Translucid #2 makes the bold decision to pick up nowhere near where issue 1 left off. I’m not complaining; I had a lot of fun digging into this issue. I’m just saying it’s pretty bold to blow up the Empire State Building and then not address it in the next issue at all. This issue gives us way more backstory on the child I was so confused about last issue. Turns out he and his older brother live in what looks like probably Queens with their frustratingly timid mother and their somewhat stereotypically drunken/abusive father. The young boy from issue 1 makes holograms that are apparently advanced for his age (or possibly for any scientists) while he also has vivid hallucinations (not unlike those induced by the Horse in issue 1), and his older brother is a football star who promises to take him away once he turns 18. The way this sequence is told, Sanchez, Echert, and Bayliss have peppered it with symbols of horses and compasses to draw us back to the main conflict in the book.
I think I see what they’re doing with the repeated motifs of horses and compasses (although far more horses than compasses, and possibly more accurately chess knights), but it’s walking a tightrope between being visually significant, throwing people off of a trail they don’t necessarily know they’re on, and just confusing the issue. To venture in potentially spoilerish territory, I think they’re building the brothers up as the Horse and the Navigator, the younger brother being the Horse and the older being the Navigator. But what I saw in issue 1 was the young boy reacting to things the Horse and the Navigator had done, and at the end of this issue, the same sort of thing happens, which would make it difficult if not impossible for him to be the Horse. Perhaps he really has perfected some holograms, like the eerily prophetic scientist said he would at the beginning?
This issue didn’t grab me the same way the first one did, but it’s by no means a bad issue. I still enjoyed it, and having been hooked strongly at the end of the first issue, the Translucid team has a lot of good credit with me that they’d have to really try to burn through before the end of the miniseries. I trust them as artists, and I trust that they know where they’re taking their story; if anything, the repeated horse and compass motifs tell me how strictly they’ve planned out the release of information and the expansion of the world, which are two things that are extremely tough to get a hold on in any case.
Overall, I don’t have much to report from this issue. Some of the dialogue felt a little stilted, but the story was well-told. The art was top notch. In this game of monthly installments, though, you need to leave the reader with the one big plot point that they can remember next month (“Last month, Bane blew up Arkham Asylum and now he and Batman are in a cat-and-mouse game” turns into “Last month, Bane broke Batman’s back.”) There’s gotta be a hook to hang the reader on to bring them back. I’m not sure this month’s issue has it, but like I said, the first issue’s hook was strong enough for two, at least.
Writers: Claudio Sanchez & Chondra Echert Artist: Daniel Bayliss Publisher: Boom Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 5/21/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital