TRANSLUCID #1/ Written by CLAUDIO SANCHEZ & CHONDRA ECHERT/ Art by DANIEL BAYLISS/ Published by BOOM! STUDIOS
Newly released from prison, the criminal mastermind known only as The Horse is dismayed to find that his arch-nemesis, The Navigator, has been derelict in his duties as the world’s greatest superhero while The Horse was away. Though other super-criminals such as The Apocalypse Three have harassed the city, The Navigator – for some reason – cannot be bothered to aid the police in stopping them. Fearing that his arch-foe may no longer be a worthy hero, The Horse sets out to determine just how The Navigator became a hero… and then take his greatest enemy and best friend apart from the inside out.
It is clear almost immediately upon reading Translucid that The Navigator and The Horse are Batman and The Joker with the serial numbers filed off. It doesn’t matter anymore than it mattered in Mark Waid’s excellent series, Incorruptible, where The Plutonian and Qubit were clear expies of Superman and The Doctor. The story Translucid tells is far bigger than a simple “what if?” that DC Comics would never allow to see the light of day.
Co-written by spouses Chondra Echert and Claudio Sanchez, Translucid is less about a contest of wills between costumed heroes and villains, and more about the psychology of heroes and villains as well as the duality and dependency they both share. While this sort of thing has been examined before in other books, this first issue manages to provide a compelling hook for what the rest of the series promises to offer. Indeed, the only real fault with this issue is that it is almost entirely set-up and reads like what it is – the first chapter in a larger story.
The artwork by Daniel Bayliss proves to be a good match for the action of the issue. Bayliss’ pencils are clear and crisp, and his character designs are unique and distinctive. What really sets this issue apart, however, is the coloring. Dull, dark colors are used for the buildings and backgrounds, save for the skies which are a multi-colored gradient of bright hues. Despite having a fairly uniform look, The Horse seems to be a more lively character than he is. With his bright-white suit and a horse-head mask that drew inspiration from a knight chess piece, The Horse suggests an energy that is largely absent from The Navigator and his dark costume. This in spite of The Navigator being a more dynamic and active character!
Simply summed-up, Translucid #1 is a solid first issue. Its inspirations are clear but its purpose is no less enjoyable with that knowledge. The artwork is wonderful and the story will leave you desperate for Part Two at its conclusion.