Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini have set a high bar for themselves following the absolutely brilliant Low #3. Do they keep up the extraordinary level of quality in the fourth installment? Is it good?
Low #4 (Image Comics)
Rick Remender continues with his vision of hope for Stel although it faces some mental stumbling blocks just as she and Marik face their own obstacles in the Third City of Poluma. He also supplements her vision of hope with a determination to shape the world around her with the strength of her will. Remender delves into her inner strength and desire for a better future, however, there is one sequence where he uses an internal monologue to describe years of suffering after the loss of Johl. Despite her inner thoughts telling us she has been suffering, her previous actions indicated she had moved on, though still being optimistic about her daughters’ lives.
Not only does Remender dive deeper into Stel’s character, he also explores the villainous pirate Roln’s motivations, desires, and ruthlessness. One of the sequences that stands out is an interaction with Tajo in the vast library of Poluma, where the two are discussing an ancient civilization and its use of knowledge to rule over its subjects. When he is faced with an indictment on the citizens of Poluma (which is really an indictment on him) he becomes enraged, demanding his will be followed. Tocchini does an excellent job of portraying Roln’s rage as the man becomes unhinged. He even includes spittle from his shouting running across the face of Tajo. It is frightening to witness his anger.
Tocchini also does an excellent job of introducing the reader to Poluma. The Third City is vastly different from Salus and Tocchini uses lots of reds, oranges, and yellows evoking a sense of danger especially when Stel and Marik enter the city. The city is lively though, filled with a wide array of mutant-like creatures. Imagine sharks with feet, mermaids and various up-right reptilians partying in Tortuga with Captain Jack Sparrow or the various denizens aboard Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge enjoying themselves. This is the imagery Tocchini creates for Poluma. There is one common thread between Salus and Poluma: the vast amount of debauchery. On almost every page Tocchini has various females mounted and enjoying themselves. However, there are a few panels towards the beginning of the book detailing the entrance into Poluma which are rather hard to figure out what you are looking at.
Getting back to the story, the most interesting concept Remender has been delving into is the idea of the family and he goes straight for the heart in this issue. Tajo is the centerpiece as her relationship with Roln is tested by his anger, and her relationships with Stel and Marik are pushed to their limits. Remender leaves a lingering question at the end of the issue: who is Tajo?
Is It Good?
Low #4 is another wonderful entry by Remender and Tocchini. Remender deepens the reader’s understanding of Stel and begins introducing and delving into Roln’s character. Tocchini’s artwork is once again fabulous with some minor hiccups with the entrance to Poluma. The book explores more of Low and hints at even more, making you to wish it was November already!