Comic Review: Translucid #6

Translucid #6
Written by Claudio Sanchez & Chondra Echert
Art by Daniel Bayliss
Colors by Adam Metcalfe
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Covers by Jeff Stokely
Evil Ink!/BOOM! Studios
Release Date: September 17, 2014
Cover Price: $3.99

The first superhero story from the creative team of Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert (Key of Z, Kill Audio) wraps up this week with the final issue of Translucid, a story that deconstructs the relationship between hero and villain as we see the final showdown between The Navigator and The Horse. And let me tell you, it doesn’t go down the way you would think.

Essentially, Translucid asks the question, “What would happen if Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s Batman: The Killing Joke had gone a different way?” And that’s exactly what this comic is… with a twist. Whereas Moore looks at the possible origin of The Joker, Team Sanchez explore the origins of their hero The Navigator. This is all established in previous issues, but reading it as a whole with issues 1-6, it not only becomes an homage to one of the most critically acclaimed comic book works, but it also becomes a companion piece.

It becomes this by building the relationship between hero and villain, and it brilliantly explores the co-dependent relationship between characters like Batman and The Joker, Superman and Lex Luthor, Spider-Man and The Green Goblin, and myself and deadlines. Villains are dependent on heroes, and heroes are dependent on villains. But what would happen if the hero’s greatest villain were to kill the hero off? What would happen if the hero were to murder the villain? As we know, most of the costumed heroes protecting their respective cities are one step away from becoming the villain, and that step is typically killing. So what happens when the rules are thrown out of the window?

This is the driving force to the comic. Obviously, I don’t want to give anything away, but the entire time, you assume that the story is, “Who is The Navigator?” and “Who is The Horse?” While I kept trying to guess who the villain was in the story (with many red herrings and intentional misdirections throughout the story – good job, guys), I was completely caught off guard during the final scenes. I expected a specific reveal, and I completely missed the other one coming. Because this comic isn’t a guessing game. It isn’t a thrill ride, even though it plays well to the ups and downs craved by theme park enthusiasts. This comic is cerebral, cunning, and it strikes when you least expect it.

I loved this book. I love this creative team as has been evident through their previous releases, and I love the addition of the extremely talented Bayliss (let’s just hope that DC doesn’t swoop in and take him away like they have with previous artists). But if I had one criticism with this comic, it’s that it came out as a mini-series, as opposed to an original graphic novel a la The Killing Joke, but other than that, it’s a wonderful addition to a wonderful collection of original, creative stories by these two.

If you’ve missed the comic in single issues, make sure you pick up the collected edition when it comes out, because if you’re a fan of the relationships between hero and villain (and really, who isn’t?), you won’t want to miss this.

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