Roche Limit: Sci-Fi Noir That Pushes Humanity To The Limit

Roche Limit 1-1Comic book fans have been seeing more and more genre-styled fiction on the shelves over the last few years. Image Comics, the publisher of so much great creator-owned material, has been on the forefront of that movement.

This fall saw the release of another title in the genre pantheon with Roche Limit, a sci-fi noir tale that take place in the far future, on a far-off world, but whose motivations are distinctly human and timeless.

Follow me after the jump and discover where and how the grim future of Roche Limit exists.

The first page of the first issue of Roche Limit opens with the dialogue: “There was a time, the distant past, when people looked up to the night sky, to the stars and the moon, and dreamed.”

It’s an auspicious beginning.

Humans, indeed, have always dreamed of the outer limits, the places beyond our earthly confines. But here, in these opening lines, there’s less a sense of wonder and more a feeling of disappointment. And it’s that emotion that provides the foundation for Roche Limit, written by Michael Moreci (Hoax Hunters, Hack/Slash) and illustrated by Vic Malhotra (X-Files: Year Zero, Thumbprint).

The first issue was our pick of the week on the Wednesday Run on September 24 – and it didn’t disappoint. Now, two issues into the story and with the third arriving on store shelves this coming Wednesday, the mystery deepens and the story ramps up the excitement level.

Roche Limit 2The Roche limit, for all you non astro-physicist out there, “is the distance within which a celestial body, held together only by its own gravity, will disintegrate due to a second body’s tidal forces.” In the series of the same name, that first body is the dwarf planet of Dispater, which houses a sort of rag-tag human colony. Mankind’s dream, however bright, has turned dark here. Dispater is a lawless place, run by organized (and disorganized) crime and the drug called “Recall”. Just beyond the planet, ever present, is a strange and unexplored energy anomaly that promises to play an important part in the developing story.

All of this provides the backdrop for Alex, the one man who can create the highly desired “Recall” drug that everyone of Dispater wants and Sonya, an earth cop who has come to Dispater searching for her missing sister. Together, the two characters get woven into danger and a larger mystery while the Roche limit between heavenly bodies (and human ones) begins to exert its force.

The first two issues of Roche Limit move quickly and surround the reader with a story dripping in sci-fi entertainment and old school noir. It has a distinct Blade Runner and Dark City feel about it – two films that Moreci says influenced him. It’s a story where the brightness of human endeavor has taken a distinctly dark turn. The art of Malhotra is detailed and switches from expansive in his outer space imaginings to suffocating when the story steers into Dispater’s human colony buildings. This is an ugly future.

Roche Limit 3-1Moreci unveils the larger story arc early, with the second issue’s last page a fantastic cliffhanger. There’s religion here too, in the future, and it may be fanatical. There’s so much more to know in Roche Limit, so much more to discover! The tale feels deep and thoughtful and enticing. Each monthly issue has come with background information on the characters and the culture – elements that depict how rich the Roche Limit world actually is.

This is more than world-building. This is universe-building here. And on the edge of that universe lies the mysterious energy anomaly.

Roche Limit has been a fun read thus far and with the third issue about to drop, there’s plenty of time for genre fiction readers to hitch a ride to the edges of known space.

Roche Limit #3 is available in comic book stores on November 26.

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