According to Wikipedia (which is never wrong, AFAIK), the Roche Limit is “the distance within which a celestial body, held together only by its own gravity, will disintegrate due to a second celestial body's tidal forces exceeding the first body's gravitational self-attraction.” Michael Moreci, Vic Malhotra and Steve Seeley obviously kept that in mind when creating Roche Limit, because calling #1 tense and tumultuous is an understatement. There’s a great balance between the sense of wonder you get on the first page of Malhotra’s art when you glimpse the vastness of this universe, interspersed with snippets of humanity: the good, the bad, the awful that happens day to day, from person to person. There’s something about stories set in space that drives home how unprepared we still are to really make contact out there, with all the conflict we generate amongst ourselves. It may be the stuff of science fiction now but at some point, it will be science fact and we’d do well to learn from stories told in series like Roche Limit.
The story starts off with a sort of apology, a missive by Langsford Skaargred explaining what he set out to do when he established the Roche Limit colony, and what it has unfortunately become. The tone Moreci sets in that narrative makes for a natural shift between the grandiose scenes in outer space and the slum-like establishments within the colony that our characters live and work in. Despite the location, the story is relatively simple: a good cop is trying to track down her sister in a bad place, with help from an unexpected source. Add in a healthy dose of murder, wrap it in flat-out scientifically improbable (but not impossible) mystery and you have Roche Limit #1. It’s a really interesting concept that I’m excited to find out where it goes.
I wasn’t familiar with Malhotra’s art previously but it really brings the story to life, and is wonderfully coloured by Jordan Boyd. The colour scheme for each panel immediately lets you know where you are on (or outside of) the colony, and each character is easily recognizable, no matter what animated expression their face is currently contorted into. I really like how Malhotra uses empty space between his panel layouts and in the artwork itself. Ryan Ferrier’s lettering is unobtrusive and easy to follow, the ideal touch you want from a letterer: subtle enough that you barely notice it.
Overall, it’s a heck of a first issue and a must-read for any science fiction fans.