When I picked up Roche Limit at my local shop this week, I asked the Manager what it was, and he responded that it was “Science fiction, but they give it kind of its own unique thing. And the have to – science fiction is the new zombie.”
He’s actually onto something there, at least in terms of the comic world. The past couple of years have seen quite a number of science fiction comics published – of course there’s Saga, but more recently we have things like Black Science, Low, Copperhead…new science fiction titles seem to be debuting every month. And, of course, each of them is different – saying all science fiction is the same is like saying that all superheroes are the same. There’s a core of an idea and certain genre tropes that a reader will be expecting, but it’s what the creative team does differently that’s oftentimes the most engaging and enjoyable.
For Roche Limit, writer Michael Moreci has essentially delivered a 1970s style New York crime story, complete with drug dealers, prostitutes, hard-nosed cops, and criminal empires that truly run things. The story, so far, revolves around a missing girl and her dedicated sister who will stop at nothing to find her. Yes, it takes place on a space station, and yes there’s some different technology around, but ultimately it’s the things that are the most similar to Earth that help this story to stand out. In just this one issue, Moreci has delivered some truly engrossing characters, and a look at the daily life for those stuck living in a crime-ridden world that’s instantly identifiable and relatable.
The world is brought to life even more through the artwork of artist Vic Malhotra. He delivers a very detailed and realistic look at life on the Roche Limit Colony, including small little details such as neon signs above pubs, and smoky, darkly lit interiors that help the reader instantly grasp the type of world in which the story takes place. I particularly liked his character details, especially his choice in wardrobes for the characters. It seems like an odd detail to point out, but Malhotra takes care to give each character a distinctive fashion sense that is readily apparent, even though many of the men in the story are simply wearing suits and ties. Roche Limit really showcases Malhotra’s composition skills and character work, and helps elevate the overall experience of the book.
As good as Malhotra’s artwork is, it’s made that much better by Jordan Boyd’s coloring job. This is a tough story to color properly, since there would be temptation, given the subject matter, to just make everything a big shadowy mess. Boyd does manage to use coloring that gives a sense of darkness and depression, yet occasionally uses some bright splashes of color for specific scenes, including one incredibly haunting flashback of a boy and his mother.
Roche Limit is, yes, yet another Image-published science fiction comic. But don’t let that keep you away from what is really a mystery story that takes place in a far away, but very familiar, world with no laws. That type of setting is ripe for some great storytelling, and based on this first issue, the creative team seems up to the task of doing just that. We should all be on the lookout for more great things to come from this team, both for Roche Limit as well as any future projects they tackle.