by Michael Moreci, Kyle Charles and Matt Battaglia
The entire arc of this second volume has been quite different in tone and approach than its predecessor. Pitched by Moreci as akin to Aliens, the story set 75 years after the first arc has explored some very dark places. Focusing a bit more on plot momentum and less on philosophy, Moreci has managed to find a great balance over the issues of the second act. In this penultimate issue for the arc, a lot of pieces are put into place and a few more questions are answered.
The story has not quite yet reached the point where it first opened. Despite the strength of the tone and craft of the storytelling, the number of mysteries and unknowns that surround each issue certainly keep readers in the dark. Upon revisiting the first few issues, some of the story’s hints and brief moments are enriched further. Moreci has carefully crafted this script to the point that it is seamless when read as one work. On its own, this fourth issue answers a few questions regarding the purpose of the mission and the fate they must face if they wish to save those left on Earth. From the very beginning, between the script from Moreci and the art from Charles and Battaglia, Clandestiny has been quite bleak. The horror-like tendencies of the plot seemed to only further this very infectious sensation that no one was safe. The blunt delivery from the consciousness of Skaargred here only furthers that message, and harkens back to the opening panels of the volume. When looked at on the whole, Moreci and his art team have managed to do just what they claimed they intended by capturing the spirit of Aliens within the universe established in the first volume of Roche Limit.
The fourth issue certainly is filled with excitement. From the opening fatalistic conversation with Skaaregred to the journey into the city, readers can only watch and hope that the characters are smart enough to find some loop-hole through which they can succeed and survive. Charles and Battaglia have been credited since the start of the volume with capturing a very different but very fitting tone for the new arc. Here, as the metaphorical walls seem to be closing in on the characters, that tone is even more important and effective. While many setup issues tend to feel a bit flat or lacking, as their goal is mostly to connect the pieces from before so that the final issue can deliver effectively, Moreci delivers a few sequences that raise the issue above that. Couple that with a final sequence that ends in one of the best moments of the series, thanks to a combined effort of writing and art, and readers will certainly close the issue on a high note. It’s so great, even the characters agreed.
There is no question that the second volume of Roche Limit is quite different from the first. That being said, the continued universe and spirit of the series definitely is present across the two arcs. With incredible back matter that is hardly back matter at all and in fact quite relevant to the stories, each issue has been filled with content and quality and this fourth issue is no different.