Wasted Space #5 Is How You Build A Sci-Fi Epic

by James Ferguson

How can things get worse for Billy Bane? You’d be surprised at how much this guy can screw up. The former voice of the Creator was already on the run but now he’s in the space fortress of the galactic leader, Devolous Yam trying to put a bullet in the guy’s head. That sounds like a great idea. Nothing bad could possibly happen, right?

One of the aspects of Wasted Space that I absolutely love is the beat-up and scrappy aspect to the story and the characters. This is not a bright, brilliant utopia. Humanity reached for the stars and fell a little short, settling for the same kind of vices we have now, just with some fancier technology and some more unique locales.

This most definitely applies to Billy. He’s a flawed hero and now that I think about it, the term “hero” is probably a stretch too. He’s on this rough path of redemption that went through so many bottles and bodies. Here he’s faced with an opportunity to right a wrong that left him ostracized and killed his lover. He’s put so much hope in this one task. If he can just stop Yam, everything will be OK, but it’s not that simple. There are so many extenuating circumstances that he’s too stubborn to see.

Hayden Sherman’s artwork is perfect for this tone. It’s full of rough edges and uneven corners which is a great way to sum up Billy’s life. Sherman conveys a range of emotions in his characters, bouncing from the humorous to the deadly serious and everything in between. Most of those are in Billy too as he reluctantly puts himself in the center of the action again. He’s like Han Solo mixed with John McClane.

The designs for Yam and his soldiers are a nice mix of sci-fi tropes. They’re part Stormtrooper, part Fifth Element aliens. Yam is especially creepy and made even more so by how little we know and see of him. He’s this scourge of the galaxy, but he’s felt more than he’s seen. When he does appear, it’s this twisted visage of spikes and anger. Colorist Jason Wordie gives Yam a very ominous look with dark reds and purples.

Wordie is the MVP for Wasted Space #5 for a very pivotal panel. It’s a powerful image that is amplified by the violent red that surrounds the characters. It makes the action feel so much more impactful. Jim Campbell’s letters are the perfect final touch with a quiet two-word sentence that speaks volumes. If this was a movie, the soundtrack would have built up to a crescendo only to drop out completely for this moment.

Perhaps the best part about Wasted Space #5 is that this is just the beginning. This may wrap up the first arc, but writer Michael Moreci is far from finished. The status quo is greatly changed by the end of this chapter and it opens up a whole new can of worms for Billy. It was tough enough for him to get to this point so I can’t imagine how he’ll get out of this new set of problems he’s created for himself.

Wasted Space is a stunning sci-fi adventure filled with intriguing looks at religion and philosophy. These aren’t bashed over your head like a heavy-handed message. Instead, they’re weaved into a compelling character study that you can’t look away from. This is how you build a star-spanning epic.

Wasted Space #5 from Vault Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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