Simon Roy is probably best known for co-writing and illustrating a decent chunk of the “Prophet” revival spearheaded by Brandon Graham. As his short-story collection “Jan’s Atomic Heart and Other Stories” showed, he’s a pretty capable talent when flying solo. “Habitat” offers further proof of this in its story of a spaceship whose crew has become feral and tribal several generations after they severed communications with the outside after an attack on the ship. The plot is put in motion once Cho, a cadet in Habsec, comes across a new card for the 3D printer his tribe has and winds up creating an energy weapon. After finding out just how powerful it is, Cho is forced to flee for his life to the rival Engineers and across the Habitat itself to see if things will remain as they are or if life on the ship can be changed for the better.
Roy respects his audience enough to trust that they’ll be able to follow the story he’s telling without the need to over-explain things. For a world as strange as the one that he has conjured up for this series, that can make parts of the narrative difficult to follow. However, close attention (and a re-read) will make one appreciate the effort Roy put into building this world. This approach also works because the general direction of the story is pretty familiar and doesn’t need special attention.
“Habitat” also has a distinctively lush look about it, perfectly reflecting the setting of a sci-fi world gone to seed. Metal structures sport visible signs of wear and are surrounded on all sides by greenery. Even some of the machines double as walking forests thanks to years of assumed botanical accumulation. The tribal nature of the world is also further emphasized by the locals who go around in either loincloths or ratty old uniforms and wield bows and arrows while using the powered armors still available to them. Roy probably could’ve done more with the ending which does end on an abrupt but hopeful note. Even so, it all adds up to an entertaining one-and-done volume