Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Kyle Charles
Release Date: 26th August, 2015
As the second arc of Michael Moreci’s critically-acclaimed Roche Limit reaches its penultimate issue, the slow-burning existential sci-fi gives way to a surge of adrenaline-fuelled action – a distinct departure from the tone of the series so far, but definitely not an unwelcome one. With our scattered crew battling for survival against a seemingly endless swarm of unthinkable monstrosities, Sasha and Elbus are given a bold ultimatum by Langford; one that may decide not only their own fates, but the fate of the earth as a whole.
It should go without saying by now that Moreci’s philosophical, contemplative monologues are perhaps his strongest suit, and he shows off those skills to tremendous effect here as Langford lays out the true horror of the situation. The work done over the first three issues in establishing the key characters – Sasha, Elbus et al – pays major dividends here as we can’t help but become deeply invested in these people, almost sensing their reactions to this horrific news before they even need to speak.
While characterisation and creeping tension are unquestionably two of Moreci’s greatest strengths, the man can more than hold his own in frantic action sequences, too. Artist Kyle Charles helps immeasurably in this particular area, keeping things crisp and clear when they have to be and murky and claustrophobic when they don’t. He also produces one truly glorious action set-piece with Sasha and Hello Danny that may very well be the visual highlight of the series (and of the previous series too, for that matter).
While penultimate issues have a tendency to be used as a brief pause to take stock before an all-out finale, Moreci seems to have gone in the complete opposite direction here, putting together as action-packed and frantic an issue as I can remember from him. It all works beautifully however, and as he finally pulls back the curtain on his ‘bigger picture’ with a shocking flourish, this issue cements Roche Limit as one of the most inventive, engrossing and unpredictable scf-fi comics in recent years… assuming that wasn’t obvious already.