Dual Review: Black Science #4

In this dual review two writers (in this case James and Steve) will take a look at the issue and give a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass. Before we begin here’s what the issue is about from Image Comics: Grant McKay and his team of Dimensionauts are given a short reprieve when the Pillar drops them not into a hellish warzone or an alien swampland but a…hotel? Just don’t trust the room service; there’s more to this place than meets the eye.

James: BUY

Okay, so I gave Issue #3 a "Borrow" after two months of "Buys". I enjoyed the first two issues, but things seemed to begin to stall downward on issue #3. It was ok, but not awesome. I am now beginning to realize that #3 was starting something that was brought to the surface by #4. That something was character development.

Rick Remender has kicked it up a notch and he has added some chill time to go with the breakneck action that has been associated with the first three issues, we actually can collect our thoughts and begin to get a real feel for the characters now. They aren't just fodder for the slaughter as has been demonstrated throughout, but they are actually living breathing people who have some backstory that eventually, it would seem, are to become front stories in the future. I think that I enjoyed this issue as good as any that I have read in the series so far. There is starting to become a method behind the action, action, action, flow that has associated itself boldly throughout.

Don't get me wrong. The action is still there. This Issue starts as the dimension leaping Pillar is about to open as head honcho Grant of the Anarchists League of Scientists is about to bleed out while a battle rages. An attempt to bring a shaman from a group of technologically advanced Indians is being made by the crew as a bombardment of many explosives is occurring all around by a group of German World War I styled soldiers who are fighting the techie Indians. Yeah, it's bizarre, but this one actually worked in a way that had the smash-up action, but it also had some down time to allow you a catch of the breath. This catch allows you begin to study the characters a little more closely, understanding who they are and why they feel and act the way they do.

Matteo Scalera's artwork is super and I think I actually am beginning to see the script of Remender catching up to the art. We are beginning to have a story develop that has pulled me back in, where I was beginning to be drawn away. I am back in camp though after Issue #4. And I am hopeful that this is just the turn needed to put this storyline into the realms of excellence.


Steve: BUY

Rick Remender is proving to be a master of at very least one thing: mind games. I’m a big fan of his work on the regular, but just like another of his books this week, which has jumped between eliciting praise and disappointment from me, his Image series Black Science has been hit or miss. I am happy to report, however, that issue four is a definite hit.

The first half of this book, which sees an inter-dimensionally-challenged group of family and friends trying to escape an imperialistic army of high-tech Native Americans, is all action, with security chief Ward taking both narrator and lead badass roles. And hot damn is it exciting!

I mean, part of the dialogue here sees Ward gruffly demanding that someone “Grab that laser hatchet” before facing down a platoon of Natives by himself ... so you can probably see why I immediately thought this was pretty excellent. At the same time, Remender does an equally excellent job playing more subtly with the dynamics he has set up in this team at almost every level, and is suitably jostling them to the point of palpable trauma.

The rest of the issue sees a pretty important (and beautifully earned) death, a defining and cowardly moment of treason and finally a break in all the running ... though for how long, we can’t be certain. Because of all this, and thanks to the as-ever gorgeous art of Matteo Scalera, which here benefits from the same ferocious, blood-mottled pacing of the writing, I am honestly looking forward to continuing this series again.

Score: Buy-Buy

Writer: Rick Remender Artist: Matteo Scalera Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 2/26/14