Thursday, November 27, 2014

What I Bought 11/15/2014 - Part 7

Hope you're having a good turkey day. Oh, who am I kidding? You're probably reading this on Friday, having only just emerged from a food coma. It's OK, I totally understand. As for something to be thankful for - besides the obvious stuff like family and having a warm place to live and be shielded from the elements - I'm going to pick the news that volume 1 of the current Ms. Marvel series was the highest selling trade paperback in October, at least through Diamond.

Roche Limit #1 and 2, by Michael Moreci (writer), Vic Malhorta (artist), Jordan Boyd (colors), Ryan Ferrier (letters) - I'm going to have to keep track of the changes in the planets on these covers, I think. The second issue is a little different from the first. Have to see if there's a trend there.

OK, this is a new fictional universe, so let's try to establish the basics. Roche Limit is a colony built inside a dwarf planet (known as Dispater) that orbits an anomaly in the Andromeda Galaxy. The colony was built by an eccentric billionaire known as Langford Skaarged, who hoped it would be a shining beacon of humanity. It is, unfortunately, populated by people, so it's actually a shithole where the people at the top took all they could grab, and leave everyone else to scrabble over the scraps. Earth still exists, and people do travel between it and the colony.

Sonya Torin is a cop on Earth, who has come to Roche Limit to find her sister Bekkah. She meets with little success until she encounters Alex Ford, who is the creator of a drug known as Recall. The drug allows you to relive any memory you so desire, as if you were truly there again. Only he knows the formula, which would put him in the driver's seat, you'd think, but no. That would be Mr. Moscow, a seemingly blind swordsman who is also sort of a mob boss. Moscow has also been having his men abduct people recently, for some mysterious group who keep throwing those people into the anomaly, then having them hauled out. The people survive, but are generally catatonic. Sonya and Alex don't know that's what happened to Becca, Moscow doesn't know what the purpose is of these tests, and all the club owner Gracie knows is someone is taking her girls, and Alex is looking into it. And two teenagers found a glowing rock that is important to other parties. And according to some creepy dudes, the Hour of the Black Sun draws near.

At this point, the story feels like an old detective novel, or noir story. The tough, burnout cop or P.I. determined to find the missing girl, with a tough but probably good night club owner, and a dangerous mob boss mixed in. Except the cop has her act together, the burnout is a drug dealer, the club owner has a serious injury to one eye (as in, it's missing), and the mob boss is a blind swordsman (maybe). of course, you also have to throw in all the other stuff about the three weirdos, and whatever it is they're expecting to find in the people that get dropped into the anomaly.

This is my first encounter with Malhorta's artwork, and it seems to suit the story. The people look fairly normal and realistic, most of them look a little worn or scruffy (except Sonya, maybe because she's not been there long?). Despite the setting, this is still a fairly down-to-earth plot, so that makes sense. There aren't gleaming, pristine spires reaching to the sky. What tall buildings there are look dark and untended. Nobody's much keeping up appearances or trying to win Village of the Year.

Most of the colors are either dull or dark. Oddly, for a city inside a planet, they don't seem to make much attempt to brighten things up. There's no artificial sun, just enough light to get by, mostly. Makes it easier to do what you like, perhaps. It does help the moments of more vivid colors stand out. Gracie's office is bathed in a deep red which really catches your attention, and for 4 pages in the second issue, they almost frame the tops and bottoms of the pages with it. It seems to work as a marker of the start and finish of small parts of this overarching conversation. Here's Gracie tersely demanding information, but at the end of that page, she's almost offering info herself, as a question. A couple of pages later, she asks Alex if he loves Bekkah, which triggers Sonya barging in an punching Alex, which sets another confrontation in motion (because up to then, he was playing the Good Samaritan, pretending he didn't know Bekkah).

The red has this interesting effect where it's so bright, whatever isn't outlined against it almost fades from sight. You get so focused on Alex standing in front of it, you almost don't notice Gracie on the far side of the room, and then boom, in the next panel she's right behind him. It's startling, almost a jumpy, disconnected effect. I'm not sure if that's the goal - with drugs that involve memories in the story, I can't rule out they're trying to play with perception - but it was a reaction I had.

Issue 3 just came out this week, so hopefully, it'll be on its way shortly.

No comments: