Publisher: Vault Comics
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artwork: Hayden Sherman, Jason Wordie (colours), Jim Campbell (letters)
Release Date: 18th April 2018
“All will be well.”
Billy Bane has a lot to answer for. The Universe is in a bad way, and – for reasons that aren’t initially clear – Billy is at least partially responsible.
Y’see, The Creator speaks through Billy, telling him to have faith and prompting him to spread his word far and wide. We don’t have all the details yet, but it’s clear that things didn’t end up so well in that regard, to the point where Billy has been forced to change his appearance and fake his own death. However, following the violent insertion of another of the Creator’s “vessels” into his life, it seems that his past has well and truly caught up with him.
Like a lot of Michael Moreci’s work, Wasted Space is a dense, dialogue-heavy affair. However, unlike some of his previous offerings – such as his critically acclaimed Roche Limit trilogy, which I’ve raved about incessantly here on my BCP soapbox over the years – it does take a little while to get into meat of the story here. Don’t get me wrong, by the end of this first issue I’d be surprised if you weren’t well and truly hooked, but don’t expect to be gripped right from the opening page, as this is very much a slow burning affair.
It’s definitely worth the investment through, as Moreci’s world-building is typically excellent as he gradually drip-feeds us information about Billy and his life. As I mentioned above, there’s definitely some ambiguity about exactly what happened in the past to bring things to this point (including some speculation that he may just be a crazy guy who’s seeing things), but that’s all part of the appeal and serves to keep the pages turning throughout.
There’s clearly a diverse melting pot of influences at play here, with notes of Blade Runner and classic Star Wars along the way as Moreci pads out his cast of characters with Dust, Billy’s Fuq Bot companion, Molly Sue, the aforementioned second “vessel”, and the ominous Galactic Leader looming over everything – the fantastically-named Devolous Yam.
The tone is surprisingly upbeat for what is essentially dystopian science fiction, with some lively banter between Billy, Dust and Molly, and an amusing and dryly comedic inner monologue which serves as the story’s narration. It works well though, preventing things from becoming too dour or overly earnest, and while it’s still far removed from anything approaching a “comedy”, there are still definitely some fun moments along the way.
The more I see of Hayden Sherman’s artwork, the more I find myself falling in love with its unconventional beauty. Detail is sacrificed in favour of raw expression, and the way he brings the more kinetic sequences of this first issue to life is truly masterful. There’s a wild, frantic feeling to the action, and the whole thing is given a grainy, untidy look that helps to underscore the fact that yes, the Universe is very much going to shit.
The colours also go a long way towards giving the book its unique aesthetic, with Jason Wordie using a fairly muted palette to help give things a hazy, almost dream-like quality at times.
It’s a slow start for sure, but the characterisation is strong and the basic premise is sound. It also looks fantastic, so there’s absolutely no reason not to pick this first issue up and gradually immerse yourself in what promises to be a fascinating look at the fragile nature of faith through the lens of dystopian sci-fi.