Written by Rick Remender
Illustrated by Greg Tocchini
Letters by Rus Wooton
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: 10/29/2014
Low is a series I want to like more than I do. Hats off to Rick Remender for creating an interesting world and to Greg Tocchini for his unique art style. However, like any new series, I feel there’s room for improvement in terms of storytelling and illustration.
Let’s start with what works. From a writing perspective, Low #4 does a solid job of moving the story forward. As a series, it’s progressing well pace-wise. I particularly like the use of time-shifting ahead from issue #1 to #2, and that’s it’s not jarring for the reader. Issue #4 itself is an indicator the series won’t drag itself out as Stel Caine and her son Marik venture to find her daughters.
Stel is a great, strong female character, who maintains her hope for the future despite the deterioration of the society she lives in, the death of her husband and the loss of two children. Her tenacity is what makes the series worth following. Marik, on the other hand, is less likeable. He’s lost hope and full of bitterness. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it provides contrast between mother and son. And while the title of the series is Low, which can be taken literally and symbolically, it’s also meant to be about hope.
Dialogue is used sparsely here, which works well, especially given the profanity. It’s not that it’s offensive, it’s just overused, as is the sex throughout the series. Obviously the world Remender has created is one that it’s in a state of decay, but sometimes it feels like the reader is being hit over the head with it through the sex, language and violence.
Art-wise, Tocchini has a unique and refreshing style that really lends itself to the creation of an immersive world for the story Rememder is telling. When things need to be beautiful, they are, and when they need to be harsh, they are, and the varied use of panels helps create a sweeping saga that is ultimately Stel Caine’s journey. It would be nice if the characters were more distinctly drawn – aside from Stel, they are all drawn rather similarly, and on a writing front, few are fleshed out all that well besides our heroine and her son. Perhaps this will change as the story plays out – there needs to be more layers overall.
What Low #4 accomplishes best is promising a lot of potential stories yet to come in a manner that’s not divided into your typical superhero comic four or five-part installments, and delivers a fantastic twist at the end that will have readers picking up issue #5.