Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini leave Stel and return the focus on Della and the thought-controlling Second City in Low #9. Will Della be able to avoid detection or will she be found out as a traitor? Is it good?
Low #9 (Image Comics)
Remender begins the story with a glimpse into the past and answers the question, “How did Della end up in Second City?” The answer is a deeply moving tale of the sisters being forcibly torn apart and their love for each other. However, it also conveys the drastic differences in the sisters’ personalities. Tajo, as we saw in the first arc, is much more open to despair while Della is steadfast and defiant in her optimism, much like her mother. It is an interesting contrast that highlights the deep bond between them. However, even Della can fall victim to intense conditioning much like Tajo did.
There are a pair of characters introduced in this issue worth noting. The first is Czar Dvonyen, the leader of Second City, and the second is an unnamed rebel who plans to overthrow the Czar’s totalitarian regime. The unnamed rebel is the more interesting of the two, but unfortunately Remender doesn’t give the character time to really develop. Only his goals are made clear; there are no nuances within his character. Remender spends a bit more time on the Czar, but it is primarily used to showcase the change Della has experienced since being sold by Roln and her conversion into a Minister of Thought.
This conversion is put on full display during an interrogation of the artist, Jelric. Della is cruel and unfeeling and lacks remorse. She has become self-centered, only focused on preserving her own skin.
Remender’s dialogue hits at the heart of the characters, capturing their fear, love, lust for power, control, and defiance. It runs the gamut of emotions and brings out the best and worst in the characters.
Complementing and supporting Remender’s story is Greg Tocchini’s artwork. I am a big fan of his painter-like art style. The first sequence really hits you with multiple gut-wrenching images of Della and Tajo as they fear for their lives, parents, and future. You want to reach out and punch the guy dragging Della down the hallway.
He is also able to completely shock you, similar to the ending of The Departed. Tocchini is able to take that kind of shock factor and put it in a comic. You will find yourself saying, “Oh crap!” or “Holy shit!” after that scene; I know I did.
His action sequences are very well done with Della performing a number of different acrobatic moves, making Neo from The Matrix look like an amateur. Ok, maybe she isn’t that good, but it seems obvious that Tocchini used much of Neo’s body language to influence this action sequence from Della flipping through the air to landing after obliterating about ten guards. The last image of the book is movie poster worthy, it is so awe-inspiringly awesome!
Dave McCaig’s colors accentuate Tocchini’s artwork. The first scene of the Helm Suit with the red and orange in the background just emits a sense of power. However, I was a little disappointed with the majority of Second City’s surroundings. It seemed he toned down the blues and whites of the winter-like dome, instead opting for more grays and browns to depict the insides of the buildings.
Is It Good?
Low #9 is absolutely fantastic. Remender’s crafting of the relationship and bond between Della and Tajo is the stuff of legends. Tocchini’s artwork is glorious, capturing awesome action sequences and then depicting pure raw emotion. I was a little disappointed in McCaig’s use of browns and grays on the insides of the building, but he really captured the power of the Helm Suit.