Translucid might be doing itself a disservice by being a monthly book. There’s a lot of things I dig about it each month, but then there’s so many callbacks that it turns into reading the first issue, then reading the first issue and the second issue, and so on. It’s only issue 3, but this book is so packed with visual cues and callbacks to other parts of the series’ mythology that I’m wondering why Boom! didn’t just opt to put it out as a trade. But enough about that: let’s talk about this comic book. In this issue, Cornelius throws a vicious beatdown at a kid on the subway who broke Cornelius’ holographic dog generator. Meanwhile, his saintly older brother Drake (who named these kids?) heads on a different subway car to an entirely different future than he had planned. The Horse begins to grow frustrated with The Navigator for relying to heavily on his technology and hunches, and less on his mental acuity. The Horse is beating the Navigator turn-for-turn in this person-sized game of chess, but The Navigator still thinks he’s winning.
In terms of pacing, I think we might get about as much Navigator/Horse as we do Cornelius/Drake in this issue, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to buy that this is a story about The Navigator and The Horse, unless there’s a hell of a twist coming at the end of issue six. And let it be on the record that if that happens, I am down. Echert and Sanchez will have taken me on quite the ride, and I’ll enjoy seeing what I thought I knew turned upside down. But at this point, I don’t feel like I know The Navigator. I feel like I might know The Horse a little bit, but this book is all about Cornelius and Drake’s interactions at this point. I mean, in the first issue, The Horse blew up the Empire State Building, which is the very definition of “heinous shit that has to be dealt with,” and instead, we get flashbacks to before that happened, or we get Cornelius and Drake time, which tends to get super trippy. As a reader, it’s frustrating.
Bayliss’ art feels like it’s getting better page-by-page, and has been since the first issue. His linework is getting cleaner without feeling uptight, and the he’s selling the hell out of all the hidden references Echert and Sanchez throw in, like the police officer with the Horse ring. Adam Metcalfe also deserves a shout-out for his work coloring this series. It’s rare that you see someone taking back hot pink from the Liefelds and Nicieza’s of the early 90’s and actually making it palatable again; Metcalfe makes this book a pleasant acid trip of a superhero story.
I’m in for a penny, in for a pound on this series. It’s only six issues, and I figure I can spare 24 bucks spread out over six months. But the way that it’s going, it’s going to be a cool series this first time through, and I might not have the interest to read it through again. That’s a shame, because I can tell that Echert and Sanchez are trying to build this intricate hall of mirrors-version of New York City where anything can happen in Technicolor with The Navigator and The Horse, or it could happen in regular tones with Cornelius and Drake. The density of their writing might come out better in a single sitting reading of all six, similarly to Dark Horse’s Killjoys series.
If you’re digging this series so far, this issue is really an interesting step forward for Cornelius and Drake, and it’s visually beautiful. You won’t be disappointed. If you’re on the fence about trying the series out, I won’t judge you for trade-waiting. It may serve you better in the long run.
Writers: Claudio Sanchez & Chondra Echert Artist: Daniel Bayliss Publisher: Boom Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/18/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital