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 penultimate issue of the book's second arc.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
(Serious spoilers for Vol. 1, some light spoilers for this issue)
So, last issue was pretty heavy. We can all agree on that. This issue gets back to more of the baseline amount of existential dread we've grown accustomed to.
The next step in the plan to take down The Creator is to get a bunch of cryptokeys from a fortress of "rich assholes." The team now has a nuke that they plan to use to threaten said assholes into parting with the cryptokeys, which have been passed down to them through generations, a symbol of their elitism.
Everyone seems worried Billy will actually use the nuke and kill everyone. After all, Billy's shown no remorse for his life choices up to this point, which includes cold-blooded murder. What will Billy do if the rich assholes refuse to give up the cryptokeys? Especially because there don't seem to be a lot of alternative ways to get to The Creator.
I appreciate the ongoing motif of Billy refusing to own his life choices, often blaming them on others. It's so human, and it'll be a very clear sign of growth if and when he finally takes responsibility for his actions.
The furry bois of Texra (shown below) are as fearsome as they are adorable. They're a little reminiscent of the creatures from that old "Rejected" video from the Early Internet Era. What happens to them reminded me a little of Stephen King's Under the Dome novel. While it was played for laughs, it does make you wonder if things like accidental genocide leaves marks on your soul, or if you have to realize you've done something bad in order for them to have an effect on you.
Also interesting is how all of our protagonists have different moral codes and, though we view them as "the good guys," each defines morality differently.
It's interesting that we spent so much time on one antagonist's backstory this issue. I think it helps to define the character, not as just another entitled person, but as a nuanced character with an iron will forged by the hard lessons of his youth. It helps his presence and appearance feel like it means something, instead of Moreci just dropping a roadblock in the characters' path.
Hayden Sherman's art style is just so perfect for a book where chaos and order are at war with one another. His art has a deliberately messy look to it, like he was in a hurry, except each line matters, and is placed perfectly. It gives the whole book this rough-around-the-edges tone, and the title wouldn't work as well with any other art style.
We're back to Jason Wordie's vibrant palette after last issue's darker palette, and it gives this issue so much warmth and energy, it propels it full-speed toward the arc's ending.
Jim Campbell's sound effect work is as great as ever, but his caption placement in the last panel of a 9-panel grid later in the comic was a brilliant and subtle way of showing a cycle breaking
Speaking of that 9-panel grid later in the comic, it shares themes similar to the one below. Though a little different because of the humans involved and its physical violence, (and the smartly rounded edges of the third panel in each row, showing the corners of the mirror the character looks into) there's a message underlying them both: "Break the cycle or it will break you." As usual with 9-panel grids in this series, the monologue shares a basic human truth – at least, a version of it through the filter of a character and their experiences.
I've said it before, but I love Campbell's font choice for the locations (also shown below)
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Reading Wasted Space may lead to questioning your motivations for every decision you make and fits of existential terror.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Look, if you're not reading Wasted Space by now, you need to re-examine your life choices.
If you have been reading the series, you should know why you need to pick up the next issue. This second arc marches ever closer to Billy and the crew getting everything they need to confront The Creator.
Seriously, you're not going to want to miss it.
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 runs Vault with his brother and father
Has personally helped other comics creators, like Eric Palicki, in their endeavors
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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