Translucid immediately establishes two important themes. First off, its style is firmly planted in the old “oozes cool” adage. There isn’t a page in this book that’s not brilliantly realized and painstakingly created. Lush, colorful visuals with washed-out purple and orange paint strokes literally explode across the page. Our storyteller is a teenage artist, so the art appropriately reflects this. Manhattan has a life of its own that translates over to some differences from real life.
Secondly, the story feels like the start to something greater. #1 issues in thematically rich content can sometimes suffer due to the lack of further information. The set-up is executed well enough, and it’ll certainly be fascinating to see how things play out. The big idea behind the concept is defining the relationship between the main hero and the main villain. This is where the story is at its best. Many other mainstream comics have explored this, but not having any established character traits keeps the focus of the exploration solely on the rapport between Horse and Navigator. Does the main hero feel useless without his nemesis? Does he feel inclined to go into the spotlight even when disinterested?
There’s some decidedly fantastic dialogue in this debut issue. Again, most of it occurs in conversations between the two main characters. “…I’m just a man. And this is just a building. But you’re the closest thing to a friend I’ve ever had.” Goosebumps-inducing lines similar to that one highlight the possibilities of this limited series. It’s too bad that other interactions don’t carry the same weight. Wisely, the writers keep most of the issue focused on the big two.
Honestly, it’s slightly pointless to try to hypothesize on where this series plans to go or what themes will be realized, mainly because Translucid was built for the trade paperback format. Reading one issue is certainly exciting, but there are so many ideas at play throughout the story that it seems destined to read better once all six issues have released. Analyzing and reviewing once we gain the full picture, akin to something such as Brian Wood’s Mara. Very important topics (especially if the end page is indeed going down that path) and the possibility to re-define our traditional comics structure is enough to give a deserved recommendation, with slight reservations.
Alex Smith is a news and reviews writer for Capeless Crusader. When not wasting away in class, he spends all his free time with comics, movies, and video games, and has been since birth. He can spend hours discussing Saga, Hawkeye, or Game of Thrones. Lying Cat’s number one fan. Random brain thoughts: @imapensfan