REVIEW: Wasted Space #4 by Michael Moreci, Hayden Sherman, Jason Wordie, & Jim Campbell

Wasted Space #4 is out Aug. 22, 2018.

By Zack Quaintance — One of the qualities (among many) that has drawn me to Wasted Space is its sheer complexity. This is the series’ fourth issue, and going in I found myself wondering what facet of this story Moreci, Sherman, et al. would explore here in greater depth. Would we finally see Devolous Yam (almost)? Would we learn more about the powers shared by our series leads (almost again)? How about more of Legion, the giant unstoppable force driven to absolutely stomp our heroes (no, but check out #5’s cover)?

The first three issues have just laid so much excellent groundwork, planting tons of compelling seeds for the creators to explore (great news: this book had been granted ongoing status, now likely to run for at least 20 issues). Anyway, we start here with protagonist Billy having his longest conversation yet with The Creator, a robot who appears only to him and is also basically God to the vast majority of the galaxy.

Wasted Space #4, much like preceding issues, doesn’t spoon feed its audience easy answers. Instead, it keeps marching forward, putting characters in deeper jeopardy and revealing info only as it applies to that. What does, however, become clearer in this fourth installment is that Wasted Space likely aspires to be a pretty direct (although not heavy handed) allegory for our current times, one that challenges readers with difficult questions.

There are plenty of interesting questions asked in brief, but the one I see at the heart of this thing is about repercussions. This is a theme hinted at in every issue, and so it’s no surprise it shows up again here, but what this book seems to want its readers to think about is not causes of systematic oppression or tumult, but rather what is the responsibility of individuals to respond to grave trouble, what is the just thing to do and how does one continue doing it after personal losses mount? It’s heady and compelling stuff, at times blurring the troubling line between staying comfortable and embracing outright nihilism.

Hayden Sherman, meanwhile, continues proving himself one of the most versatile sci-fi artists in comics, as capable of nailing scenes entirely reliant upon facial expressions as he is of rendering extreme violence or intricate spaceship interiors. He’s supported here by Jason Wordie’s vibrant colors, and by Jim Campbell’s letters, which do quite a bit, getting across long tracks of whispered conversation seamlessly. When a letterer is at their best, their work breezes by without notice, and that’s certainly the case with Campbell in this issue.

Overall: Wasted Space #4 is rich with both sporadic bursts of idea-heavy conversation as well as with space opera action, which is basically this series’ MO. For those as engaged with this comic as I am, this issue is yet another step forward in one of the most exciting sci-fi epics in comics today. 9.0/10

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Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.