Wednesday, March 13, 2019

FYC: Black Science vol. 1, by Rick Remender & Matteo Scalera

I used to write an online column, For Your Consideration, in which I recommended a comic series or standalone story and included a short Q&A with the creator(s).  It ran for a bit over a year and was a blast.  I thought, since I'm back to writing regularly here, that I might also include recommendations of comics I'm reading, whether current or not.  I don't have the cachet to pull in creators for quick interviews, but I can still offer some suggestions of what books might be worth your time. And here's one I've been meaning to read but hadn't gotten around to, until recently:  BLACK SCIENCE.

I read the first volume of this science fiction comic series, from Image Comics, and it was pretty great.  An obsessed scientist, Grant McKay, has discovered how to successfully traverse parallel dimensions in the Eververse, but the machinery is immediately damaged, continuing to regularly jump those within the proper vicinity to other dimensions but without the ability to navigate where it takes them.  Through the course of these first six issues, the group, which includes a bodyguard, assistants, the antagonistic head of the project, and McKay's two children--one a pre-teen and one in high school--jump from one harrowing experience to another, with a few of their numbers meeting a fatal end.

I was impressed with how quickly the story moved along, and how ruthless Remender was about his characters.  He is more than willing to kill a character to throw up more dramatic roadblocks to the protagonist's desire to get home.  It makes for good drama and engages a reader, spurring me to ask, how the hell is he going to get them out of this fix?

The art from Scalera is a wonderful complement to the story Remender is telling.  Similar in style to Sean Murphy, Scalera's ever so slightly loose linework overlaying a photorealistic approach provides an appealing base that is infused with a franticness, mirroring the narrative.  Also on display are Scalera's design chops:  asked to create strange alien creatures for some of the parallel dimensions, while "dressing" others in distinctly "futuristic" costuming, when the denizens of a dimension closely resemble the humanity we are all familiar with.  And all of these creatures and settings are brought to wonderful, chromatic life by colorist, Dean White.  His color palette for this series is sharply distinct and makes the images pop, when needed, or become somber and disturbing when the story calls for it.

Overall, this is an exciting series, and I can't wait to read more.  Check it out!


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