Zeb Larson reviews Roche Limit #3…
Moscow pays a visit to the ghouls while Alex and Sonya get their hands on Guthrie. A strange sickness emerges.
Disparate threads are starting to come together in this story as several of our protagonists cross paths. The biggest revelation regards what Recall does to people, as it becomes obvious in this issue that some sort of plague or reaction is happening to former users. Yet while the plot is advanced considerably here, this is also a metaphysical issue that discusses what role human beings have in the universe. I’ll touch over the broad points of the issue in the next paragraph, but there will be no spoilers.
Alex and Sonya visit a clinic for users of Recall, which apparently and unsurprisingly has some nasty side-effects. They also go to visit the doctor involved with the young women, who is apparently conducting some kind of research involved with the human soul. Moscow is continuing his bizarre search for the girls, and he appears to be experiencing some of the nasty side-effects as well. Finally, we get an inkling of Bekkah’s fate, which leaves the reader on a good cliffhanger for the next issue.
The question at the heart of this story seems to be about man’s place in the universe. Langford thought that he could find some sort of meaning out there among the stars, but what he realized was that the universe doesn’t seem to be aware of us at all. Nothing was made for mankind, and we are merely a part of the cosmos. Langford at one point says that everything we know is an interpretation of the world, our hopes and ambitions externalized on the world around us. When the world around him no longer matched the dreams he had projected, Langford cracked. In fairness, what he realized is a pretty bleak thing, at least if you’re hoping you can transform reality.
But while the cosmos doesn’t have any particular regard for humanity, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing else out there. On the contrary, we as readers explicitly know that there’s some other kind of non-human intelligence at work in this story. This intelligence doesn’t seem to be very friendly either, and it seems clear that things are going to fall apart in the next several issues.
Now that we’re three issues in, it might be time to discuss the significance of the title. A Roche limit is a space in which a body in space being held together by its own gravity disintegrates under the tidal forces coming from a second celestial body. Now, one could read into that literally, as Roche Limit is a crumbling space station near a larger body in space. At a deeper level, however, this is also about humanity finding something other than itself in the cosmos. The colony of Roche Limit has destroyed just about everybody that has come in contact with it, largely by shoving their cosmic irrelevance in their face.
In every issue I note another allusion to Bioshock, which I noticed this time in a description of the slums. Yet the allusions are moving past popular dystopian fiction and into the realm of philosophy. In discussing interpretation as the basis for understanding reality, Moreci is touching on phenomenology and Timothy Leary’s “reality tunnels.” I even picked up a few notes from Ecclesiastes, as Langford’s self-criticisms are reminiscent of the author’s warnings about man’s inability to create anything permanent.
This comic has had a really powerful opening arc, and I can’t wait to see what comes next from Moreci and Malhotra.