Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Vic Malhotra
Release Date: January 7th, 2015
If I’m being honest, I’ve never really been a huge fan of sci-fi comics, which I guess would be the main reason – or excuse, if you’d prefer – for me not getting on board with Roche Limit until its fourth issue. Don’t get me wrong, though, on paper there’s a lot to like about this series. I’ve long been an admirer (and loud supporter) of Michael Moreci’s writing, from Hoax Hunters to Curse to Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain, and what little I’ve seen of artist Vic Malhotra’s work has definitely piqued my interest, but – like so many other fantastic series’ out there – it simply seems to have slipped through the cracks when it came to selecting my weekly reading material.
Finally deciding to give the series a look this week, I tentatively picked up the first issue, and – well – let’s just say I’m pretty much kicking myself for not getting on board this particular bandwagon sooner. Throughout the first three issues, Moreci has drenched the somewhat familiar sci-fi narrative with a deeply noir vibe, and that trend continues in this latest issue as things continue to spiral downwards and the various plot threads slowly converge. Once again, the issue opens with a monologue from the creator of the titular doomed space station which, while running the risk of being over-written, manages to stay just the right side of self-indulgent courtesy of Moreci’s deft hand, giving us a chilling insight into the head of the station’s mastermind as the true scale of his failure gradually sinks in.
Thankfully, this issue also contains perhaps the most real information about series so far, clarifying a few of previously ambiguous plot points – most notably the origin and purpose of the strange glowing stone. The main characters and their interactions with one another continue to provide the undeniable highlight of the series, with it being practically impossible not to become fully invested in the events which are unfolding, particularly as this issue reaches its dramatically shocking conclusion. Malhotra’s artwork keeps things flowing smoothly forwards, transitioning from tense showdowns to dramatic cosmic set-pieces with apparent ease.
To go into detail about the events of this issue would be to completely undermine the stellar work Moreci has done to build things up to this point, so I’ll gloss over any potential spoilers in favour of – well – you picking this issue up yourself. What I will say however is that while the series may have started off as something of a slow burner, Roche Limit is rapidly picking up a pace that seems unlikely to slow down any time soon. Moreci’s skilful world-building and Malhotra’s uniquely expressive artwork combine here to create something truly memorable; a noir-soaked sci-fi masterclass complete with twists, turns and dramatic, character-driven moments. Plus, as I’ve just proved myself, it’s still not too late to get up to speed with this impressive series, and I strongly advise anyone reading this who’s still on the fence to do just that. Trust me, you won’t regret it.