by Michael Moreci, Vic Malhotra, Ryan Ferrier, Jordan Boyd
The first issue of Michael Moreci’s Roche Limit had a number of excellent aspects including some fantastic world building, several plot threads and a strong sense of unease related to the bookended scenes involving Sonya’s sister, Bekkah. The second issue feels a bit slower, and spreads itself out a bit more. As a result, the issue doesn’t move forward as much and only briefly introduces new elements.
Moreci with art by Vic Malhotra have opened strong, and the second issue mirrors the first in its use of content from Langford Skaargred before launching back into the story. Here, as the imagery depicts parts of the cosmos, then closing in on the space colony, Skaargred discusses the universe, humanity, faith and purpose. In the following sequence, a character only mentioned in the first issue carries out a similar reflective dialogue that falls closer to myth in its construction. Both are long, cover multiple pages and seem to speak to bigger concepts than simply contributing to the present story. Throughout the sequences, the art tells its own narratives. Readers bear witness to the appearance of the anomaly above the city, check in with each of the other plot threads, and see just how serious and threatening Moscow can be. Moreci’s writing reflects that of Jonathan Hickman and sometimes Rick Remender, using characters and story elements to reflect on the human condition. These moments, which often times feel like the author bleeding through, work well here and consider some very interesting philosophical concepts. However, because of their length, they contribute to the sense that less ground is covered in the issue.
As the story moves forward, Moreci shows, rather than tells, about the different individuals in power on this dwarf planet. Gracie seems to be invested in the story of Bekkah and Sonya because she runs an establishment that has been losing its girls. Readers meet Moscow and Dode and learn a bit more about the madness and danger that exists on this planet. Thus far, the story has show readers plot threads involving Alex and Sonya, Gracie as well as those working for her, in addition to Moscow and the mad scientist. There was also the brief glimpse at people in the desert who had discovered an orb. Unfortunately, outside of checking in with these individuals, the forward momentum of the issue is nearly nonexistent at each encounter.
Instead, issue two focuses more on establishing tone and its characters. Through the interactions with Moscow and Dode, readers learn more about the threats in the book. There is also a bit of history and distrust that comes about as the story divulges more about Alex and Gracie and their connection to the missing girls. The consent is rather thin, but it does at least establish more motivation behind their involvement. Moscow seems to simply be rambling on about things that feel very mythic, and yet as the issue progresses it appears that there is an entirely new dimension being added underneath everything that has been witnessed.
Vic Malhotra’s art continues to fluctuate between very effective and too simplistic. At times, the physicality of the characters, facial features and some design elements fall a little underdeveloped. However, some choices that Malhotra makes in terms of the composition of a panel and sequencing fit Moreci’s tone and pacing very well. Though much of the first half of the issue is text-heavy, Malhotra presents compelling environments and images that manage to balance it well. Like in the first issue, the book’s coloring also ranges from complementary to distracting as some panels and scenes are backed with a block of flat color that seems to mostly fill a space.
The most intriguing elements of Roche Limit thus far are the actions and intentions of the scientist that has been shown and referenced. The man with the limp seems to be plotting something, but Moreci has given little acknowledgment as to what that might be. Though it is still early on in the series, this issue takes too long on its other sequences, leaving little time for its most engaging plot.