REVIEW: Wasted Space #5 by Michael Moreci, Hayden Sherman, Jason Wordie, & Jim Campbell

Wasted Space #5 is out 9/12.

By Zack Quaintance — Through four issues, Wasted Space has done a tremendous amount of world-building, character development, tone-setting, and plot setup. This is a book built on a foundation of Star Wars-esque high action space heroics. Said space heroics, however, are also laced with high ideas about religion, chemical escapism, terrorism, and the merits of political stances ranging from complacent apathy to total anarchy. It’s a lot, to be sure, and a less confident set of creators might buckle under its weight.

Not this team. Wasted Space #5 is the conclusion of this comics’ first arc, and it’s also this book’s most entertaining issue to date, paying off so much of the dense track that has been laid while having an absolute blast doing it. That’s not to say this book is irreverent or escapist. No, far from it. The complex and increasingly-relevant battle of one man’s desire to be loved and happy versus his responsibility to combat societal injustice and oppression at great cost to himself continues to rage. Indeed, there are choices made here as dramatic as all get out, yet still executed in a way that mercilessly tickles the brain, be it via machine gun quips, kinetic page-busting linework between panels, or a plot that feels equal parts inevitable and surprising.

What is perhaps most impressive about Wasted Space is the way that Moreci and Sherman have built a tone that gives them so much freedom to tell their story. In this issue, there is a scene wherein two blue robots designed to have sex and murder have a soap opera exchange about why one left the other at the altar. In this very same comic, there’s a three panel set of close-cropped shots of teary characters faces, one of which belongs to a possibly-hallucinated robotic god. None of this feels at odds or out of place. It speaks to the confident imagination and high craft of the storytellers that all of this is now possible and coherent within the space of a single issue.

On top of the big ideas and high adventure, Wasted Space is a sharply hilarious comic.

I see nothing but a bright future for this book. It’s already come such a long way since we reviewed its first issue way back in April, regularly popping in features written by national pop culture outlets about comics that are not to be missed (welcome to the party folks, btw). Its publisher, the very cool and very smart Vault Comics, has also wisely made Wasted Space an ongoing comic. Simply put, Wasted Space is a comic that reads like Star Wars by way of 2018, determined to honor the tradition of the space opera

Overall: Simply put, Wasted Space is a comic that reads like Star Wars by way of 2018, determined to honor the hijinx and high adventure of the space opera while fearlessly exploring the central conflict of our times: where should one’s desire for comfort end and their obligation to combat oppression begin? 9.5/10

For reviews of Wasted Space #1 - #4, plus many other titles, check out our review archives.

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