Image Comics are at it again. Still not content with their wealth of original creator owned series’, they’re releasing a new one this week with Roche Limit. Described as a sci-fi noir, the series is written by Michael Moreci and drawn by Vic Malhotra.
Set on the distant colony that the series is named for, this opening issue follows several different perspectives. The primary plot thread concerns the search for a missing sister who was last seen on Roche Limit. This leads protagonist Sonya to collide with a number of intriguing and dangerous characters across the colony. Meanwhile there are a couple of other segments full of teasing information, with their current significance a mystery.
Roche Limit feels like it’s telling a story in a very developed world. There are some hints towards the history and careful details peppered throughout the issue. Thankfully though none of this gets in the way of the story, it all provides a comfortable backdrop but it never feels like we’re being overwhelmed with information. Instead we’re only told what we need to know. It helps that this information is genuinely interesting to begin with. I actively wanted to know more as I made my way through the comic.
The tone of the issue is rather grim. That’s certainly not to say that it’s overly bleak or miserable, just that this is a future that’s more seedy and grounded than what we normally see in futuristic stories. It gives the issue a sense of reality, it feels like Roche Limit has taken our society right now and plopped it into space, warts and all. People are as cruel and apathetic as we fear they are in day-to-day life. Seeing the complete disinterest that passing people have towards Sonya’s plight is sad to see but far from surprising.
The darker tone comes from more than just the script, as Malhotra’s illustrations are full of no-nonsense, stern characters and worn out architecture. Everything has a realistic look and little stylisation. Each character looks completely distinct and although the outfits may look mundane there won’t be any problems in telling the characters apart. Jordan Boyd’s colours bring a cold feel to the book’s interior scenes juxtaposed brilliantly by a warm space segment early on. The space anomaly that the colony sits beside is washed with brilliant, burning shades that show the awesome power of nature compared to the drab technology of humans. Altogether the art combines with the writing to build the series’ sombre atmosphere.
For an opening issue Roche Limit #1 gives you plenty of content to chew on. As already mentioned there are multiple perspectives covered but there’s even a short prose segment at the back. Specifically it’s an in-universe article about an influential character who seems set to play a big role throughout, one whose story is tied to the origins of Roche Limit. I hope this is something that’s repeated in future issues as here it acts as a nice conclusion and slows things down before the issue closes out.
Overall Roche Limit #1 is a pretty great comic. Rarely do we get an opening issue that manages to manoeuvre away from the pitfalls of endless exposition or even just taking things too slow. This issue does neither, it’s an engrossing comic that introduces us to a compelling setting while really bringing us into its world. It’s definitely worth trying out.