"Roche Limit #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Michael Moreci
Illustrated by Vic Malhotra
2014, 32 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on October 29th, 2014
Space! The final frontier is not filled with human-like aliens but instead filled with the same assholes that we have on Earth. Roche Limit paints a pretty dismal picture of the future in which a colony has been established on the distant planet of Demeter outside of a mysterious energy anomaly that resembles a black hole. Alex Ford, the mastermind behind the drug Recall, is trying to find Sonya's sister Bekkah in classic noir fashion. The local mob bosses don't really like him. Now that I think about it, no one really likes him. He's got his job cut out for him but he's got a few secrets of his own.
You could take big chunks of this story and set it in Detroit with minor changes. Taking a step backward, you see the bigger picture and how humanity has squandered the once great hopes for our future. There's a great scene where Sonya asks Alex what he thinks of the colony. He responds "When people first started coming here, they thought the anomaly was a black hole. A big swirling ball of nothing. Now what does that say about the winners who are drawn here?" This is Roche Limit's "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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Surrounding this down-and-dirty mystery is an intellectual sci-fi story that I will admit to not fully understanding yet. I don't mean that this is a comic for smart people only. It's just that there are pieces that are not totally explained at this time and it adds to the excitement and anticipation for the next issue. The end of this issue turns things completely upside down to the point where it drastically alters the status quo. Just when you thought you understood the rules of this world, writer Michael Moreci suddenly changes the game. There are more questions than answers but they're the kind of questions that will have you begging for more story.
Vic Malhotra's art is filthy. I don't mean that in an "adults only" way. I mean that in a way of there being actual filth in some of these panels. The loss of hope that permeates throughout Roche Limit is evident in Malhotra's pencils. You just want to give some of these people a wet nap or power wash that wall.
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What really stands out with this issue are the scenes in Gracie's club. Malhotra using silohouettes here very well. Instead of shading the background in black, colorist Jordan Boyd uses bright vibrant colors, as if the lights are changing in the club as Gracie and Alex are talking. This segues into a quick fight scene in the same location that consists of a number of smaller panels that flow across the page with the background color changing in each one. It reminds me of the theme song to Cowboy Bebop.
The beauty of Roche Limit is that it's merging all of the best elements of science fiction with some great noir tropes. It's a heady, futuristic tale that is humanized by a mystery that pulls you in with each page.