By Zack Quaintance — As Wasted Space progresses, it’s becoming clear galactic dictator Devolous Yam (fantastic galactic dictator name, btw) is a MacGuffin, a writerly term for a plot device many characters pursue with borderline thin motivations. Our heroes want to destroy Yam, our villains want to destroy Yam plus also a planet because anarchy, and an unstoppable otherworldly force wants to destroy our heroes so they cannot destroy Yam because...well, we don’t exactly know yet.
Yam Yam Yam and more Yam. I’m not entirely certain we’ve even seen the guy’s face, but he's all anyone wants to kill or not kill here. We just know Yam eliminated democracy and one of our protagonists—Billy—helped enable his rise, earning great shame and infamy (plus another really painful cost we learn about via incredibly well-done flashbacks in this issue).
And that’s fine, really. It makes for an exciting romp of a third issue wherein various actors intersect after much setup. In #3, writer Michael Moreci, artist Hayden Sherman, and colorist Jason Wordie show themselves just as adept at action storytelling as they’ve been previously at exposition, heady ideas, and character development. Moreci’s sense of humor is on point, too, and Sherman once again makes a strong case for best dystopian action artist in comics.
Yes, as much as I liked Wasted Space #1 and Wasted Space #2, this issue reached a more entertaining level without sacrificing any themes or thoughtfulness. I could get into the weeds about all that I liked, but I don’t want to spoil even small moments. I will say if you’re a new reader, don't be discouraged—reading all three issues consecutively will actually help you appreciate how the various character journeys are being laid out. I certainly know re-reading from the start this time was helpful (if not vital) for me.
This book has some of the best side characters in comics, specifically Dust, Billy’s Fuq/Qil Bot best friend who is often comic relief. I’m also a big fan of Legion, the aforementioned unstoppable otherworldly force, who crushes everything and sometimes doles out routine life advice, like, You should take more pride in your work. It leads to a healthier existence.
Lastly, I want to note that there are sneakily relevant bits of ethos and commentary throughout Wasted Space, with Billy flashingback in this issue to himself urging normalcy in the face of dictatorship, an attitude that cost him dearly and sent him into the spiral we find him in when the book begins. I'm curious to see the full scope of the progress he makes as the book continues.
Overall: Wasted Space #3 is this comic’s best issue yet. The creators have built a solid foundation of character and plot, and they’re now clearly having a blast smashing it all together. I have every reason to believe the next issue will be even better as things continue to converge. 9.0/10
Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.