Michael Moreci brings us back to the abandoned colony of Dispater in the company of a ragtag group of explorers, adventurers, and guns for hire. What does Dispater have in store for these new adventurers? Is it good?
Roche Limit: Clandestiny #1 (Image Comics)
The hook is so important — especially for number ones, and, boy oh boy, does Moreci deliver an excellent hook. Much like the opening to Batman Eternal, Moreci begins the issue at a dramatic point for the protagonist. Unlike Batman Eternal, the protagonist is not in a compromising position; the protagonist, Sasha, is in an empowered position. She is ready to kick ass and take names. The power of Moreci’s dialogue instills in you a desire to fire up your spaceship and join her!
After this gripping hook, Moreci does some of the best character development I have seen in a first issue. Possibly being inspired by Matthew McConaughey’s character in Interstellar, Moreci, with some fantastic artwork by Kyle Charles, captures Sasha’s emotions as she rewatches a video of her husband and her daughter. You are able to sense her love for them from the second panel as she smiles and waves at the screen. This love transitions to an outpouring of emotion. Charles is able to expertly capture the emotion and longing she is feeling not only through close-ups of her face but also displaying her body language with the camera facing her back. Moreci and Charles are able to effectively connect you to their main character.
After spending the first bit of the issue focusing on character building, Moreci amps up the pace quickly. He takes you from the deep emotional feelings for Sasha to a high action sequence with plenty of tension. The result of the crisis leads the teams to split up. This is an excellent plot device that allows Moreci to transition between the two teams to maximize tension. It also allows for Moreci to build up a number of the other characters, emphasizing a disjointed and sometimes hostile team dynamic.
While the two teams are separated Moreci employs his detective narratives. One team searches for the cause of the crisis, while the second begins their mission of studying the mines. Not only does he incorporate detective work, but he mixes in horror as well. Charles is once again up to the task of effectively capturing the nervous and tense body language of the team. Highlighting the horror aspect is Matt Battaglia’s coloring. He contrasts a black phantom creature on a maroon background with the search team in a defensive position on a pure white background.
Battaglia’s colors are awe-inspiring for much of the issue, especially when coloring the anomaly that hovers in the background of every panel, transitioning between multiple shades of purple to varying degrees of fuchsia, but it really hits peak climax when it is on full display as a fiery mass of orange and red in the sky.
Allowing Battaglia’s colors to shine is Kyle Charles’ artwork. Charles captures the characters’ emotions, but he also provides a new look at Dispater. No longer are we privy to the structurally sound buildings, but instead are shown how the colony has decayed with buildings crumbling as smoke slowly billows into the sky. The most drastic change is the actual mines. They no longer exist, but are instead replaced by a seemingly plowed field leading up to a sprawling forest. One key point is when the background is insignificant it almost fades away, highlighting the characters and their discussions and actions. At the same time, when the background is important, he is able to have the characters blend into it focusing on the geography.
Is It Good?
Roche Limit: Clandestiny #1 is an excellent opening issue. Moreci and Charles expertly combine emotional character development with high flying action sequences accentuated with planet exploration. It is a gripping and compelling tale. Moreci saves the best for last touching on what will most likely be an overarching philosophical discussion revolving around entropy. I can’t wait for the next issue to see where Moreci will take the characters and how they adapt or change to their circumstances.