Low #4 still has the scattered feeling of the first three issues, but it’s starting to show its hand; you can start to see where the threads are that are going to converge, and Remender will pluck them and the whole thing will fall into place. It makes for my favorite issue of this series to date, but still not quite one that I feel confident in. Stel and Marik have discovered the Third City (Poluma) that has enough air to sustain them until they can reach the probe Stel claims contains information on a habitable planet. Unfortunately, Poluma is a filthy trash city filled with filthy trash pirates and what might be a Street Shark? UNFORTUNATELY-unfortunately, the filthy trash pirate King is Roln, who you may or may not remember from the first issue as the man who killed Stel’s husband and kidnapped all their kids except Marik. There’s some Stockholm Syndrome-y type stuff happening there that is not going to end well.
This comic tries to be a lot of things to a lot of people, and where it usually tends to suffer for it, sometimes brilliance shines through. It wants to be about the end of the world/finding a new one, it wants to be a family drama, it wants to be a story of a totalitarian society complete with constant orgies and gladiatorial contests. It does some of these well some of the time, but not all of them as often as it needs to. Some spots of brilliance this issue, though: Roln and Grolm. Their story is not super interesting, and it’s told in a random page where there’s no drama going on except for them saying their piece, but their design is spectacular. Roln can be run of the mill at a glance, but Grolm is a giant, Hulkbuster-sized robot suit with what appears to be just Grolm’s skull for a head. That’s fucking awesome.
Tocchini’s art has really improved over the last couple issues. In the first issue, he was leaning really heavily on the “the ocean is the final frontier, there’s shit down there that hasn’t evolved in 65 million years” thing, where every part of the ocean was the Marianas Trench, dark and horrifying. This month’s issue is positively sparkling in terms of clarity when compared to that first one. You can see where characters are (although in some of the orgy scenes, you really don’t want to know), you can follow the action, and he lets himself wander into some new undersea territory like bioluminescent fish, objectively the coolest kind of fish.
I’m not sure if this series has legs or not. Black Science and Deadly Class do so well because they’re angry, and they seem like really good ways for Remender to get his anger out into concepts that have a large enough cast or a wild enough idea to go in any number of directions to cover a lot of issues. This story is very focused on two members of one family, and their quest doesn’t seem like the first of many, it seems like the last quest. But hey, Fear Agent was really about just one guy, and it went on for something like 50 issues, so what do I know.
Writer: Rick Remender Artist: Greg Tocchini Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 10/29/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital