Published on October 29th, 2014 | by Lauren McPhee


Roche Limit #2 – Review

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I don’t particularly like the saying, ‘The road to Hell is paved with good intentions,’ but I will say this: the Devil doesn’t tempt us with measly offers. He knows what we want most. In Roche Limit, vision was the carrot on the string, luring the well intentioned forwards but ultimately proving unattainable, and with disastrous consequences.

Roche Limit 2b

I love that each comic starts with a narration by Langford because he is by far my favourite character despite the fact that he has yet to physically materialise. While reviewing events of issue one, as well as providing a little more insight into his failings and subsequent disappearance, Langford’s tone of voice carries the weight of sorrow of the good intentioned with added cosmic gravitas.

Alongside Langford’s narration, the art outlines the four main plots that are developing: experiments being done on the missing people; Alex and Sonya’s search for Bekkah; Gracie’s missing girls; and a pair of homeless kids who’ve found something they shouldn’t have. Colour, meanwhile, helps to delineate difference. Glaring natural tones make an apparent autopsy all the more clinically horrific while sour teal soaks the streets surrounding Alex and Sonya. Gracie is framed in contrasting orange, while the mysterious, dazzling white egg found by the kids glows amongst cosmic blue.  In poetic narration accompanying the images, Langford painfully wonders “if dreams can navigate us through the dark, leading us not to what was…but what could be.”

Roche Limit 2c

There is a hope that dreams and visions, beautiful and true, could lead to some salvation for Langford and the colony. Yet, Roche Limit was conjured from Lanford’s dreams, and Recall from Alex’s: a colony of stalled progress, and a drug that lets you relive the past without any hope of changing or repairing it. Not encouraging outcomes. Langford subsequently seems to have lost his faith and urges readers not to trust anyone whose faith sidesteps doubt, and yet the way he lingers over his past aspiration, it’s near impossible not to be seduced by the idealism of it.

Readers are similarly seduced into the story, despite the cynicism of the characters which should come as a warning. As we learn more about Alex and Bekkah and how they came to Roche Limit, and then how each of them failed to escape it, the reader as colonist is set up to share their fate. Furthermore, in this issue, we get more insight into Moscow, a Recall addict who’s bound Alex to him as a slave until he can crack Alex’s formula. He has little time for ideology or visions, for in the dark he knows of a black sun and that the world is going nowhere: “The night hides a world but reveals a universe.” This Black Sun has larger implications, however, in the form of a kind of cult with ties to both the missing people and the anomaly.

Roche Limit 2d

Overall, there is a lot going on in this comic, from overlapping and increasing plot threads, to questions of philosophy and memory. This should not discourage you. The themes are poetic but not overwrought and the story is easy to follow via the main characters; however, the creators are asking you to stick it out for the long haul as the mysteries pile up and the threads unravel. But in terms of concrete action, Alex gets to shine a little in this comic, revealing himself to be more than the “overly typical, snarky, blond scamp of an anti-hero” and even more of Langford’s double. Yet, I find Sonya’s development a little lacking: she’s clearly physically and mentally capable as an investigator, which really makes me wonder why she defers to Alex when he functions as little more than a guide to the goings on of the colony. With a growing cast of characters, I’d like to see her stand out a bit more.

For the second issue, Roche Limit continues to deliver on the feel and themes of the first by being beautifully dingy and filled with clues to start to build a case out of. The moral ambiguities continue to hold up, even increasingly as we are invited to compare Moscow with Langford as contrasting doubles. Alex is able to lead the story in intriguing twists and turns as he bridges the gaps in the plot by means of his complicated relations to other factions within the story world. Science fiction fans, as well, will respond to growing developments surrounding the anomaly, the possibly alien cult of the Black Sun and the glowing egg recovered from the mine. So, there’s still time to catch up on issue one and two if you haven’t already, before we progress much further into the depths of the mysteries ongoing and as we continue to await the answers from last month, with a few new questions to ponder over in the meantime.

Lauren McPhee
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