Sombra #1 Writer: Justin Jordan Artist: Raul Trevino Colors: Juan Useche Letters: Jim Campbell Publisher: Boom Studios
Back in the 1970’s, US President Richard Nixon gave a press conference to the country in which he called out the dangers and harmfulness of drugs. He referred to them as “public enemy number one”, and shortly after the media referenced the policies that followed suit as actions of the “War on Drugs”. The movement really gained steam during the 1980’s during the Reagan administration and in recent times has become a topic of heated debate. With states like Colorado and Washington leading the charge in legalizing marijuana for recreational use, many people have become more and more skeptical of the both the effectiveness and motivations of the “War on Drugs”.
Creative media has taken advantage of this with enthralling and compelling stories commentating on the topic. Hollywood feature films like 2015’s Sicario have built stories and characters around the US “War on Drugs”. Displaying the negative consequences it created both on the rise of drug cartels and and the shaky US/Mexico relationship. Writer Justin Jordan has decided to tackle this issue, along with artist Raul Trevino who has first-hand experience, to visualize a very real mini-series centered on a Drug Enforcement Administration(DEA) agent, Danielle.
Her father, a DEA agent himself, was sent to infiltrate and investigate the cartels years ago. While in Mexico on the case he vanished, now he has resurfaced and is laying waste to the cartels he was sent to bring-in to justice. Danielle of all people, has been tasked by her superiors to find and bring her father in by any means necessary.
The strongest element that this series has going for it is it’s characters and sense of realism/authenticity. Justin Jordan has created characters that when you see interact with one another, feel as if they’d been pulled out of real life. From Danielle, to her Mexican Police contact, and her captain who assigns her the case. Who just so happens to have been close friends with her father. Whats really appreciated to see is that when she’s handed the case, her captain shows concern for her emotional ties but it doesn’t come off as forced, it feels genuine.
I don’t want to go into too much more detail as this is only a four issue mini-series, so spoilers will detract from its quality read. One thing I can say is that there’s some fairly disturbing imagery in this comic. Which unfortunately transitions into one of the flaws.
Artist Raul Trevino’s style can be a lot of fun when it’s applied to the correct tone of writing, Tinkers of the Wasteland for instance. Which is an over the top distopian story with goofy comedy. However as I said before, the writings greatest aspect is its sense of realism. Trevino’s style is too expressive and over the top to grasp the dark, tense crime thriller that Jordan has crafted. An example would be the children’s hospital scene that could have been a very grotesque, unsettling moment. However the wide eyes and exaggerated facial features take away from the juncture.
I’m a sucker for crime thrillers, so when I came across this comic I had to pick it off the rack and give it a look. What I got was a genuinely grim and somber story with characters that feel authentic. Which makes it all the more disappointing when the artwork is a miss in the tone department. However Sombra is still off to a solid start and I’ll definitely stick with it and see what the next three issues have in store.
Score: 3.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach
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