When former DEA agent Conrad Marlowe goes rogue and starts creating more violence in Mexico City than the cartels he was sent to destroy, his daughter, Danielle, has to stop him. Last issue, she met up with a reporter who had some interesting information to share. This issue, he betrayed her trust. Now, Danielle stands face-to-face with Conrad.
Writer Justin Jordan is best known for The Strange Talent of Luther Strode (and its sequels), as well as Green Lantern: New Guardians, Deathstroke, Spread, and much more. This guy knows what he’s doing, and it shows in this issue of Sombra.
The writing in this issue is very character-driven. The story moves along at a nice pace, but the characterization makes the dialogue as effective as it is. Danielle has her guard up, but is open when need be. Mostly, we see her wondering more and more about the people around her. She keeps an open mind and absorbs as much information as she can, but this is no sightseeing trip. With the horrors she has seen, it’s no wonder that she is so serious all the time. Conrad speaks sarcastically, almost jokingly, like he knows he has the upper hand. Once he is finally with Danielle, he literally is stepping on her only way out.
Jordan emphasizes the brutality that Danielle faces when dealing with these cartels. When the reporter takes Danielle to a village that has been taken over, the mere sight of the monument built out of body parts is enough to make you cringe. Once you look at the details, it is even more so. We’re talking entrails, rib cages, legs, arms, tongues, heads, etc. It is gruesome as Hell but, oddly enough, it looks absolutely beautiful. It is referred to as “art,” and it is a disturbingly appropriate sentiment.
This issue goes by pretty quickly, with dialogue that flows seamlessly from panel to panel. Artist Raul Trevino helps this fluidity with some seriously dramatic illustrations. Despite not having the cleanest lines, Trevino is able to construct Mexico City with quite an ample amount of intrigue and creativity. The architecture is impeccable. From beautifully decorated cathedrals to run down and broken buildings of abandoned neighborhoods, Trevino shows us multiple sides of Mexico City with conviction in both.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the characters’ facial expressions. They don’t show much emotion, and are not inherently readable. Sure, this provides some mystery and suspense, but it does dull down the story quite a bit. Regardless, the artwork tells the story just fine and creates quite a believable atmosphere for the characters to work within.
This is a great issue to move the story forward. Now that Danielle and Conrad have a chance to talk, it’ll be interesting to see how they react to one another. While both work for the same team, they have each chosen radically different paths. I’m looking forward to seeing how they work things out or battle each other head on!
Written by: Justin Jordan
Illustrated by: Raul Trevino