Written by: Michael Moreci
Published by: Image Comics
“Roche Limit #5” draws the first story-arc to a conclusion. This issue also marks the departure of artist Vic Malhotra from the creative team as we have now reached the end of the first act (this series is planned to be 15 issues long). Writer Michael Moreci will continue to helm the series as it traverses its next stories and he has taken a pretty significant risk with Roche Limit.
This issue brought the relatively self-contained five issue arc to a close and as an ending it can’t help but be simultaneously satisfying and yet also frustrating. In the vein of good story-telling Moreci and Malhotra have towed the line with these characters long enough now that we’ve begun to see what makes them tick and become genuinely interested in their plight regardless of the advancement of the plot. Unfortunately, just as these bonds between reader and character solidify we have to leave them behind. It makes for a bittersweet experience that makes for compelling story-telling, which leaves us wanting more, but part of me will also have wanted to see more from this group as it seems like we just barely scratched the surface.
Moreci is braving new ground with the series moving into the next arc where a significant amount of time, 75 years, will have passed since the events of “Roche Limit #5”. This isn’t terribly unusual for a science-fiction series, something like Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy comes to mind as an example, but it is a pretty big risk for an independent book to move so quickly into untested waters.
Malhotra receives some help from Ben Holliday in the visual department for “Roche Limit #5”. The result of this collaboration, along with the return of colourist Jordan Boyd, is the most kinetic and exciting issue yet. With important plot points in separate locations all wrapping up concurrently or within quick succession of each other gives the comic a visceral experience of jumping from place-to-place. What that means for the story will be discussed in just a moment, but visually it makes for the kind of climactic comic readers were likely hoping for.
The pacing for this issue felt a little too fast at times. This series has been thoughtful and reflective throughout its brief run yet this installment puts a cap on things in a fast and furious manner. While that can be exciting for some books, it doesn’t suit the tone and cadence this series has set for itself thus far with a methodical approach to not only story-telling, but world-building. That said, the comic book market is so flooded with quality that it’s entirely understandable for Moreci and company to want to tell a concise story to guarantee it gets told at all.
“Roche Limit #5” is a satisfying conclusion to a compelling science-fiction noir comic. The tone of the work is deadly serious and occasionally dark and brooding, but that made the warmth of the characters all the more appealing. The art of Malhotra proved to be a highlight for this issue with some excellent panel structure and framing. Throughout the comic the cinematography sweeps us along on a torrential ride to a conclusion that seems a bit too hastily ended for the consequences of everything therein to really be explained, absorbed and appreciated. This is a very good start to what will eventually be a trilogy and it’s exciting to ponder where amongst the stars Moreci and company will whisk us off to next.
“Roche Limit #5” earns 7.9/10