REVIEW: LOW #4

Low #4
Story: Rick Remender
Art: Greg Tocchini
Letters: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: October 29, 2014

As the issues pile up, Low seems to be opening up new doorways into complexity. Last issue we finally saw Stel and Marik leave the relative safety of Salus in search of what is most likely humanity’s last hope of species survival; a space probe, recently returned and crashed on the Earth’s surface. A surface that was abandoned for the seas generations ago.

Certainly now more than in any other issue, the book is developing the feel of Philip K. Dick’s “Penultimate Truth”, in that much of what the inhabitants of Salus (including Stel and Marik) have taken for granted as the “true” nature of their situation may not be so cut and dry.

While that approach to storytelling isn’t anything new, Low still manages to employ the formula well. In previous issues the hints that a world beyond Salus exists have been sparse and little more than hearsay between characters. Now that we’ve finally reached Poluma, it is as debased and depraved as one might think a city on the far end of the apocalypse would be. And it is great.

Poluma is the Hong Kong to Salus’ mainland China, to use an economic metaphor. Formal regulations are few and the city survives on an unwritten code of conduct between outlaws. In order to maintain control, the city’s cyborg ruler Roln has outlawed literacy and instituted a thunderdome approach to government. Things take a turn for the weird as Stel and Marik stumble upon gladiator games between genetic-crossbreeds (part-human/part-fish types), but quickly shift back to more stable, albeit disturbing, familial conflicts.

Tocchini’s art continues to be a major selling point, as usual. As the story adds layers, I expect that same artwork will become more and more central to the plot. This is, above all else, a comic book, so that probably isn’t a bad thing. I’m eager to see how the continued conflict between Marik and Stel’s personalities develop and are ultimately resolved as well as the new tensions with Tajo and  Roln.

Things are definitely looking up, no pun intended, for Low.

By: Adam Cadmon

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4/5 Stars

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