By Zack Quaintance — Wasted Space #6 is the start of this madcap sci-fi comic’s second arc. It’s been five months since the previous issue, and so I’d like to start a recap. Last we saw the Wasted Space crew—self-loathing former voice of God Billy Bane, future-seeing eyes of God Molly, Billy’s best friend the Fuq/Qil Bot Dusty, and Dusty’s rekindled lover The Fury Qil—Billy had just assassinated a galactic dictator, setting into motion the launch of nukes that might start a war that might end existence...and then a massively-powerful balance-bringing force called Legion showed up to tell him that to save the world he had to kill God.
That’s where we left off, that’s the status quo, and it’s a status quo that speaks to the many reasons I love this book (see my Top 10 Comics of 2018). As I’ve written, this is a story that has gotten better with each issue, forging a unique thematic aesthetic (something like Star Wars by way of David Foster Wallace) that enables it to make a point about God, political terrorism, and sex robots...all on a single page. I, for one, am ecstatic it’s back.
So then, let’s get to the big question: how does this issue compare to all that came before? Well, I can all but guarantee fans of the series will love its return. This issue, of course, pushes the book in a new direction. It basically had to. There was really no other way to do it, seeing as the first arc’s MacGuffin, Devolous Yam, was killed at the end of the fifth issue. The story needs a new object of pursuit, and, without tipping into spoiler territory here, it definitely gets it.
What’s familiar, however, are the book’s two greatest strengths: it’s humor and its ability to synthesize intense feelings stemming from today’s headlines into space opera adventure. The humor is there right from the start, when Legion (the aforementioned all-powerful balance-bringing force) accidentally Of Mice and Mens an innocent dog and realizes that it is indeed possible to love something so much you start to hurt it. The laughs keep coming as the plot progresses too, especially when the reunited Fuq/Qil bots give into their passions.
The commentary is back as well, and it’s as relatable as ever, feeling like writer Michael Moreci took it right from conversations I’ve had personally about America in 2019. Billy Bane (who is by no means a role model, so take his opinions for what they’re worth) has previously bemoaned his complacency in the order that is tearing the galaxy apart, poignantly saying things like, “With enough drugs I could live with the idea that I only kinda sorta played a role in the galaxy’s downturn….because I was scared, because it was easier to downplay my role in the galaxy’s oppression rather than try to make it better and fail.” Or, “If I believed things could change, well, that would put me on the hook to actually do something.”
In Wasted Space #6, Bane criticizes a devious member of the elite class for virtue signaling in order to craft a progressive image that obscures the true nature of what he does to maintain wealth and power, a list that includes supporting violent radicals in order to create chaos that inspires the masses to fall back in line. “But as long as the plebs keep bickering amongst themselves, the tyranny of wealth pretty much goes unnoticed,” this character says. I gave a solemn nod of heavy agreement after reading this line, and it’s really just one example of poignant writing. As has been the case throughout its run, Wasted Space is dense with complex sentiment, yet never at the cost of its story.
Overall: The best space opera in comics is back, bringing the same high level of humor and commentary with it as its cast of characters embark on a new quest. This is one of my favorite series in all of comics, and I’m happy to say it’s as great as ever. 9.5/10
Wasted Space #6
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Colorist: Jason Wordie
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Vault Comics
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Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.