Low #13 Writer: Rick Remender Pencils: Greg Tocchini Colors: Dave McCaig Letters: Rus Wooton Publisher: Image
After a detour issue to check-in with Stel and see what she discovers on her journey to the surface in search for the one probe of hope, Remender brings us back to the journey of Della and Tajo in search for their mother along with their sister-in-law, Lena.
The comic opens up with a conversation between Tajo and Lena while Della is piloting the submarine to the surface. Tajo reveals that while their family was together she always struggled with the thought of not being good enough in her parents eyes. Lena then questions and expresses concern of Della’s harsh actions and troubled passed given the city where she grew up in. Where the very ideas and suggestions of hope were outlawed and punished with public executions on the spot.
After being interrupted by Della to show the others what she has discovered we get a very disheartening scene involving Tajo’s past sins. Given that the helm suit that was stolen along with the Caine sisters can only be used with their DNA, she was seduced to commit atrocious acts with it at her pirate master, Roln’s request. Tajo then locks herself away in a room and we get an in-depth insight into her emotional struggles. Conflicting between whether what she did was the enforcing justice or the morally wrong approach. Whether she was programed and conditioned to think that way or if thats what’s truly noble and righteous.
It’s strong character moments like these that writer Rick Remender excels at. Expertly fleshing out and delving into the psychology of a characters inner-thoughts, understanding that it’s moments like these that can really grab a readers investment.
The reveal of a characters true identity and intentions feels right, true to the lure of Low, and creates a common enemy for two characters with an already shaky alliance to unite. It also just makes sense that characters like this are in an endless supply given the circumstances of the planet and environment they’re are brought up in. However it feels rushed as the character was only introduced 2 issues ago and wasn’t present in the previous one. They needed more time to develop and time to interact with the other characters to gain both theirs and the readers trust. Fortunately what is revealed is a strong motivation and keeps the tension ever so present throughout this issue.
One of the most consistent highlights in Rick Remender’s Low, aside from the themes of hope and its place within society, is the artwork by Greg Tocchini. Every issue up to now has looked beyond glorious but this one is unfortunately a let down due to its inconsistency. There are some panels that are visually stunning, however there are others that appear rather lackluster, particularly towards the second half. Almost as if Tocchini was behind on schedule. Forcing him to rush the final line work in order to hand in the work on time to colorist Dave McCaig. It’s really disappointing because it’s something I’ve come to look forward to every time this comic is released. Again though, there are some great visuals here and theres an absolutely mesmerizing splash page when Tajo’s past sins are revealed to Della.
Low #13 is a solid comic book, however a disappointment given the high standards that readers have come to expect from the series. There are some strong character moments and Remender does some great analysis of Tajo’s inner-psyche. The reveal of a certain characters true identity, while feeling right is rather rushed and can be seen coming a mile away. What’s even more unfortunate is the artwork. The gorgeous images of the first half only make the later all the more disappointing. Once again I’ll theorize that Tocchini was behind on schedule and rushed the second half in order to hand in the line work on time.
Score: 3.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach