By Zack Quaintance — As I mentioned last month in my review of Wasted Space #7, this book being officially turned into an ongoing series by publisher Vault Comics has enabled its creators to do deeper character work, doubling down on this comic’s trademark humor and high-minded pathos. What it has also allowed them to do is slow the pace just a bit, opening things up for what gamers might call side quests, which is exactly what we get in Wasted Space #8.
I’ll go into the structure of this issue in a moment, but I first want to note that overall, this is easily the best issue of this comic to date. Wasted Space #8 sees the entire creative team—writer Michael Moreci, artist Hayden Sherman, colorist Jason Wordie, and letterer Jim Campbell—at the top of their crafts. The sometimes-tricky business of exposition and world-building have essentially now been completed. As such, the creators are able to lean into the character relationships and bonds. The results are fantastic.
Structurally, this story is split into two distinct plots. We open with the crew taking a break from its ongoing quest—to “get to Phobox and kill the shit out of as many rich a-holes” as they can—to visit the lawless and rainy black market planet Gorgeron. On Gorgeron, Billy and Dust are off in search of a new arm for the latter, while Molly and Rex remain aboard the ship having a deep conversation about their now-deceased father that touches on the very natures of their mutually bizarre childhoods.
It’s a simple and polished plot structure, one that’s only possible for a story as fully-realized as this one, and Moreci’s script absolutely crushes it. There’s also a lot to be said for the versatile alchemy that Moreci and the team of Sherman/Wordie have developed. It’s evident throughout, but perhaps never moreso than during the humor beats. We get a great gag early on that blends cheeky scripting with hilarious visuals, when an enterprising merchant opens a coat to try to sell our heroes body parts other than the one they came for...and Dust tosses him over his shoulder. I chuckled pretty hard to myself over that and am smiling now as I write this. This book just works.
The real heft of this issue, however, has to do (as usual) with the big questions and philosophy. This plotting, as clean and efficient as it is, is more than partially fueled by the pre-existing strong relationships built between characters. The conversations in this story have such a great feeling of consequence, bet it steady Molly working to make more sense of her brother and origin and upbringing, or Billy again facing off with questions about ethics and religion before getting a chance to come to terms with the motives for his actions at the end of the first arc. I don’t want to spoil the form all of this takes, but I will say that Moreci includes a callback to one of my favorite conversations from an earlier issue...and I loved it. I enjoyed this entire issue quite a bit, start to finish, but this is basically standard at this point for Wasted Space.
Overall: Wasted Space #8 is the best issue yet of comics’ premiere space opera. Everything from the plotting to the character dynamics to the imaginative art functions in perfect harmony to entertain and serve our story. Wasted Space is, quite simply, a top 5 comic right now. 9.8/10
Wasted Space #8
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Colorist: Jason Wordie
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Vault Comics
For more comic book reviews, check out our review archives.
Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.