• Matt Ligeti

WASTED SPACE, VOL. 1


Writer: Michael Moreci Art: Hayden Sherman Publisher: Vault Comics

***SOME ADULT THEMES ARE DISCUSSED IN THIS REVIEW. BEWARE, YE SENSITIVE PARENTS***


WHAT IS IT?

The funnest existential crisis you'll ever have. It's an intergalactic romp that perfectly balances action, humor, and the worry that all of the decisions you make in your life are pre-ordained.

Imagine Preacher meets Archer in space, or maybe Star Wars if it were originally intended for an adult audience.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

(Minor Spoilers)

The Creator (not to be confused with Tyler, The Creator) is presumably named that because he is the creator of the universe. He allegedly speaks to our protagonist, Billy Bane, and only to him. Because of this, Billy was known as a prophet. Unfortunately, these prophecies led to the galaxy’s collapse, and to our protagonist floating alone in space because everyone wants him dead.

Brother Jacob is kind of a new, replacement prophet. He's spreading the Good Word about Leader Devolous Yam in the name of the Creator. But he’s no believer -- he just knows what a good gap in the market looks like. Also, Devolous Yam is the psychopath who ruined the galaxy -- the same guy Billy helped rise to power, so Brother Jacob kind of sucks. Brother Jacob's daughter, Molly Sue, is a whole lot cooler. She joins Billy and Dust's party (not, like "celebration party," but more like "your core group of protagonists" sort of "party). Dust is Billy's his malfunctioning blue sex robot friend. Doesn't everyone have one of those? She seems pure and good and like she'll be the gang's moral compass, mostly because Billy was just looking to score drugs, like, 5 pages earlier, and Dust is (again) a malfunctioning sex robot.

Molly Sue's brother (AKA Brother Jacob's son) is The Worst™. He seems like an entitled, privileged punk, and it turns out, he is a punk. He's part of the anarchist gang, Anarchist Society Syndicate (AKA ASS) and he and his gang rally against the order of a society and a galaxy trying to heal from its trauma. Throughout the book, one thing is clear: in the struggle between order and chaos, the universe is being torn apart. Our happy band of misfits has to survive this greater struggle, and the individuals, armies and other powerful beings on either side, in order to stop the universe from turning into just a bunch of Wasted Space. But fate, if it exists, could have other ideas...

WHAT WORKS?

  • Michael Moreci has written the kind of iconic space adventure that only comes around every 20 or 30 years

  • The whole book is an existential crisis, with what could be the moral, or at least one take, at the very beginning: there is no meaning inherent in the universe, there is only the meaning we find in ourselves and our own lives

  • The rest of the comic then asks, “But what if there were meaning in everything?”

  • Even conversations throughout the story overtly debate different opinions and beliefs on the subject

  • It has one of the best opening lines in comics

  • Sets the tone for the narrative and lets the reader know what the story is about

  • Also reinforces the title

  • Closing lines to issues are often both hilarious and excellent cliffhangers

  • Hayden Sherman's line work is jagged and wild, symbolic of the universe on the edge of war and collapse

  • I love his heavy inks, and how they work with Jason Wordie's colors

  • Great thought to size and scope, both through literal and abstract means, like a science fiction Sienkiewicz

  • The panel division throughout felt expertly done, with pacing in mind

  • Great contrast between action scenes and periods of rest or slower exposition, often with humorous moments of juxtaposition between the two of these

  • His character design was also very cool and unique, an important part of any good space opera

  • Jason Wordie's color work is a silent hero in this title

  • While it may get overshadowed by the spotlight on the hilarious dialogue, the action-packed narrative and Sherman's organic line work, Wasted Space owes so much of its success and tonality to Wordie's work

  • I loved his color palette: the bright and vibrant pastels against the inky black of space, like Easter at midnight

  • He also gave a lot of thought to warm colors vs. cool and framing important parts of the image using color vs grayscale (see the below image for an example)

  • Running gags, like Billy's middle name, offer consistent call-backs to previous issues and reward the readers who notice it

  • The characters are memorable, feel unique and separate from each other, and you really do start to love them more and more as the story goes on

  • Billy's a disaster, but he's got the best lines

  • The Creator almost seems Stormtrooper-esque, and makes me wonder if we'll ever get a reveal of who or what is under his helmet

  • ​It's written to be an ongoing, so if you jump on during, say, issue 3 or 6, you can still figure out what's going on, thanks to context clues

  • Because it's an ongoing series, we get to enjoy the epic scope of this space opera and let the story unfold without worrying about fitting it all into a limited number of issues

  • Campbell's lettering choices are solid, especially for the Creator

  • Black, ominous balloons, but with sentence case, instead of caps, the way everyone else speaks

  • It's like he's calmly and composedly saying the universe needs darkness and destruction, which is more terrifying than if he were shouting it

  • There's a bonus holiday special issue that may still be FREE on Comixology

  • It's a clever spin on The Gift of the Magi

WHAT DOESN'T WORK?

  • The name of the comic and marketing for it made me think it was going to be more of a stoners-in-space title, which is why I avoided it for so long

  • "Get Wasted!" is a great tagline in many ways, but it definitely threw me off

  • I should note that I'm very sad I waited on this title for as long as I did

  • Not for kids

  • Cursing, violence, adult themes and some nudity (though much of the nudity is covered up in hilarious ways)

  • While the cast feels more entourage-based, all the characters feel like they're supporting cast members for Billy

  • This isn't really a knock against it so much as I'm not sure if it should be more about the rest of Billy's party, too, or if we're only supposed to have one protagonist

  • We've gotten some depth for Dust, but I hope we get more

  • Interested to see where Molly Sue's character arc takes her, since we haven't seen a ton from her, either

  • Nitpicky: I don’t love the “To be continued” lettering at the end of each issue

  • Seems like it doesn’t fit with the rest of the comic, and it’s an opportunity to otherwise do the sign-off stylishly, in a way that really fits with the tone of the book


WHY SHOULD I READ IT?

This is the incredible, addictive space opera you’ve been waiting for. It hits all the right notes, with enough new that it feels like untrod territory but enough trappings of the genre to feel familiar, like a warm, comfy blanket.

It's fun and hilarious and action-packed, while also having great depth and an undercurrent of existential crisis and helplessness.

One of the Top 5 comics of 2018.

WHAT DO I READ NEXT?

If you like the writing:

  • Wasted Space #6 by Michael Moreci & Hayden Sherman

  • Void Trip by Ryan O'Sullivan & Plaid Klaus

  • Preacher, Vol. 1 by Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon

If you like the art:

  • The Few by Sean Lewis & Hayden Sherman

  • Sentient by Jeff Lemire & Gabriel Hernández Walta

  • New Mutants: Demon Bear by Chris Claremont & Bill Sienkiewicz

ABOUT THE CREATORS

Michael Moreci – Writer

  • Inspired by space operas like Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy, and often writes epic sci-fi stories

  • Many of his other works are currently in production for film or TV

  • Multitalented: Also recently published his second novel, The Throwaway

Hayden Sherman – Illustrator

  • Influenced by sci-fi films, Batman, teachers he had and great comics he's read

  • Recently wrote an Opinion article for the New York Times about using war games to train engineers

Jason Wordie – Colorist

  • Outlander: Lives in Canada

  • Opinion: I haven't seen much of his work in the past, but absolutely loved his colors in Turncoat and God Country, and feel like they show off a lot of his skill and range -- these are 2 titles you should definitely check out

Jim Campbell – Letterer

  • Outlander: Hails from the United Kingdom

  • Multitalented: Also enjoys the art side of the creative world

  • Prolific: Has done lettering for a large number of hit titles

Adrian F. Wassel – Editor

  • Name Recognition: Is the CCO & Editor In Chief of Vault Comics, and plays the role of editor on most, if not all, of Vault's titles

  • Also helps run Vault with his brother and father

  • Has personally helped other comics creators, like Eric Palicki, in their endeavors

HOW DO I BUY IT?

The first volume of WASTED SPACE comes out Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019.

Pre-order it at your Local Comics Shop. or on Amazon.

The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

All Vault Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Vault Comics or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

#Vault #Outlander #Multitalented #SciFi #Opinion #Prolific #SpaceOpera #Comedy #Campbell #Wordie #Sherman #Moreci #NameRecognition #Wassel

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©2018 by Matt Ligeti the Comic Book Yeti.