Written by Rick Remender
Art by Matteo Scalera and Dean White
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: January 29, 2014

BlackScience03-coverComic book readers have been in a frenzy over Image Comics’ newest series Black Science and justly so as writer Rick Remender has been crafting a story of wildly bizarre science fiction while artists Matteo Scalera and Dean White have been channeling pulp art from yesteryear and putting a fresh and unique style all their own on it. Black Science has a definitive edge that only a handful of current comic books could ever aspire to.

In this issue, we find our Anarchist League of Scientists in the thick of things as they’ve been catapulted to an unknown dimension after experiencing equipment failure with a device that is able to transport things into alternate dimensions called the Pillar. After a brief encounter with the natives –a screaming German and a tribe of technologically armored Native Americans — and enduring some injuries the team of scientists venture onward to salvage what they can in order to return home safely. Did I forget to mention that there are also giant robots running rampant?

The big metaphor for this issue is the onion. Rick Remender peels back the layers of an onion as we learn that there are many different layers to these characters and that there is more to what is going on than what we may have quickly assumed in the first two issues. In a flashback scene moments before the team are transported, scientist Grant describes to his son how multidimensional travel is likened to onion layers and that each layer is a dimension filled with possibilities. Consequently, writer Rick Remender is revealing the layers of his own characters and his own story. In issues #1 and #2, the series was moving at light speed — going from one action panel with narrative caption to another –barely getting a moment to digest the visceral imagery or gain a complete understanding of what’s occurring. For this issue, we peel back the layers of the onion as we gain more insight into the events that preceded their initial displacement into another dimension via The Pillar. Underneath these layers we begin to understand the motives behind each of these characters and begin to learn just what kind of person they really are. Infidelity, betrayal, sacrifice and nobility are just some of the traits that readers will observe in this issue. Remender effectively employs storytelling methods that slowly make us understand them and still capture your attention without any heavy exposition or soliloquies. On the surface, nothing is quite exactly as it seems.

Remender assertively puts his stamp onto this series by not only the bizarre science fiction that he does so well by making these characters incredibly flawed and modern. There are no golden age or silver age familiarities in this comic. Remender draws the line in the sand that this is not like the Fantastic Four or the Challengers of The Unknown –or even his previous work in Fear Agent. This is something entirely different and while it may evoke or pay homage to those properties and tropes, this series is above and beyond its own entity.

Artist Matteo Scalera sculpts a dynamic set of panels per page. His two page spreads convey the action so appropriately that your head moves with the kinetic energy in the panels. His style of characters shine with emotion, while his panel layouts are truly engaging to the reader. Dean White’s coloring lifts Scalera’s work off the page as he demonstrates his attention to lighting details that bring dimension to the pages. His use of warmer color tones of browns and greys create a sense of realism in a an openly outlandish science fiction story and grounds it to a level of visual acceptance with the reader.

This issue has only scratched the surface for what we can come to expect with Black Science. It’s clear that Remender, Scalera, and White are firing on all cylinders in capturing our interest –mentally and visually –that I can’t wait to see how much further this series can push the envelop of this genre. If readers have been on the fence with this series, this issue will cement what Black Science is going to be all about and hop on board now before you get left in another dimension.

The Verdict: 8.5/10


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