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Sombra #1 Review

Ever since the film Sicario I’ve wondered how true the film really was to history. It was recently revealed a sequel is in the works and I couldn’t be happier as it means we’ll go a little deeper into the world of the Mexican drug cartel. This new series from BOOM!, Sombra, does just that too, but is it good?

Sombra #1 (BOOM! Studios)

So what’s it about? After checking out our preview here, the official BOOM! synopsis reads:

A DEA agent who disappeared in Mexico years ago has resurfaced and is now out-brutalizing some of the cartels he was sent to investigate. His daughter has been tasked with stopping him…by any means necessary.

Why does this book matter?

Justin Jordan is always good for some solid dialogue, which this type of story needs in order to succeed. Plus, artist Raúl Treviño actually lives in Mexico and is drawing his experiences to inform the story. Combined we’re in for a tale that may be more truth than fiction.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?


Jordan and Treviño open this issue with video footage of a now deceased DEA agent. It’s gruesome and involves torture, then quickly cuts to protagonist agent Marlow who isn’t phased one bit. She’s out to uncover the truth behind the crimes and her boss is wary of her getting into this case. Over the course of the next few pages we get a good sense of what sort of enemy Marlow faces and then we get punched right in the face by a man who’s taken the war to the cartels. It’s a wickedly good moment that builds up and surprises you and then cuts to Marlow travelling to Mexico. Like a strong opening five minute scene in a movie, Jordan draws you in and makes you want more.

The remaining pages introduce the main supporting characters and get Marlow just deep enough into her detective work to wrap a solid first issue up. Treviño draws a strong issue with very detailed environments that are photorealistic at times. The characters aren’t quite as detailed and have a cartoony nature to them, but they suit the story and almost make the gore a bit more unnerving because of it.

It can’t be perfect can it?

There’s a moment where Marlow meets with a mysterious journalist that doesn’t quite work since the character she’s meeting was only just moments before introduced. We hardly know him aside from helping her get a lead on the case, yet he seems to have a cocksure attitude that is hard to pin down. If he’s supposed to be some kind of master at knowing things it’s too early to tell and it’s hard to believe this character matters much at all. Treviño also draws him with a slightly comical expression or two in a few panels which makes it hard to take him seriously.

A surprising reaction.

Is It Good?

A fine introduction that harbors an intriguing mystery and a compelling idea of the cartels fighting a war by a man who uses their tactics. Marlow is a strong character, and it’ll be interesting to see where the creative team takes this next.


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