Review: Translucid #6

And here we are six months later, finishing up Translucid together, becoming the audience we were always meant to be. It’s been a bumpy ride, but in the end, it was all worth it. In this issue, the Horse has the Navigator held hostage in his murder dungeon, having done away with his associates and left the city without its hero.  While the Navigator grapples with his own demons in his head, the Horse intrudes on the dreamscape and they fight, ideologically and physically. One of them emerges as the clear victor, and the renewed hero the city needs.

This series was a little bit of a rollercoaster ride for me. I loved the idea and the first issue, and then I felt like it dragged a bit, and then it picked up quite nicely in the back half. A lot of the problems I had with it, I’m willing to chalk up to the decompression of the series as a monthly release. When there’s 28 days between each installment and each new piece of evidence you get, it’s tough to follow a series that marks itself by character growth, more so than plot movements (e.g. it’s much easier to track the things that have been happening in Jon Hickman’s New Avengers from month to month than it is to track things that have been happening in Joe Keatinge’s Shutter; both are phenomenal, in wildly different ways). But again, where I think the monthly installments of Translucid suffered for that, I think the collected edition will shine.

Translucid_06_coverADaniel Bayliss is the true undiscovered hero of this project, as he has been month after month. The writing team of Chondra Echert and Claudio Sanchez are known quantities who produce solid work time after time; Bayliss is a new face on the scene, and he’s been fantastic from “go.” Luckily, he’s gotten better and better as the months have gone on. Whoever is the lucky son of a bitch to grab Bayliss for their next project will have quite the beautiful book on their hands. The other unsung hero of the book is colorist Adam Metcalfe. For a book that exists in a hyperreal world of grimdark superheroes as well as within the mindscape of a very damaged little boy, being able to use color to enhance and diminish the surreality of a situation has been an ongoing trait of this book. Metcalfe deserves a round of applause for his totally weird but totally appropriate melding of zine-style coloring with lots of bright, flat tones, and his amazing coloring of the realistic segments.

At the beginning, this book set out to make a statement about the connection between vigilantes and their villains. The shorthand was that it was a Batman book where the Joker had to save Batman, and I can definitely see elements of that in the final product. Whether what they said in the end has a lasting effect remains to be seen; the finale of this book certainly planted some seeds in my head for new ways to look at vigilante superheroes, but shouldn’t they have been planted at the beginning? Shouldn’t they be sprouting by now, instead of just now taking root?

This was a solid series. It will hold a respectable spot on your shelf next to The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys and other colorful, apocalyptic miniseries in recent memory. I’m definitely looking forward to sitting down in an afternoon soon and reading the whole collected edition and seeing if that streamlines the story a bit, but otherwise, I have no complaints. It’s been a heck of a half year; can’t wait to see what Echert, Sanchez and Bayliss get into next.

Score: 4/5 

Writer: Claudio Sanchez & Chondra Echert Artist: Daniel Bayliss Publisher: BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/17/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital