Michael Moreci and Hayden Sherman’s Wasted Space #2 brings more of its central protagonists’ backstories into focus, putting the duo at a bar, getting them drunk, and having them share tales of mutual prescience. One of these characters—Billy Bane—acts as a stand-in for the audience, voicing a question inherent to the first issue, namely how legit are the future-predicting/God-seeing powers that are in play here? He then posits that his abilities may be a product of his own insanity.
As a result, I’m not sure whether we learn if Billy’s powers are legit, not just yet, but I think the structural choice is a solid one for this second issue, one that lets readers know Moreci is aware of what they’re wondering and also that they can trust him to deliver a satisfying payoff eventually. So, I’m very much with all of that. Another choice I enjoyed in this issue was Moreci continuing to pose capital B Big, sweeping questions about humanity, specifically asking whether the species is doomed to forever war and jockey for position because that’s what it took to get us to the top of the evolutionary chain.
Without giving anything specific away, one of the plot developments here also seems to make a statement about political extremism, specifically about the merits of having a predictable and intact system versus moving toward anarchy by forcing norms and structure to die and crumble. It’s the best kind of surprise twist, at once thrilling and meaningful.
And this is all heady stuff, especially considering the thematic and philosophical weight introduced in the first book, which basically opened with a drug dealer arguing that the Greek mythological figure of Sisyphus—fated to forever push a boulder up a hill that just rolled back down again later—actually had a great life free of confusing distractions and filled with focus. Oh, and the first issue also took a David Foster Wallace-esque stance on escapism, painting it as the author did in his opus Infinite Jest as at once incredibly dangerous but also possibly mankind’s natural and necessary state.
There are a lot of massive ideas here, so many that this story falls a bit into a common trap of second issues, lacking action in parts as it dispenses exposition left out of the previous issue. Sherman and Wordie’s art, however, makes the flashbacks and contemplations visually engaging, so much so that Sherman again furthers his case as one of the premiere sci-fi artists in all of comics (shout out to his other ongoing book, Cold War), both in terms of his technology and cityscapes.
Overall: This issue sought to meet a huge bar set by its predecessor, which as I wrote in my Wasted Space #1 review did an incredible job balancing action and ideas. The second issue falls just short of the first, but it’s still fantastic, doing the difficult yet necessary work of familiarizing us with our leads. I will for sure get wasted again next month. 8.5/10
Zack Quaintance is a career journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.