Review by Erick Barrientos
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
“And while it’s clear to me that you chose heroics to patch up the fissures in your life, to understand who you really are, I had to see what caused the cracks.”
We are now at the penultimate issue of Sanchez’s and Echert’s superhero opus and it is a hell of a ride. We are beginning to come full circle, picking up with the Navigator and the Horse where issue one left off while we pick up with Cornelius in the hospital after his mother apparently poisoned him at the end of issue four. There’s a lot I love about this issue and it has quickly become my favorite of the series so far, with one more to go to wrap things up.
In issue five, we see Cornelius really start to take on the role of a hero after being taken away from his mother and put into foster care. Despite knowing what she did, his only concern was that she needed to be protected. And now we know why his mother ended up in the now abandoned mental hospital where the Navigator would visit her. Beyond that, when confronted with the kid with a black eye and the revelation that the Father at the orphanage was beating those children who were “disobedient”, Cornelius takes it upon himself to “catch the bad guy,” which also further parallels him with the Navigator through his use of constantly improving holotech to scare the father away. A particularly powerful panel is when we see Cornelius as though he was hit from behind, having seen him be the victim of bullying in earlier issues, only to see it is the kid he “avenged” giving him a hug. Cornelius is just pushing closer and closer towards becoming this hero, but of course, something along the way caused some “cracks.”
While we are watching Cornelius grow into this hero, we are simultaneously watching The Navigator fall further and further from grace. At this point, he is drugged and completely under the Horse’s hoof, if you will. After blowing up the Empire State Building (or at least the top of it), the Horse and the Apocalypse 3 take the Navigator to a farm to get him into the “Martingale” which should be “operating at optimal capacity” by the time they got there. One can only imagine the “Martingale” is some sort of machine, but what it is and what it does is yet to be revealed. The Horse had been setting himself up as this villain that exists not in spite of but because of the Navigator, however more and more he seems to just have that The Dark Knight Joker’s “some men just want to watch the world burn” sort of attitude.
Another interesting tidbit about issue five is the narration that has been happening since issue one had a subtle, yet significant, change. Whereas everything was being spoken in the third person with characters being referred to as “the hero” and “the villain”, the narrator in this issue begins to speak in the first person as though now directly addressing “the hero” or more specifically, the Navigator, as “you”, which has me thinking it may very well be the Horse recounting the story of these two.
By the end of this issue, the progress we saw with Cornelius comes to a brief and sudden halt when he learns of his mother’s suicide and has another “hallucination” with the “monster” version of her. Cornelius’ often had “hallucinations”, “visions”, “imagination”, whatever they are, being as vivid as the Navigator’s hallucinations when drugged by the Horse seem to need to have a larger connection, one which I hope, and am sure, will be revealed in full come the conclusion in issue six.
Aside from the brilliant story, Daniel Bayliss and Adam Metcalfe’s work in this issue is as excellent as it has ever been in the series, especially in the hallucination scenes. Their work really helps take this story to the next level and I thought I’d stop and take a moment to recognize that.
All in all, issue five adds a ton more to an already great series. It builds details upon the strong foundation laid by issues one through four, expands the relationship between these characters, reveals more explicitly some of the paths by which Cornelius becomes the Navigator and begins to lead us into our conclusion. Translucid comes to what’s sure to be an epic conclusion next month. For now, keep rereading issues one through five and keep enjoying the ride.
Final Rating: 5/5 Pews
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