‘Sombra’ #1 sets the plot and tone early on
Justin Jordan is no stranger to stories of violence (see every Luther Strode iteration). Sombra sees Jordan crafting a tale in which the violent aspects of the Mexican cartel are not necessarily a focus of this first issue but come in small, disturbing doses. The story is of Danielle Marlowe, a DEA agent who ventures to Mexico City in search of her father, Conrad Marlowe, whom is known around by the local police and journalists as a monster from the brutal violent tactics he is using to fight with the cartel (whom also leaves a message for the DEA in a recorded video of the murdering of a fellow DEA agent). A lot is set up in this issue, with a heavy focus on plot and less on characters like the main one in Danielle, drawing from personal experiences by Mexican resident and series artist Raul Trevino.
Trevino’s art style is very photo realistic at times, drawing attention towards the fact that these places being shown actually exist. His detailed takes on the surroundings, even when it is in the background, creates a focus on the city as being not only an important aspect to the story but as a character in itself. The only slight annoyance to his pencils is the way in which he draws eyes. There are a few moments in which the awkwardly doe-eyed look of Danielle takes away the emotion of a particular panel. Beside this minor bump, Trevino additionally illustrates some well-lit scenes, playing with the shadows as light enters through the openings of blinds; the darkness represented through the cartels appears to loom throughout, even in broad daylight.
Colourist Juan Useche dramatically adds a lot of character to this title. The muted browns, yellows and soft pinks, oranges contrasts well when the bright red blood of a gruesome image appears, making the violence all the more jarring. Letterer Jim Campbell does a great job at handling the heavy amount of dialogue and word balloons with the open spaces within the panels, never distracting the eye too much from the visuals.
Sombra starts off fairly well and establishes the forward momentum very early on. Instead of playing with the reader, it is nice to get the exposition and purpose stamped down nice and early. Knowing the dark, mysterious existence of the cartels looming over Danielle and the contacts she has made in Mexico City, there are sure to be a few unexpected surprises along the way to tracking down her father.
Sombra #1 (of 4)
Illustrated by Raul Trevino
Written by Justin Jordan
Coloured by Juan Useche
Lettered by Jim Campbell
Published by Boom! Studios
Story: 8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read
BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.