The cover for Sombra #4 by artist Jilipollo (Javier Medellin) sets the tone for this final chapter. A group of kids wearing bulletproof vests, each one brandishing a handgun or machine gun, appear in mid stride amidst a field of flowers and flying butterflies. The rectangular rays of a muted white and green alternate above them, as if the distant, non-visible setting sun represents the innocence of these children being lost to time. It’s a great set up for the pages inside.
Writer Justin Jordan finishes Sombra with somber and effective words, interlaced with a slew of brutally violent images that are brought to life by Raul Trevino, making sure to focus on the harsh reality of this world without looking away. Trevino confronts the reader with images that must be seen, to witness the truth. As the reporter Esteban says as he records the battle between Rojas’s cartels and Conrad’s army of child soldiers: “They need to see, everyone must see.” Danielle bears witness to it all as well, unsure of her own actions at first but quickly realizes that she – and her being a representative of America – is in the wrong; this is not her nor her country’s fight.
Juan Useche focuses on the colours that stand out during this hectic, brutal scene with the squirts of red from connecting bullets and knife attacks and from the faces of the various children whom wear the colour as a painted skull. The children first emerge from the shadows as black shapes, their white skulls the only parts of them visible, heightening their tragic existences and how their own selves have been stripped through a continuing use of lack of colour, especially during a few of their own deaths. Jim Campbell effectively balances his lettering by placing balloons away from certain actions, allowing for the weight to lie heavier on the visuals instead of what is being said. Campbell also spreads out Jordan’s script to slow down at the right moments, intermittent of a flood of fast-paced actions.
Sombra overall does an effective job at showing the reality being faced by those experiencing the cartels first-hand and to show those, like Danielle, certain situations are best left to be figured out, to be solved, repaired, as Esteban says in his recorded video, by the people of Mexico. In turn, the attempted involvements made by outsiders like the U.S. in witnessing this distressing scenario can make for an inwardly attempt at reform. As Rojas enters the town lead by Conrad, before the bullets fly and knives are thrust, he stops in front of a display of pure depravity: skulls, body parts, smiles smeared with blood and candles are spread out, like a reverse shrine meant to divert the visitor instead of inviting for a moment of reflection. All Rojas can say is, “This is theatre.”
Story: Justin Jordan Art: Raul Trevino Color: Juan Useche Letters: Jim Campbell
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Boom! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review