Zeb Larson reviews Roche Limit: Clandestiny #3…
Can the android Danny be trusted?
The stakes have been raised considerably for the shipwrecked crew, even as the chaotic world of Dispater tears the group apart. This issue raises questions about Danny’s loyalty and whether is he playing his own angle or really trying to help the group. Yet it also raises some questions about what a soul really looks like when you lay it bare, which we can study through Danny’s absence of a soul. The results come across as deeply mixed; the soul is not quite as beautiful or pure as we’d like to hope, but it makes for a good read. I will be discussing spoilers in this review, so consider yourself forewarned.
Sasha and Kim discuss the visions they’ve been experiencing. Kim believes that world is real, but Sasha reminds her that this place is built on deceit and murder. Sasha, Elbus and Danny head deeper into the forest, where Danny says they can find another ship. He also reminds that he can keep them safe there, because the nightmare living there only attacks what it detects as a soul. Sasha and Danny argue about humanity, but their argument is cut short when they find the horrifying mutilated body of Stockton…who is still back at camp, and who promptly beats Colt to death. That isn’t the biggest revelation, though: after a long, semi-delusional trip through the forest, Danny takes them to his father, Langford Skaargred.
Danny and Sasha’s discussion about the soul is the most explicit discussion of a theme present in both the first and second volumes: what are the good and bad parts of being human? The forest feeds upon the wants and desires of the people who pass through, and Danny notes that they’re more real than just a hallucination or dream. The visions that people have are ideas that live within them, just brought a little bit closer to the surface. Yet what does Danny mean when he says that humans aren’t choosing the right reality for themselves. What makes a reality “right?” Perhaps Kim’s reality was the “right” one, a reality where she chose love instead of a career. Or does he mean something different? Just what are the limitations that we place on ourselves, and how we can sidestep the ugliness within ourselves that leads us to kill and conquer and destroy?
If Danny and Langford are telling the truth, then choosing the “right” reality will help them save the human race. Is the threat coming from MoiraTech, which clearly wants to use some aspect of this place in some extraordinarily ill-conceived commercial venture? Is the Stockton simulacrum that has escaped the new threat? Or is it something deeper within ourselves that is the existential threat?
The story’s most enjoyable parts came in the dialogue. Kim and Sasha’s opening panels were poignant, as both of them are characters living with regrets, but one wants to embrace those regrets while the other wants to move on from them. Elbus is also a man with a lot of remorse for his failures, and his monologue had a lot of sadness. While there wasn’t as much action in this issue, the reveal of Stockton’s gruesome and painful demise was a nice added horror element, a feeling which Moreci evokes with skill.
Some of the issue takes a second close reading, especially when you consider Skaargred’s words and weight them against what Danny says earlier in the issue. And, of course, there are numerous lingering questions. How much of what happens is a vision or hallucination? What is Skaargred doing here, and how does it relate to MoiraTech? Moreci is very good at leaving more questions than answers, but if this follows last volume’s pacing, we’re due for some answers in the next issue.