Claudio Sanchez, Chondra Echert and Daniel Bayliss’ “Translucid” #1 is full of cool stuff that is never really explained and nearly impossible to understand. It’s a determent to the debut issue, and a killer for a limited series in which page time is especially valuable.
Sanchez and Echert have some interesting ideas about the symbiosis of hero and villain relationships as well as their rapport with the public at large, but the ideas are so buried in a fragmented execution that it’s hard to fully appreciate them. The script bounces back and forth in time between present day battles between the hero and villain and what looks like the origin of the hero as a young child. Scenes aren’t clearly identified as flashbacks, which adds to the confusion of the issue. Between the time shifts, the incomplete world building, the deliberately obtuse narration and the actual in-story twists, it’s really hard to discern what’s actually going on.
Mysteries are all well and good and I certainly don’t mind a story taking some time to play out, but too little is explained here, especially for a limited series. After several reads I was left with little grasp of the characters or world, and some outright confusion as to what was happening, or why events supposedly set in the past matter so much to the present. In the end, it was impossible to connect with any of the characters or invest in the confusing plot.
Despite script weaknesses, Bayliss’ art is very strong for the most part. There are moments that, like the story, would benefit from some clarity, but on the whole it’s beautiful work. Bayliss handles everything from sweeping city views to a kid playing games by himself in his room with ease and flair. Character designs for The Horse and The Apocalypse 3 are extremely cool and suggest a fascinating world that we unfortunately don’t get much more of in this first issue. Adam Metcalfe’s colors are one of the best things the book has going for it. A moody and evocative blend that cuts loose in interesting ways when the story demands. Similarly, the flashback (if they are indeed flashbacks) panels are a consistent and realistic tone that draws and excellent contrast to the rest of the book.
“Translucid” #1 is just a really confusing first issue. There are good ideas, but they’re buried underneath a strange execution that explains little and makes it impossible to emotionally invest in the characters or story.