Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini’s bleak and beautiful underwater adventure continues in Low #4. Once again they dangle the carrot of happiness in front of our faces, only to snatch it away at the last possible moment.
Stel and Marik have finally reached the third city known as Poluma, a miracle in and of itself. However, the city is not a reprieve from their woes. The city had been over taken by pirate hordes. A city once said to be a paradise, a city of scholars filled with knowledge and beauty, is now decimated to a pit of savagery. Stel and Marik anticipate quickly passing through, but when a few key individuals are spotted they find themselves in a compromising situation.
Rick Remember crams a lot into these pages. He is crafting a dense book with deep characterizations you can really sink your teeth into. Low is a unique world with interesting stuff going on in every corner. The brave, heavy, heart that he writes for Stel is absolutely heartbreaking. She is surrounded in a world of darkness but she remains the one bright light of hope. We see her wrestling with doubt, shown through an inner dialogue with herself written absolutely beautifully by Remender in the first few pages. She questions bringing Marik into all this, but she quickly rejects that thinking. She is one of the strongest female characters currently being written in comics today. Her dynamic with Marik is played perfectly. Marik, the character more inline with typical Remender characters, is cynical, tired, broken, and mostly self-centered. Marik is good at heart but he’s drifted from off his path, and maybe he just needed his mom to give him a hand. Marik’s potential for growth is limitless and the fact that I’m pulling for him so much is one of the many reasons Remender is so good.
Low is 1 part Rick Remender, 2 parts Greg Tocchini. His design work is unrivaled. Poluma is so dense and rich with life, death, and debauchery. He has a style that rewards the reader the longer they stare at it, uncovering new details with each read through. One gladiator/coliseum sequence in Poluma includes a giant tank of water filled with sharks and a giant crab monster. As the helpless contestants fall into the tank, just wielding simple spears, they are instantly devoured. It’s a sequence perfectly realized by Tocchini that shows how messed up things are in Poluma.
Low is so rich with beauty, yet depressing as hell. I love every page of it.
The Verdict: 9.0/10