Written by: Rick Remender
Art by: Greg Tocchini
Published by: Image Comics
“Why do we fall, sir?” Michael Caine’s Alfred asked Christian Bale’s Bruce. That question, and i’s subsequent answer, seems to sum up Low perfectly at this point. We’ve seen these characters low, we’ve seen them beaten, degraded and hopeless, but with “Low #6” series writer Rick Remender delivers a tour-de-force of redemptive triumph. This installment is, in my estimation, far and away the best we’ve seen from this series yet despite artistic missteps throughout.
For the most part I’ve found Greg Tocchini’s art to be a pleasant surprise. This series is the first I’ve seen from him and discovered his style to suit Remender dreary, apocalyptic undersea world. The explosive violence, exotic wildlife and fantastic alternative technology has been the perfect outlet for Tocchini’s hectic line work, which seems to have a mind of its own. This issue gets the best of his frantic style though and often leaves the subject or details of a panel muddled or confusing. The colour palette, while again perfectly suited to the tone and atmosphere of the book, isn’t diverse enough to help in this respect and several times I had to examine a panel too long just to see what Tocchini was trying to show me.
These slip-ups aren’t frequent but nevertheless hold it back from being the masterpiece it could have been otherwise. I suspect the time off between this issue and the next will allow Tocchini to recharge and come at the series fresh and help deliver the clarity of vision he was able to consistently maintain up until this point. His work is a crucial piece of what has made this series so interesting so far and is also the vessel that could buoy Low to even greater heights of acclaim. When it’s on, which is most of the series, the art is truly spectacular and easily amongst the most compelling available this week.
At first it seemed like Remender was wantonly cruel, like a jealous god punishing his subjects out of spite and heedless wrath. In the months since Low’s brutal debut we’ve seen Remender add a depth and nuance to the story and characters that have taken a good idea and turned it into a great book. Easily one of the best writers in the business right now, I feel like a fool for having doubted whether Remender would turn this book into something that appealed to me, as he has quite obviously done with these last couple of issues.
The tragedy, sacrifice and horrible beauty of “Low #6” really blew me away. I wasn’t ready for Remender to really turn up the heat on this series and make it so damn readable. It seemed like there was a great blend of stellar action, at times perfectly drawn by Tocchini, with minimal dialogue or narration and also periods of fantastic exposition. The deft touch the creators took works to perfection spinning the story along at a perfect pace where everything falls into place with enough time to grieve or celebrate whatever the latest plot twist is.
With many series it’s possible to trace from the debut to the point where it really succeeds and becomes something great. “Low #6” really feels like that for Remender and Tocchini despite a couple of stumbles along the way. If you were waiting to see how this first story-arc would turn out then I’d argue in favour of it being a genuinely compelling series that warrants your support going farther. We’ve started out low, so low, and I for one am dying to see how high we can hope to go.
“Low #6” earns 9/10