Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review - Black Science #1


"It wasn't until I'd med everyone else's measure of success that I realized I'd failed myself."

Dabbling in things beyond the comprehension of humanity never ends well. Sure, it can expose the dabbler to some truly fascinating new worlds and beings, but it also often leads to running for your life. A lot. All in the name of science! That's the mantra Grant McKay used to believe in Black Science #1 from Image Comics. The first issue is written by Rick Remender and illustrated by Matteo Scalera and Dean White.

As a former member of The Anarchistic Order of Scientists, Grant McKay has delved into his fair share of chaos. Nothing matches his latest endeavor though as he's deciphered Black Science and punched through the barriers of reality. It's cost him the stability of his family and generally has him constantly on the run as he pieces together the full magnitude of the events he's witness to. Not to mention the fact that he and his team are lost, leaving it up to them to decide how far they're willing to go in order to get home.

Remender has decided to simply drop the reader right into the middle of the madness, which really works exceptionally well. Grant is on the run from all manner of alien lifeforms and the frenetic pace of the story has the reader figuratively running right alongside them. At the heart of the tale though is much more than just alien exploration. Remender relies on Grant's inner monologue to display a man at odds with his own decision making, as a scientist, husband and father. Grant is forced to reconcile the three roles as best he can and the fact that he realizes the expense of one at the cost of another has introduced the reader to a deeply flawed character. It's a fascinating dynamic that Remender offers to the reader, with the expectation that the reader be patient to fill in the gaps in story.

Scalera and White's art is very eerie in a way and reminiscent of the Creepy comics from the 1960s. The work has a tone to it that is raw yet organic. It has that certain monstrous sensibility to it, in that the two primary aliens that Grant encounters are sufficiently terrifying in their brute savagery. Panel layout is very organic as well, with the bulk of the panels detached from on another. There are some overlays and insets as well, all of which helps to present the extremely fast-moving tale. Characters are depicted with the appropriate level of fear that comes with traipsing about an alien planet, while the non-human creatures are illustrated with great detail and attention to their animalistic influences.

Black Science #1 is about so much more than just, well, black science. It's about one man's realization that his life's work has cost him more than he was willing to sacrifice, only the realization came in retrospect. The issue expects the reader to sprint along with the story, not affording any chance to catch your breath. After reading and digesting it though, you quickly come to recognize that there's something pretty beautiful deep down. Grant is a character with a slew of issues, but he seems to want to atone for some of his self-perceived sins and transgressions. It's expected that subsequent issues will continue to illuminate the plight of Grant and his team, so do yourself a favor and start with the first issue for some fun and insightful sci-fi adventure.

Black Science #1 is in stores now with interiors below.






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