Published on February 25th, 2015 | by Lauren McPhee0
Roche Limit #5 – Review
Here’s the thing about cycles: they repeat, they return, they revisit. However, as observers we navigate cycles based on our own perspectives, perceptions or position in orbit, and rarely do we experience cycles as a whole. And here’s the other thing. To end cycles have to begin again. To begin again, they have to end. This brings us to the final issue in the first volume of Michael Moreci’s Roche Limit, the seeming break in the cycle, the end, and the glimpse at its new beginnings.
First of all, this issue falters in the course of convention when it doesn’t begin as the others with the narration of Langford. Rather, it continues on exactly from where last month’s issue left off, with Bekkah and Alex falling toward the anomaly. The anomaly itself is shown with a dark sphere rising out of it, possibly the embodiment of the Black Sun. Alex on the end of his cable, stretches his hand out to rescue Bekkah from the erupting plumes of light and cosmic effluence in a beautiful full page spread that captures the urgency and chaos of the nearness of calamity and loss.
Alex grabs Bekkah’s hand at the last moment. Against the backdrop of vast space, the scene recalls and contrasts the previous issue which opened with Langford’s lonely death floating alone into the void, but contrasts aren’t opposites. In issue 4, Langford recounts in his final message that he never had anyone to share his world with. However, Alex does. He has Bekkah. Yet, in the end, it doesn’t stop him from sharing Langford’s fate, or allow him to prevent any of the outcomes already set in motion from the series’ beginning. Twin satellites, Langford and Alex are like all other things orbiting the anomaly and they can’t escape any more than gravity would allow them to.
The rest of the issue plays itself out with matching sombre tones of inevitability. Colour is, after all, such a significant aspect of this comic. With credits this issue going to Jordan Boyd and Marissa Louise, the toxic colour schemes of previous issues seems to have evolved slightly from acid toxicology, the detailing of different poisons, to opiate surrender, the ‘making comfortable’ of the terminally diseased. This is most evident in the scene where Moscow finishes off the ghouls as they survey the devastation addiction to Recall has brought to the colony.
Meanwhile, the rest of the characters that have featured in this story are making their final stand alongside Gracie, who recognises the fruitlessness of famous last words but makes a go of them anyway. What is significant is that they are all standing for Roche Limit, not just for themselves. Roche Limit is their home. Despite being a cesspool, Gracie has found a way to survive in it and keep others safe; moreover, she recognises the purity and need of protection of Bekkah’s soul, without knowing what it is. However, as the doors crash open before the mass of Recall addicts, you already know that all their efforts will be futile and characters we didn’t have enough time to get to know will soon be gone. This is perhaps one of the saddest realisations of the issue.
Moscow, in his madness, then continues to haunt as the villain of the comic, stepping across pages of bodies, victims to the consequences that have been building since the series’ beginning. He also remains, himself, a haunting figure. Seeking out Bekkah’s soul, his intentions are all the more tormenting. The art of Vic Malhotra and Ben Holliday in this issue is particularly unforgiving in its depiction of the death and calamity he is proud witness to. The scene of his final death, caused by Alex in his recovery of Bekkah’s soul, is satisfyingly eerie as Moscow’s black eyes remain open, following a ghostly flight across the rooftops. His sudden, all too human death by gunshot might even seem improbable if it wasn’t for the inevitability that he should die too, but only as a symbolic gesture of ending since the mystery and prevalence of doom continues with the Black Sun.
The comic’s closure, and thus its ending and conclusion, are predictable enough in that Bekkah regains her soul and is set to return to Earth with her sister, Sonya. As we know, Alex cannot return and surrenders himself to the same fate as Langford, to drift alone into space with only memories and visions to cling to until the proximity bomb in his heart explodes when he drifts out of reach of the colony. We have thus come full circle. Langford’s dream, lived out by Alex, rounds to its conclusions; the inhabitants of Roche Limit succumb to Recall and destroy the last vestiges of the colony and very few escape or survive that we know of beyond Sonya and Bekkah who were never true inhabitants to begin with. Then comes the epilogue.
The anomaly is the only character that carries over, the mystery of Langford’s quest for space-travel and reaching toward the outer edges of the cosmos. What is different, however, is the black orb that rises out from the anomaly, letting forth black creatures like dark matter beasts seeking out the light and purity of the unclaimed soul remaining in the mines. This new development is set to continue in Roche Limit: Clandestiny out on the 6th of May. I love this title by the way, from clandestine, secret, sly and destiny, which makes me wonder how the new volume will meet with the themes of doubles, mirrors, dreams, visions, choice and cycles. What is evident, however, is that Roche Limit isn’t over; this cycle may have ended, but the story is ongoing and will return to us twice more.