Publisher: Vault Comics
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artwork: Hayden Sherman
Colours: Jason Wordie
Letters: Jim Campbell (letters)
Release Date: 27th February 2019
I’ve made no secret of just how much I’ve been enjoying Wasted Space, with its down-and-dirty sci-fi, sharp banter and big ideas. Well believe me when I say that while this Vault Comics series has definitely been one hell of a read to this point, issue 8 takes things to a whole new level. And what’s more, it does it without a hint of action, combat, death or destruction… and only one very minor piece of property damage.
This is a dialogue and character-based offering from start to finish as our rag-tag team take a brief diversion from their mission to touch down on the black market planet of Gorgeron, with Billy and Dust heading off to get the latter a new arm, and Molly Sue and Rex staying behind on the ship for a long-overdue brother sister heart-to-heart.
Billy killed Devolous Yam. Rex killed his father. It’s clear that both men have some pretty serious stuff going on that they really need to unpack, but neither one wants to let their guard down or show any sign of weakness. It’s fascinating to watch Dust and Molly trying to get them to face up to what they’ve done, particularly given the different way each man reacts to being forced to own their actions, and while they both undergo some serious character development over the course of this issue, only time will tell whether their changes are positive or negative.
Moreci has always been something of a wordsmith, with his succinct dialogue and thought-provoking themes, so his unbridled success with an issue like this should probably be expected. What’s perhaps more of a surprise – to me, at least – is just how well the scratchy, kinetic style of Hayden Sherman fits alongside this poignant and powerful ‘talky issue’. Once again the eccentric character design and visual world-building are on display from start to finish, but it’s safe to say that Sherman absolutely nails the more emotive beats of the story, with Rex’s gradual realisation serving as perhaps my personal highlight.
What’s also becoming abundantly clear as this series unfolds (assuming it wasn’t blindingly obvious already), is just how beautifully synchronized Moreci and Sherman are. Every hefty line of dialogue is given the appropriate visual reaction and expression, every humorous beat is underscored by a note-perfect piece of physical comedy. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s extremely rare to see a creative team – and I’m including the equally important work of colourist Jason Wordie and letterer Jim Campbell in this – working together as seamlessly as these guys are.
This is definitely a turning point in the series. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the cast have all being fascinating to this point, with each character made of up an engaging collection of quirks, foibles and frequently misguided motivations. But this issue makes them real. Each member of the crew leaves this issue stronger than they entered it, and while it’s Billy and Rex who are finally forced to face up to their actions, both Dust and Molly Sue get some major growth here as well.
If you’ve ever even remotely considered taking the advice of a random online comic reviewer, this would be the time. Wasted Space is the real deal, folks. And with each issue improving on the last and expanding this raw and cynical space opera in new and exciting ways, you really owe it to yourself to start picking this one up. Trust me, you won’t regret it.