Written by Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert
Illustrated by Daniel Bayliss
Published by Boom! Studios
Translucid #4 is another chapter in the history of the Navigator, and demonstrates the way that the Navigator has used his superheroics to ignore all of his own problems for far too long. Translucid continues to be a brilliant critique of the superhero genre and the characters that make it up.
This issue is the first time that we really get to hear the Navigator describe his own thoughts. Both in the past and in the present, Cornelius is adrift without his brother and his moral compass. As a child, Cornelius’ father blames him for Drake’s death and his mother is ill. Cornelius’ gifts with holographic technology are developing, however, and he scares off a bully by blinding him with one of his gadgets. At home, Cornelius has a terrifying hallucination of his father attacking him, but this time, Cornelius banishes his fears using one of his holographic devices. In the present, the Navigator sits in an abandoned hospital and muses about all of the people that he has let down, even as he wards off a second-rate villain attacking him. The comic ends on yet another twist, which I will not disclose here.
This issue probably confirms that Cornelius is the Navigator, as the Navigator talks to a deceased mother and all of the people he has let down. He seems to recognize how weak he has become, noting that he’s only been as good as the villain he’s faced. I have to compliment Translucid yet again for showing the extent to which a real-life superhero would likely be an extraordinarily damaged person. Cornelius is riddled with anxiety and totally dissatisfied with all of his accomplishments because he’s been trying to bury over his problems.
More and more, I’m seeing what an interesting symbol Cornelius’ holograms are. Cornelius’ holograms can ward off those terrifying hallucinations he’s been experiencing all his life, making him a little less afraid. Yet holograms, even when they’re given shape by nanobots or whatever else makes them “real,” aren’t really real. They’re imaginary, and pretending to be a hero doesn’t make you secure or safe. The whole business of being a superhero and saving lives hasn’t given Cornelius any real reprieve from his numerous anxieties and traumas, nor has it given him any real confidence in himself.
Also, I know that I’ve said this in every review, but I still love the artwork for this series. It’s trippy and psychedelic and frightening the way a really intense dream should be. This issue doesn’t have any appearance by the Horse, and we’re left wondering what his endgame is going to be. I’m not particularly concerned. I can’t wait for the next issue.