Writer: Michael Moreci Art: Hayden Sherman Publisher: Vault Comics
WHAT IS IT?
Wasted Space is a sci-fi space adventure that runs on existential dread.
Equal parts heavy and humorous, it's like Preacher meets Archer in space, or the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy if it skewed more toward an adult audience.
This is the final issue of the book's second arc. Find previous reviews of Wasted Space (and reviews of similar titles) here.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
(Minor Spoilers for the issue, Moderate Spoilers for the arc thus far)
Billy continues his plan to get the keys from the rich assholes so he can find and kill the Creator. In the process, however, he's pushed away his best friend, who's had about enough of Billy Bane.
It doesn't help that Dust lives life by a specific and defined moral code. Lines are either crossed or they aren’t. Billy believes that certain lines must be crossed in order to accomplish great things. To him, the ends justify the means. At least, it seems so. Maybe he hasn't thought it out that far. Or, maybe he's just more willing to put his friends in danger than Dust is.
And that's not the only thing threatening the stability of our merry band of adventurers. The events that transpire and the decisions made this issue will set Wasted Space's status to "It's Complicated" for the next arc.
But there's hope! The gang knows what they have to do next, for one. For another, it looks like Wasted Space will now run for 15 more issues, so there's plenty of story left to tell, and we're not even halfway through it!
Michael Moreci continues to dismantle every belief system that allows us to drift through life relatively comfortably, questioning what truly motivates people and why they make the choices they do.
The furry bois of Texra reappear briefly in a hilariously unexpected callback to the previous issue.
Hayden Sherman cleverly reminds us that Billy is the only one who could hear or see the Creator, showing us a scene from the past without relying on a caption. Instead, he uses an establishing shot of Billy in the bar with a woman. He has dark hair, so you know it’s the past, and the woman has no one next to her other than Billy. When you see the Creator next to her in the following panel, it's a clever way of refreshing readers' memories of Billy's strange circumstances.
This is one of my favorite issues for sound effects. The typing sounds work so perfectly with the art style and were placed into the art so well, it almost looked like Hayden Sherman did it himself. Other sound effects were layered in with the art rather than just laid over the top of everything, for a dynamic and three-dimensional effect.
It's interesting how access to greater knowledge or resources was trusted only to the elite, and how it’s nothing but symbolic for them. They have so much at their fingertips that they could learn or do, and they squander it or think it's meaningless. In one way, it's a commentary on the privilege of the elite. In another, it's a little like how many of us hold access to all of human knowledge in our phones and mostly just use them to talk smack on the Internet or play Candy Crush.
Jason Wordie subtly dials up the tension with red that contrast the venue's green hues. Once that tension subsides, he uses a calmer yellow instead, implying a cautious safety.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Personally, I miss some of the light-hearted running gags from the first volume, like the happy face over scenes of nudity, or characters giving Billy a different middle name. This second arc felt very heavy, even in comparison to some of the more serious scenes in the first arc. For some readers, it may seem like a departure from what originally hooked them on the title in the first place. Others may see it as the necessary evolution it is, but it's just something that stuck with me.
An event toward the end of the issue may at first seem...typical? Expected? Inevitable? Some combination of those? But I think the dialogue that happens during it is important to the book's existential and ethical questions and themes, and overall actually has a much larger bearing on the plot. We'll likely see more of that in the next arc.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Look, if you're not reading Wasted Space by now, you need to re-examine your life choices.
It's rare to find a comic that will make you re-evaluate how you perceive your life and the world around you, but Wasted Space does this every single issue. Chances are, it'll make you laugh pretty regularly, too.
There's no space opera on shelves that can beat this one. Don't miss it.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
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 runs Vault with his brother and father
Has personally helped other comics creators, like Eric Palicki, in their endeavors
Tim Daniel – Designer
Multitalented: Also was the writer on Fissure
Inspired by others in the business: Sonia Harris, Sean Phillips, and Fonographics
Dream Team: Co-wrote Curse and Burning Fields with Michael Moreci
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