Michael Moreci/ Kyle Charles/ Matt Battaglia/ Ryan Ferrier; Image Comics
As the second arc “Clandestiny” nears the end with its fourth issue next week, the fellas from Roche Limit bring us a well-grounded, fast-paced cliffhanger.
The issue begins with panels of billionaire philanthropist Langford Skaargred floating through space. Kyle Charles and Matt Battaglia draw and color these panels in a way that is reminiscent of Vol.1 “Anomalous” – his body, loose, nearly lifeless being swallowed by the great expanse of space. Michael Moreci, on the other hand, accompanies these images by narration of a new Langford. One that has changed, no longer hopeful for humanity. His idealism squashed by humanity’s true self, jaded by the events of the Roche Colony and his creation. The colors during this sequence intensify with the narration from awe-inspiring black and purple to bright orange and yellow.
These choices set the mood for the conversation between Sasha and Langford on the next page. We learn what has become of Langford and explanations of MoiraTech and the purpose of these expeditions become clearer, something I won’t spoil for you readers.
The story continues with the only remaining character from the other party, Colt, keeping a kill count as she makes her way through the city and back to Sasha, Elbus and the others. The script picks up the pace and moves quickly, allowing the artwork to push the story along. Charles’ panel designs are careful to show only what is necessary to the plot, not including as many detailed backgrounds as we’ve seen in previous issues. This allows readers to follow the character’s movements and not become distracted. We’re shown only what we need, like textures on walls that indicate distance or direction. Ryan Ferrier’s lettering is careful and the bubble placement follows the flow of the story well. The bold action words aren’t distracting, but rather put in just the right places to heighten the action sequences.
Battaglia’s colors maintain and eerie sense of urgency as our characters fight their way to their next destination. Most of the structures are colored with smoky gray hues that continue to show how disheveled and beaten down the Roche Colony has become. Intense panels are often colored with warm colors, while the sky remains a mysterious purple.
Moreci includes only what is necessary to move the plot forward, giving contextual clues and subtle bits of foreshadowing throughout the issue. After the introductory scene, most of the dialogue is fast-paced to keep up with the artwork. Moreci includes bits of humor and interjections from characters like Colt, which develop his characters into actual people with personalities.
One of the things I like most about this issue is the representation of Danny and the embodiment of Langford. Moreci plays with ideas that are long rooted in sci-fi – artificial intelligence and their ability to have feelings. The relationship between Danny and Langford is a key point in the story. At one point, Langford mentions that their relationship was never real, because they aren’t real. Danny replies with, “But you’re real to me.”
The most interesting part to consider is that Langford was real. He was a real person and while he might be less so now, does that actually change anything? Danny is the actual robot, created by people, yet he’s the one containing emotion and empathy.
Perhaps this could be further drawn out by Charles and Battaglia’s representation of Danny and the embodiment of Langford. They’re drawn to correlate with their “birth planets” if you will. Danny looks like a human, is dressed like a human, walks, talks, acts like a human. Loves like a human. Langford’s new body is rigid, drawn with dark heavy lines and is an embodiment of the Roche Colony.
These are the sorts of decisions is what makes Roche Limit quality comics. The creative team cultivates thought and has created a story for readers to dig into and ask questions. It requires an active involvement in the story. If you’ve been enjoying Roche Limit so far, you won’t be disappointed with issue #4. It promises an exciting conclusion to next month’s finale.