Written by: Rick Remender
Art by: Greg Tocchini
Published by: Image Comics
“Low #3” is a very interesting issue of the new hit series from Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini; it has some really great elements and some that aren’t so awesome. As always Tocchini’s stellar visuals give the issue some stand-out pages, particularly the double-page spread of debauchery at the start and some impressive sea creatures toward the end.
Stel is an interesting lead character, and part of what makes her so compelling is that unlike seemingly everyone else in the world, including her son, she hasn’t totally given up on the species or herself. While the Senate is getting busy on an epic scale—an allusion to one of the distractions of the pending fall of the Roman Empire—Stel maintains her robust faith in averting the disaster that is about to befall her people.
In contrast, Stel’s son, Marik, spends the bulk of this issue either trying to kill himself or bitching about how his attempt to do so was thwarted. That’s not to say that it isn’t an interesting plot point to prove just how hopeless people feel in this world, but the nagging dialogue is more annoying than beneficial in this regard. When Marik finally shuts the hell up the comic is able to end on a strong note but I have a feeling that I’m not the only one who will find his whining a grating irritant.
It’s not until the end of the issue that “Low #3” moves into uncharted territory for the series. The series has been a pretty dark and, some might find, unnecessarily cruel world to its characters. But the final pages of this third installment show that Remender does have a heart after all. Or at the very least he is tricking us into thinking that only to take it all away next issue. The bastard!
This series still has a long way to go before it fulfills its potential. Early scores for this series have been pretty bloated, but that’s to be expected with a big-name writer like Remender at the helm and overeager critics looking for page views. The reality of the situation is that Low is just barely getting started and hasn’t managed to deliver much of anything yet in terms of character development and plot advancement. That’s not to say that it isn’t worth reading, because it totally is. I just think saying that it is necessary to temper the hype that some of the comic book press has heaped upon this series.
Tocchini has an unmistakable style that is colourful and creative and looks awesome for most of this issue. On occasion, though it happened more in the first two issues, the art becomes so muddled as to be completely lacking in coherent action and framing. These panels really disrupt the visual story-telling as they require you to pause for a moment to try and decipher just what is being depicted. The art is sufficiently subdued when the focus is on the characters allowing us to get to know Stel and Marik by their looks and not just their personalities.
“Low #3” gets us a little bit closer to what the series has teased. With a world this big and this unlike our own Remender and Tocchini have had to devote and must continue to devote a ton of time to exposition. Not only are the characters new to us but the circumstances of their reality are foreign to us as well. This has forced the book into a somewhat plodding pacing but the book is crafted with enough skill and enthusiasm that it’s not hard to see the jungle through the trees. What is there worth living for when there doesn’t seem to be a point anymore? This is the crux of the story and it’s a perilous question to ask. The series has yet to properly balance its nihilistic qualities with its sanguine protagonist.
“Low #3” earns 7.4/10