Review by Karl Verhoven
Over its two volumes Roche Limit‘s science fiction has provided two very different stories, each seeming to be one thing before becoming another. Anomalous posed as a crime story, and Clandestiny appeared to be a variant of Alien, with both posing questions that transcended genre fodder.
The ground shifts again here, but in the opening pages we return to Sasha, a holdover from Clandestiny. You really should read those previous books, not least because this conclusion to the series offers few concessions to anyone who hasn’t, but briefly they’re set on a planet located near a vast scientific anomaly in space from which creatures have emerged. They’re not like us, and Earth is under threat.
The opening chapter is a complete head scratcher. Michael Moreci also returns characters from his opening book scrubbing for a living in a sparsely populated community that has the trappings of a run down Earth city. Some are curious and questioning, others possessing a desperate certainty that something’s not right, while acting out familiar scenarios. It’s another day in paradise for Moreci’s existential science fiction.
“The same things we’re often burdened by – self-awareness, a conscience, a feeling of spirituality – are what also makes us unlike anything else in the universe” is a key second chapter explanation. It connects to both the humans previously seen and the aliens from the anomaly. They’re a hive mind, and need to be individual. “We’re exactly where we need to be” is a phrase repeated in Monadic, and it’s indicative of a mantra required to shatter a large scale rat run.
There’s a looser feel to the art of Kyle Charles, but it remains suitably epic when required while still delivering the placidity also essential. There’s a fine synthesis of art and writing for the final pages. What should happen has been laid out before we turn those final pages, but these are portrayed in symbolic imagery. We have the ending we want.
Monadic doesn’t lay everything out as the previous Roche Limit books did, and this makes it difficult to follow in places. Pay attention, and everything falls into place. It’s a fitting finale to a series that constantly prods at what science fiction in comics can be and constantly prods at what we should be.