Wasted Space #8: Like a Memory
In between stealing a nuke and putting a bullet in a cosmic brain, Billy, Dust and the crew take a breather in Wasted Space #8. Sort of.
Story: Michael Moreci
Art: Hayden Sherman
Colors: Jason Wordie
Letters: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Vault Comics
Issue #8 begins with a simple proposition: replace Dust’s arm. From the get, we’re aware that this is going to be a bit of an interlude, and a well-timed one given the events of the previous issue. Billy’s a bullet down and a load of karma heavier, Dust’s reeling from Fury’s betrayal, and Rex and Mollie have some family issues to work out. Not to mention the nuclear bomb on board their ship.
I love Wasted Space, and I can also acknowledge that the book flirts with preaching (funny that) and uses a good deal of dialogue to make its moral compass crystal clear – or does it? Billy and the crew talk a good game about freedom of thought, expression and individuality, but Moreci and Sherman slow the pace here to let the murderous outcome of the crew’s antics really sink in. The book’s centered on a good deal of Billy’s trauma from the get, but so far there’s always been another giant robot or wild spaceport to distract. Now, there’s just a long walk and a good deal of soul-searching, and the outcome is still not entirely clear.
Toeing the line between interiority and space nukes is a dangerous proposition. Books like Wasted Space constantly run the risk of burying real character development or plot thrust under verbal or intellectual dialogue tangles. Moreci and Sherman know what they’re doing, however, and this issue is a prime example of their skills meshing to create something melancholy and beautiful. Sherman’s scratchy cartooning and character design are the high spots, but now we get to take some time in moment-to-moment action to dig into character reactions as they struggle to hold emotional moments in check … or let them out.
Wordie’s color palette is more muted in this issue, as is appropriate to the themes, but no less sophisticated or careful in its application. There are a lot of moody greys and blues, and some nice contrast between Dust and Billy’s skin tones and the quiet terracotta of the stones. Mollie and Rex’s scenes pop as we get a darkened ship backdrop in which they’re the apt spots of color. Campbell’s lettering continues to impress in a slower issue, and when dialogue carries most of the meat of an issue, lettering becomes more important than it already is (read: vital).
Earnestness is positively outré these days – everything has to be cool, sleek and streamlined, or fast, messy and sharp. There’s not a lot of room for soul-searching among the aesthetically pleasing ruins of truth, or for messy answers to the search. Wasted Space defies the current cultural norms and reaches for something honest, deep and hard to reconcile, because at the end of the day Billy’s still gunning for The Creator. We mustn’t forget, and Moreci, Sherman, Wordie and Campbell won’t let us for a second.
Pick up Wasted Space #8 tomorrow at your LCS, and where all fine comics are sold.