The first two jobs of any comic series debut should be setting the readers up with a foundation for a compelling story and launching them into an engaging setting. With their sci-fi noir series Roche Limit, creators Michael Moreci and Vic Malhotra take us into outer space and inside the Roche Limit Colony, a utopia-turned-crime haven where an unlikely pair goes on the search for a missing woman. To me, it’s like Total Recall meets J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise, though that comparison may break down in future issues.
The story is set up with a rousing dialogue-box speech from eccentric billionaire Langford Skaargred, the man whose money and ideals put the Roche Limit Colony into existence. He wanted to extend our planet’s collective dream of the human race expanding into space. But his ambitious community, built on a dwarf planet set on the outside of a large energy anamoly in the Andromeda Galaxy, took barely any time to become the opposite of what Skaargred intended: a criminal den without any real rules limiting anyone’s behavior.
Sonya Torin is an Earth detective on the hunt for her missing sister, Bekkah Hudson. Sonya accepts the help of drug dealer Alex Ford, who lies about not knowing Bekkah and gives another reason for his generosity. He’s quite the crafty guy and should make for an interesting driving force in the series’ future. His drug of choice, which he also creates, is something called Recall, which is apparently highly addictive. There’s a pretty crazy non sequitur page in this issue concerning Recall that is either really out of place or the first of similar stylistic jumps yet to come.
Then there’s Gracie, the scar-eyed manager (or what have you) of a popular gentleman’s club. Some of her girls are going missing, and she isn’t afraid of using violent means to find information. Speaking of information, I’d love to know what’s going with these girls myself, and what the hell that last page is about. The suspense!
From beginning to end, Roche Limit consistently shows off its denseness both in the writing and in the art’s shadowy lushness. Despite being a noir story, there are more than enough oranges, pinks, and purples to remind readers that we’re in the future. And I’m not going to lie, the “Roche Limit” graph totally helped grasp where this story was taking place a little better.