Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review - Roche Limit #1

"I am Langford Skaargard. Adventurer, eccentric and billionaire. I am responsible for the Roche Limit colony and the horrors the place has engendered."

The Roche Limit requires a little scientific understanding. It's the distance within a celestial body held together by its own gravity that will disintegrate due to a second celestial body's tidal forces exceeding the first body's gravitational self-attraction (Wikipedia for the win!). It doesn't really seem like the best place to set up a new colony, but Roche Limit #1 from Image Comics seems to disagree. The issue is written by Michael Moreci, illustrated by Vic Malhotra, colored by Jordan Boyd and lettered by Ryan Ferrier.

Twenty years after this promise, billionaire Langford Skaargard's dream of cosmic exploration is no more. Roche Limit, a colony situated on the cusp of a mysterious energy anomaly, is a melting pot of crime and terrible secrets. When Bekkah Torin goes missing, the search to find her will plunge her sister Sonya and a cadre of the colony's underworld figures into an odyssey that reveals a grim future for mankind. Leave it to the rich to create a new world where things fall apart very quickly.

It's pretty easy to compare the Roche Limit colony itself with Rapture (or Columbia) in the Bioshock series, as all three locales thrive on the notion of a populous seizing control. In Roche Limit #1, Moreci hands that control to the criminals of Roche Limit who run the town and generally have their way in the sun. That's a testament to Moreci's approach to relaying the tale to readers. He gives Roche Limit the colony room to breathe and unfold before your eyes without forcing any information on you. You're pretty much just as lost as Sonya is as she seeks out her lost sister. There's a lot of opportunity in the story for Moreci to put Sonya in a variety of tricky situations and that's pretty refreshing for a first issue.

Creating a seedy colony is no small task and Malhorta does an excellent job in doing so. Many of the city shots boast plenty in the way of detail and background action, really giving the reader a sense of how bustling Roche Limit really is. The city itself displays an appropriate level of decay as well, which works exceedingly well along the crime narrative crafted by Moreci. Even the characters range in terms of their "criminal" appearance, with Malhotra providing each level of crime with varied looks that reminds you that just because they're criminals they're not all necessarily on the same team per se. Mixing in Boyd's vibrant coloring and you really feel as if you're touring Roche Limit, taking in all of its ills and evils along the way.

Inviting readers into a new universe is never easy, but Roche Limit #1 handles the introduction slyly, giving readers glimpses of a greater collective evil. The colony feels as tangible as the guilty and innocent citizens who inhabit it. Moreci has demonstrated great ambition in making the series just realized, presenting a world teeming with life and interesting aspects. Malhorta's art moves throughout the city, stopping just long enough to give the reader a look at yet another shortcoming of the society that inhabits it. Roche Limit #1 is promising to be a sprawling story across a city that feels equally as vast, primarily because of the wide range of emotions and character types who inhabit it.

Roche Limit #1 is in stores now with interiors below.


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