ROCHE LIMIT Returns To 'Existential Sci-Fi Noir' With CLANDESTINY

'Roche Limit: Clandestiny #1' preview
Credit: Image Comics
Credit: Image Comics

Sequels normally take place in the future -- but the science-fiction mystery comic Roche Limit is pushing it into the far future.

Roche Limit takes a new turn with a new cast in the second volume, Roche Limit: Clandestiny. Picking up decades after the original miniseries, the middle segment of the planned trilogy sees a new visit to the titular colony…and new, dark secrets revealed.

With the new volume set to debut May 6, Newsarama talked to writer/creator Michael Moreci about what readers can expect.

Newsarama: Michael, for those who didn't pick up the first volume -- tell us about Roche Limit.

Michael Moreci: Of course! Roche Limit centers on a colony build on a semi-habitable planet on the outskirts of our solar system. It was funded by Langford Skaargard, adventurer and eccentric billionaire who saw the colony as a waypoint for humanity's next giants step into space exploration.

Instead, the colony descends into a mirror or Earth, with the rampant crime, social disparity, etc. 

The story centers around a cadre of characters from the colony who are all searching for a missing girl, but for different reasons. It's existential sci-fi noir, channeling Stanley Kubrick, Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick, and other greats of the sci-fi genre.

Credit: Image Comics

While the plot centers on this mission to find the girl—with some twists along the way—the combustion for the story is examining who we are as humans, why we fail, and where those paths take us. Also, there's an energy anomaly hovering over the planet, making weird, weird things occur.

The first trade is available from Image Comics right now, 144 pages for only $9.99. If you're interested in critically-acclaimed sci-fi, I'm going to venture to guess that you'll enjoy Roche Limit.

Nrama: Where do things pick up in this volume?

Moreci: We're 75 years later, which I thought was a comfortable date for the events in volume one—It's worth noting, by the way, that this is a trilogy, so three volumes total—to be out of public consciousness, and the entire Roche Limit experiment can be forgotten. That gave me flexibility to wipe the slate clean and tell the story I have clear as day in my mind. 

Nrama: Why did you decide to do this as a a second volume, as opposed to just a new storyline?

Moreci: This goes back to the trilogy thing--I honestly have a very clear vision of the Roche Limit story is, start to finish.

I've always contended that this book is the book I was born to write, and because of that, I'm not messing around. I'm doing it the right way, and when it's over, it's over. 

Credit: Image Comics

Nrama: Everyone's new this time around -- tell us who some of these characters are, and why you shuffled things this way.

Moreci: The driving force behind the trilogy setup was to really dig into these existential themes that the book is wrestling with and hold them up to the light for clearer viewing.

When you're holding something to the light, though, the slightest adjustment can give you an entirely new perspective. That's what we're doing here, adjusting the perspective so that we can really do this story justice. If I kept it going with the same characters and all that, we'd keep telling the same story, which I didn't want to do. The theme is more salient than characters, maybe even plot.

That aside, we have a pretty great new cast of characters. The setup is that it's 75 years later, and a team of military personnel and scientists are on a mission to the Roche Limit colony to explore its properties. The military and the science team each have some unique people, such as Sasha and Elbus, the science and military leaders, respectively.

Every character brings a unique piece of themselves to the colony, and we see what that means once on the ground. Let's just say it isn't good and will effect each of their ideas of what reality truly is...

Nrama: Given that you're shifting styles a bit – story, art – in this volume, do you see the third volume undergoing further shifts, and if so (without spoilers) what are some of the biggest ideas and themes you're most interested in exploring?

Credit: Image Comics

Moreci: For sure— volume three will be an even bigger jump in time, and what I have in mind really ties things together on a bunch of levels. If there was any confusion as to what the overarching plot is about after volume two, here will be a lot of clarity in volume three.

 There's an overarching story going on in all three volumes, and it will really come to the fore in volume three in an exciting way. We'll continue to deal with similar themes, of the soul, human existence, and reality.

And when I say “reality,” I don't mean in a Matrix way; I mean the idea that we all live our own realities – for example, people who believe gay marriage is an abomination and those who don't are living in very different worlds –  is really important, especially in that third volume. 

As for art, I'm not sure. It depends on interest and availability from both Kyle and Vic.  

Nrama: And what's been the most interesting part of collaborating with the art team on creating this world, and these shifts in tone and style?

Moreci: I've been thrilled to see Kyle Charles and Matt Battaglia make this world their own, especially coming off the great, and very specific, style that volume one established. I can't imagine a better execution of this story than in their hands.

Credit: Image Comics

Kyle and Matt have done so well to tell the story in an artful, beautiful way, but also convey the sense that it all feels like a dream, like what's happening may or may not be real. 

Nrama: If readers haven't checked out  the first volume, is this accessible to them? And what would you say to encourage them to pick up both volumes?

Moreci: I think volume one proved that we're very much a book that stands apart on the shelves—Roche Limit is a cerebral sci-fi book that has received reviews on the level of Bitch Planet, The Wicked +  The Divine, and other hit Image titles. And I think, being less "name" creators, we've had to fight harder for that acclaim and spotlight, which goes to show the quality of the book.

Credit: Image Comics

That said, I think readers are looking at a safe bet—it's certainly a book I'm proud of. 

But if you don't try out the first volume and want to dive in with Roche Limit: Clandestiny #1, you can easily do so. Reading volume one enhances the experience, without a doubt, but this new volume is designed to be new-reader friendly. 

Nrama: What's next for you?

Moreci: Right now I've got the back half of Burning Fields (BOOM!) and continuing on with Hoax Hunters (Heavy Metal).

In June, I launch a book called Transference (Black Mask), which I couldn't be more excited about. I've been working to get that off the ground for four years now, and I'm happy to see it coming together. It's a sci-fi spy book with art from Ron Salas that, I think, people are going to really enjoy.

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