Publisher: Vault Comics
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artwork: Hayden Sherman
Colours: Jason Wordie
Letters: Jim Campbell
Release Date: 22nd January 2020
While the snappy, cynical banter is clearly what makes this particular engine go, I always find myself preferring the issues of Wasted Space where Michael Moreci and co. dig a little deeper into the characters themselves, stripping back their facades and getting real about their various (and extensive) hang-ups and insecurities.
As such, this latest arc – which sees the group divided and Billy and Fury dumped on a planet where the local flora induce reluctant of emotional openness – is pure gold to me. Obviously, both characters are carrying some fairly heavy-duty baggage, and neither are particularly thrilled about their new situation. Particularly when they discover that this forced enlightenment ultimately ends with them being killed by their new hosts.
Elsewhere, Molly and Dust (oh, and Rex too, apparently?) have found themselves inserted into an almost comically epic battle alongside the do-gooder strangers. The noble, altruistic motives of their newfound allies is clearly commendable, but I’m sure I’m not alone in spending the majority of these sequences side-eying the creative team and waiting for the (perhaps inevitable) punchline. That’s not to say these scenes aren’t thoroughly entertaining, but it’s perhaps a testament to the series so far that any seemingly pure or heroic motivations find themselves viewed with cynical suspicion by the reader.
While Hayden Sherman’s artwork has been of its typically stellar quality since issue one, it feels like colourist Jason Wordie is really getting to cut loose in the last few issues. Taking us out of those grimy spaceships into a rich, vibrant world – particularly in the case of Billy and Fury – has been a great idea, and while it’s still pretty far removed from “paradise”, it’s nice to see that there’s more to this fucked-up universe than cobbled-together dystopian squalor.
It’s also great to see the gradual character development coming along nicely here, and Moreci’s choice dialogue continues to give this rag-tag group of misfits some much-needed charm and relatability without any of them coming across as one-dimensional archetypes – a significant accomplishment in the world of ensemble science fiction, I’m sure you’ll agree.
The final pages see both plot threads nearing their somewhat inevitable conclusion, with Sherman giving us a cracking final-page splash which shows and tells us pretty much everything we need to know about Billy Bane’s feelings on “enlightenment.”
Slotting itself into my “Best of 2019” list with ease, Wasted Space is showing absolutely no signs of letting up as it surges forwards into 2020. And while we’ve taken a rather spectacular detour from the main storyline, I could quite happily read this comic every single month for as long as Moreci, Sherman, Wordie and Campbell keep making it.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]