"Roche Limit: Clandestiny #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Michael Moreci
Illustrated by Kyle Charles
2015, 32 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on May 6th, 2015
Seventy five years have passed since the tragic events of Roche Limit, leaving many dead and the space colony orbiting a strange anomaly left in ruins. With the dust pretty firmly settled, an expedition crew is sent out to see if they can find out just what happened out there. What started as a pretty standard mission quickly escalates into an emergency situation. Are they really alone on the colony? Or is something lurking in the shadows?
At first, this premise sounds a little familiar. It's got a bit of the Alien / Prometheus vibe, which is certainly not a bad thing. This is especially interesting, as the first chapter in the Roche Limit trilogy is a sci-fi noir. Writer Michael Moreci aptly steers this second phase of the story into survival sci-fi territory. Knowing the background of the colony and what happened in its final days adds to the tension, as my mind was racing thinking of what could be waiting for this crew.
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The crew itself is pretty basic. It's a mix of military personnel and scientists, so the two sides are butting heads a bit. You've got the soldiers ready to shoot whatever moves and get the hell out of there. On the other side, the lab guys are fascinated by the changes the colony has gone through over the past few decades.
The pacing of the issue is intriguing. Moreci pulls you in with the first few pages, showing a burning city with soldiers Sasha and Elbus standing before it. The book then jumps back a bit and shows the entire crew getting to the colony. I have to assume that the opening was the future and we're seeing how things got that crazy. It instantly fills me with questions. What happened to the rest of the team? What is the monster they're talking about? What happened to the city?
Sasha is the one crew member that gets a bit of a spotlight. Aside from appearing in the first few pages looking like a total badass, she has an incredibly emotional scene directly after that. At first it looks like she's having a video call with her husband and daughter from back home. It looks innocent enough. Then reality sets in and it just breaks your heart. You don't know the exact situation, but you get a good idea.
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Kyle Charles is a great choice for the artwork on Roche Limit: Clandestiny. Original artist and co-creator Vic Malhotra's style fit with the noir tone of the first mini-series. Charles' work seems at home in this big sci-fi epic portion. There's a breathtaking full-page spread where we get our first good look at the space ship the crew is traveling in. It's a unique design and just looks awesome. The comic goes from the cramped quarters of the ship to the wide open landscape of the colony planet side. This helps cement that feeling of total isolation. These people are truly on their own out here. While it looks beautiful, it can also be deadly. Of course, that anomaly burning like an exploding sun in the sky doesn't help matters.
There is some great back matter included in this issue in the form of newspaper clippings. This helps round out the story a bit and frame the setting. It also brings in some Asimov level robotics, which I can't wait to see play out.
Roche Limit: Clandestiny is a really interesting turn for the story, the kind that makes you want to know more right away. It's a departure from the cold, cool tone of the first series, but not in a bad way at all. Instead, it's a slight jump to a different sub-genre of science fiction, one filled with just as much dread and hopelessness. This is not the bright, shiny future we were promised. Humanity has failed. The future sucks and we have to deal with it.