When we last left Tajo Caine, she had been reunited with Mertali and introduced to a new ally, the cyborg-like IO. Together the three of them have ventured into the dreaded Roach Lands to find and stop Lena, the true daughter of the pirate king Roln, who’s hell bent on destroying all of Salus. So let’s find out how they do and if this issue is any good.
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Greg Tocchini, Dave McCaig
Publisher: Image Comics
“OUTER ASPECTS OF INNER ATTITUDES,” Part Three Tajo makes a desperate final attempt to save what’s left of the city of Salus, but the darkness in her past threatens to engulf the embers of hope.
What’s the skinny?:
A raged fueled Tajo used her family’s helm suit to completely destroy the pirate city of Poluma, slaughtering Roln and everyone inside. Lena, true daughter of the pirate king Roln, wants vengeance, and an eye for an eye means she will settle for nothing less than the total destruction of Salus. Somewhere deep in the recesses of the city’s dreaded underworld, the Roach Lands, Lena has planted a bomb that will wipe out half of humanity.
Tajo, IO and Mertali venture into the underbelly of Salus with the knowledge that those who enter never return. Upon entering the Roach Lands you can quickly see its reputation is well earned. The first area they enter is literally a suicide district – dead bodies mixed with piles of filth decorate the streets and hang half decomposed from light fixtures and buildings. Dante’s Inferno comes to mind, as the deeper the party descends, the more disturbing the encounters become. The denizens of the underbelly of Salus have truly given up hope and boy is it apparent.
After being separated from Mertali and IO, Tajo locates Lena in a drug fueled sex den. What follows is a heart-pounding chase from the depths of the Roach Lands to the skies of Salus, ending in a truly epic confrontation.
What’s the catch?
An epic chase scene from the depths of a futuristic city up to the skyline involving sex, drugs, guns, knives, brutal violence and flying cars. Yup nothing to see here, move along to the next section.
Is it good?
I don’t feel that there’s much more I can say about the quality of work that Greg Tocchini and Dave McCaig put on display in Low. I only have so many compliments to give! They’re both masters of their craft and every comic book fan owes it to themselves to explore their work throughout Low.
What I’d like to focus on in the art department is my favorite panels from this issue. The first is a two page spread starting on page five – Tajo, IO and Mertali have just started to work there way through Roach Town and Tocchini has perfectly visualized what I envisioned this place to be. There’s an aura of filth and decay that McCaig’s color work really brings to the surface. We see a group of people engrossed in sex, suicide, misery and utter hopelessness. You can feel the total disregard they hold for their lives, the lives of those around them and the future of the world they inhabit.
The other panel that really stuck out to me is also a two page spread, found on pages 17-18. Tajo is chasing Lena out of the depths of Salus, jumping onto a moving train. The entire scene, panel by panel, was so utterly and completely badass. There’s world building, a rolodex of human emotion and an adrenaline shot for the reader. It all combined so well together that I was immediately reminded of Blade Runner, The Fifth Element and James Bond.
Remender takes the reader on a truly epic journey in Low #18. You’ll watch Tajo journey from the depths of hell to the skies of Salus and encounter drugs, sex, guns and flying car chases along the way – all in one issue no less! I had a lot of fun reading this comic–it provided laugh out loud moments, holy s--t moments and beneath it all a very real emotional story still manages to progress. We get to see Tajo struggle with her insecurities and doubts, while also debating the focal point of Low‘s universe, hope.
The perfect pacing of this comic reminds me of watching Breaking Bad. Every time I thought Walter White couldn’t get deeper into the darkness, couldn’t do something more crazy and insane, he’d do just that. Rick Remender is the Walter White of comics right now. I need to stop telling myself he can’t possibly one up himself because he just keeps proving me wrong.
It feels really good to be wrong.