by Michael Moreci, Vic Malhotra, and Lauren Affe
Roche Limit is an incredibly interesting series from Hoax Hunters writer, Michael Moreci. The story has teased twists and new angles in each of its issues thus far and features some really impressive prose. Vic Malhotra and Lauren Affe continue to utilize an art style that presents in a raw and aggressive manner to give a sense of unease in much of the story. In the fourth issue of the series, the many threads come together a bit more.
One of the most enjoyable elements to the series thus far has been Moreci’s writings of the founder of this colony. Seeing snippets of the man along with his reflections has been a fantastic bit of reflection within the story. In issue four, there seems to be some indication that this portion of the story may be finding an end point. As the issue progresses, the few branches of the story begin to connect. Sonya and Alex have been hunting for Bekkah, but they are not the only individuals seeking out another party. Everyone seems to have some mission in this tale and as the fourth issue of Roche Limit unfolds, the collisions begin to occur. Warren has a bone to pick with Alex and has a chance to negotiate when he gets a hold of Bekkah. Meanwhile. Moscow is carrying out the will of the Black Sun and begins to purge the colony. As the tension rises in these scenes, the story’s mysteries begin to fill in.
Moreci has done an excellent job in creating a lot of intrigue in the story thus far. The book continues to propose and drop questions or strange bits that don’t give the reader all that much information. It is noted that there is some feud between Gracie and Moscow, and there are allegiances that have also been indicated. Beyond that, this element of the plot seems mostly to be world-building. Then, there is the man named Guthrie who is helping Dr. Watkins for unknown reasons, conducting experiments. Among a few other elements, the number of pathways have increased significantly in the first few issues. Though the fourth begins to tie some of those together, it does feel a bit overwhelming. The series is still young and fortunately so, as the number of sub-plots have not run parallel for much time. However, there are moments when Moreci’s bold progression with the story strains the reader’s ability to visualize the elements in play. Moreci definitely deserves credit for this story and its complexity. For some, reading in single issues may pose a challenge.
The art from Malhotra and Affe’s colors still continue to be a great fit for the series. While much of the issue sticks with a grid-like panel layout, one moment that breaks from it shows the consideration that Malhotra gives to his page designs. As the suspense builds in a moment where Alex Ford is forced to surrender to keep Bekkah safe, Malhotra fills the page with a panel of Ford surrendering. From this perspective, no one else is visible. Then surrounding him are smaller panels of the other characters faces as they shout commands. Being unable to see the entire scene as tempers flare is an impressively effective move. It is unclear if anyone is advancing on another or if guns are pointed at anyone. Keeping the smaller panels tight, the sequence progresses forward without giving the reader a full view of the scenario. This makes for a very impactful standoff.
Just as it occurs many times within each issue, Moreci ends the fourth chapter of Roche Limit on a cliffhanger. Even though it looks like things are coming together, the lead characters find themselves facing jeopardy while, elsewhere, Moscow looks to take apart the entire population. The stakes continue to climb as the series pushes forward.