The survivors of the Roche Limit exploration team must grapple with the space colony’s enigmatic malevolence that forces them to question their own humanity. Writer Michael Moreci, artist Kyle Charles, and colorist Matt Battaglia continue to expertly tell this existential and thrilling tale in the penultimate chapter of “Roche Limit: Clandestiny”.
Written by Michael Moreci
Illustrated by Kyle Charles
Langford presents Sasha and Elbus with a life or death ultimatum.
In “Roche Limit: Clandestiny” #4, we are given the least amount of explanation about monsters that threaten the colony’s explorers and all of humankind back on Earth. Sasha, Elbus, and the rest of the crew have a greater meance to confront besides physical monsters: their own minds. Michael Moreci continues to combine exciting action (with the help of a superb artistic team) and existential questions to create a fascinating and exciting adventure. Like with the previous “Roche Limit” miniseries, “Clandestiny” takes a genre story and transforms it into something that feels unique and very personal.
This issue begins with the revelation of horrific secrets behind Roche Limit and the fate of the space colony’s previous explorers. Moreci takes one of our greatest fears and poses a question to the characters and the book’s readers: could the basic motivations of humanity be selfishness and self-preservation? “Roche Limit: Clandestiny” #4 asks whether the good is always overpowered by the worst of humanity’s instincts. Are we the monsters that threaten humanity, and is there any hope at all? Although Moreci deals with bleak subject matter, he does it while entertaining and coaxing us to ponder what our response would be if we were this book’s characters.
Mixing genre with questions of morality is not the only thing Moreci does exceptionally well. He also populates his book with engaging characters. Sasha, the heroine of “Roche Limit: Clandestiny,” struggles with the secrets she has just learned in this issue. She proves herself to be a complex character and is the epitome of the term “heroine.” She doesn’t give in to her basest desires, but instead does things that many of us would struggle to achieve ourselves. The robot Danny earns our empathy, and is given an awesomely gruesome moment with Sasha that is one of the best of the series’ so far. It’s exciting to witness and shows just how intense and unexpected next month’s ending could possibly be. Elbus and Colt are badass characters who bring the excitement and action more than anyone (except maybe Sasha.) Moreci adds more substance to his characters by surprising us with their actions as they adjust to their ever-changing situation.
The story and characters wouldn’t be as engaging if it wasn’t for Kyle Charles. His artistic style is a combination of the realistic and the fantastic. It’s a perfect combo for a book that is supernaturally disorienting at times, while also dealing with very real issues. Langford’s robotic body and holographic face are high-tech, while also appearing primitive and rundown. The emptiness of space, and the desolation of the colony, come through on the page with a richness that teases much more underneath than can be seen with our primitive eye. Despite the sketchiness of his art (which is very effective in its gritty, yet not too gritty, aura,) Charles brings the characters to life through their facial features, belying a depth that contains both strength and exhaustion. These are people (and a robot) that have lived on a planet that hides many manner of evil.
Matt Battaglia’s colors have a watercolor quality that swirls with mystery and claustrophobia. Just like Charles is able to convey the heaviness of life on Roche Limit through his art, Battaglia’s colors have an ethereal quality that suggests this planet has hidden ghosts and agendas. Whether neon bright or dirty gray, there is a mixture of fluidity and oppressiveness that is unsettling in Battaglia’s colors. The opening pages are particularly effective, with the beautiful and seemingly innocuous purple of space leading to the fiery inferno of the unknown. Battaglia has a distinct coloring style that contributes even more to the profundity of the story and the accompanying art.
Can the explorers stuck on Roche Limit stop a seemingly unstoppable evil that threatens to consume Earth? The actions of Sasha and her remaining space friends (both old and new) in “Roche Limit: Clandestiny” #4 promise an explosive and mind-expanding finale.Continued below
Final Verdict: 8.9 – “Roche Limit: Clandestiny” #4 and the entirety of the Roche Limit saga so far is a unique experience that is intelligent, exciting, and gorgeous.