Picking up from the previous issue, Reptil #3 opens on Dinosaur World, where Humberto loses control of his superpowers just as Eva starts to get a handle on hers. They make it back to their world, where Julian gets to use his superpower of being really good at talking about emotions. Three-quarters of the way through this miniseries, the character work was less solid. The pacing, even less so.
Enid Balám (penciler), Terry Blas (writer), Carlos Lopez (colorist), Paco Medina and Federico Blee (cover), Victor Olazaba (inker), VC’s Joe Sabino (letterer)
July 21, 2021
If Reptil was stretched out to five or six issues, then the creative team might not have felt like they needed to pack in so much exposition. With only four total, Blas relies too much on dialogue (minutely rendered by Sabino) to provide metaphorical background when Balám and Lopez could have been developing literal background (not every panel needs background, but it is clear which settings were developed and which ones were not). Julian and Humberto’s frank discussion about masculinity could (and should) have taken up more than a page. The bad guy absolutely did not have to explain every single detail of his evil plan.
The bus ride to the villain’s mansion? Did not need a whole page to itself, and the teens did not need to talk about the security system when they could be (and are) shown disabling it. This comic has a lot of telling and not enough showing. The mansion as a setting is, further, underutilized. Humberto, Eva, and Julian almost immediately break into the exact room they seem to need when they could’ve explored, and much of the big fight (after the big, although not all that surprising, reveal) takes place outside. While ideal for Humberto’s powerset, a fight on a manicured lawn isn’t exactly exciting visually, especially not when there’s little evidence of a garden beyond a few antagonistic flower bushes.
I really, sincerely believe a reveal that a reader can see coming is good and can be great, and the big secret identity reveal here was well telegraphed, but, again, the pacing was an issue. I’m not sure why the reveal happened at the end of this issue and not at the top of the final, forthcoming one. I understand why part of the reveal happened, as both the reader and Humberto learning the truth about what happened to his parents raises the stakes, but all together it was, again, too much information.
While I’m looking forward to seeing how the creative and teen teams tie up all their loose ends at the Chicanx Pride Festival in the last issue, this was my least favorite part of the series so far.