a highly potent opiate. This drug can only be created using alien blood, and now that The Management are all gone, only the hybrids remain. In classic noir fashion, this case goes all the way to the top, and Gonzalez soon learns that the mayor is the one that was keeping the children all this time. Since then someone else has them, and she is determined to get to the bottom of it all. Keeping with its name, Turncoat is full of betrayal and lies, and when Matt (Marta’s ex-partner) turns out to the be the ringleader of the entire operation, we can only shake our heads. In a confrontation between them, Marta is shot and ultimately ends up in an underground hospital, but Matt and his gang catch up. The pieces are all falling into place and the mystery is almost unraveled, leaving us all set for one hell of a final issue.

For a middle issue Turncoat #3 does pretty well for itself. A little bogged down by too much story, there is a lot going on. Between the mayor’s plotline, Gonzalez, the introduction of the lack of city resource plot, and the main plotline of finding the missing hybrid children, it’s obvious that Turncoat could have benefitted from a longer run. But alas, Paknadel still does a great job getting everything in place for issue #4. Despite the extra baggage of too much exposition, this issue is still jam-packed with classic noir vibe, as well as action and mystery. It’s still a very satisfying read, especially with Artyom Trakhanov’s art filling every page with oozy alien tech and rotting skyscrapers. And  Jason Wordie’s colors adding so much mood to this comic that you can just feel how gross it is to live in this city. I said it last month, and I’ll say it again, read this comic! If you like noir combined with alien weirdness, written, drawn, and colored by some of the best up and coming talent, look no further.

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Paknadel & Trakhanov’s Turncoat #3 Writer: Alex Paknadel Artist: Artyom Trakhanov Publisher: BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 5/18/16 Format: Print/Digital