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Monday, February 17, 2014

Comic Review: Black Science (Issues 1-3)

Black Science (Issues 1-3)
Story By: Rick Remender
Art By: Matteo Scalera
Art By: Dean White
Cover By: Andrew Robinson
Image Comics
Join writer RICK REMENDER and the superstar art team of MATTEO SCALERA & DEAN WHITE for this face-melting science fiction epic spanning the lifetimes of a cast of dimensional castaways lead by the man who caused it all.

Published: November 27, 2013
Grant McKay, former member of The Anarchistic Order of Scientists, has finally done the impossible: He has deciphered Black Science and punched through the barriers of reality. But what lies beyond the veil is not epiphany, but chaos. Now Grant and his team are lost, living ghosts shipwrecked on an infinite ocean of alien worlds, barreling through the long-forgotten, ancient, and unimaginable dark realms. The only way is forward. The only question is how far are they willing to go, and how much can they endure, to get home again?

Issue #2
Published: December 18, 2013
Run-amok reality! Grant and his crew escape the madness of the lightning sea-swamp only to be flung into a futurepast trenchworld, where the Sons of the Wakan Tech-Tanka wage never-ending war on the savages of Europe! How did the Anarchist League of Scientists end up this deep in the onion? Who among them sabotaged the Pillar?

Issue #3
Published: January 29, 2014
Shell-shocked and battered, Grant McKay and his team are stranded on the front lines of the European savages' final standoff against the Sons of the Wakan Tech-Tanka. Will this inverse manifest destiny claim the life of a member of the Anarchist League of Scientists? Or will they be betrayed by one of their own?

One of the treasures of my childhood was Star Trek, the classic reruns airing on Saturday afternoons. I couldn't tell you when I first saw the adventures of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, but I can say that I was captivated from the get-go. Swashbuckling in space became one of my earliest genre loves. Black Science, the brainchild of Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera, taps into that childhood wonder and then some.
The series begins with a cannon-blast of action, immediately immersing me in an alien world, in mid-chase no less as a pair of scientists are pursued by sabre-toothed amphibians with spears and riding giant salamanders. It sets the stakes very early and basically tells readers that if this is not the kind of stuff that interests them, they need to go find another comic book. Me, I was hooked.

Grant McKay, a philandering husband and brilliant scientist, has led a small team of scientists into creating the Pillar, a machine that can transport them into alternate dimensions. Backed financially by an avarice corporation headed by Kadir, a man eager to exploit the spoils of what these new worlds have to offer, there's a lot at stake, but the initial test run goes awry. Grant, Kadir, the team, and even Grant's kids who were only at the lab to see their dad, are all whisked away to a terrifying and inhospitable world. Their escape, sadly, sends them via the Pillar into an even more dangerous and war-torn world.

The rising tensions among Grant and his team amplify what is otherwise an already captivating journey. Remender deftly portrays Grant simultaneously as a caring man and one ruled by his selfishness, both professionally and personally. Scalera meanwhile renders the characters and especially the landscapes with awe-inspiring fidelity. Each page feels electric, constantly pushing the story forward with taut action and gorgeously rendered visuals.

Imagine a TV show like Lost in Space or Quantum Leap, presented as a thriller on HBO or AMC and you might have an idea of what this comic book series is like.

After three issues, things have ramped up to the point where Grant's wife is killed, Grant is wounded, the team's captive threatens to lure his fellow soldiers to their location before they can make their escape, and even if they do manage to use the Pillar to escape, the machine is busted to the point they have no idea which universe they'll cross into next.

Gah, this series is like a hug drug for your inner child!

Remender and Scalera have me and many more roped in with this new offering through Image, and I see boundless opportunities to lure even more unsuspecting readers into their clutches as the series continues. Please. Let it continue.

4 1/2 stars

Gef Fox

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