Writer: Michael Moreci Art: Hayden Sherman Publisher: Vault Comics
WHAT IS IT?
Wasted Space is 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.
This covers issue #6 only, so you should probably read the first 5 issues in Vol. 1 before reading this one.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
(Moderate spoilers for Vol. 1, only minimal for the issue discussed)
The gang gets started on their new mission to save the universe, and logically, they choose the most attainable step first.
For some reason, they need cryptokeys, held by some rich and powerful individuals. I'm sure we'll get more on the reasons behind this in future issues.
There might be a wrench thrown into their plans, however: Molly’s had another vision, and it isn’t good. In fact, it's so Not Good, it might break apart this happy gang of misfits, and Billy’s talking like he almost expects that exact thing to happen.
But what’s got Billy so worried? And what was Molly’s vision about? And just how, exactly, is this merry band of lunatics supposed to kill a god? (Yeah, that's the spoiler I mentioned earlier.)
Our beloved main characters continue their fight against fate and the idea that everything is pre-ordained. Maybe it is, but they can't accept that without a fight, so they do what they can through half-baked plans and moxie.
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
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
I really enjoyed his size and color choices representing order and chaos, and I like theorizing about their meaning
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
This continues in issue 6!
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
The struggle between order and chaos (and fate, if it exists) continues to be an ongoing theme
Characters think they can control them (they can't)
Without order, chaos can't exist, and vice-versa...right?
The constant slur of "insanity" gets used so much that, by this point, its become its own theme
Often, it just means two people with opposing viewpoints, but I have a feeling we'll see true insanity later
Really excellent comedic moments and timing help balance the existential dread
The description of (and anecdote for) parenthood, childhood and adolescence is humorous, accurate and works well to define characters and move the story forward
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
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
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.
If you loved Vol. 1, you will continue to love this new story arc.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Wasted Space, Vol. 1 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?
Issue #6 of WASTED SPACE comes out Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019.
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