Black Science would make for a great CW show, and I mean that as a compliment since I’m referring to Arrow era CW and not the Gossip Girl CW. This came to mind when I realized that despite its serial nature, many issues of Black Science seems like they're monster of the week stories only rather than a monster each week we get to see a new dimension about every three issues rendered with immaculate detail by Matteo Scalera and colored by Moreno Disino. On second thought then, perhaps it’s more early Smallville CW. Returning from a brief hiatus, Black Science #12 starts out with a flashback to Grant Prime’s time between his near death and reuniting with the rest of his team, The Anarchist League of Scientists. These four pages do a great job of condensing a lot of story and also displaying both Grant Prime’s ingenuity, while also making him vulnerable as he’s briefly put into servitude of the ghost-possessed monkeys. We get a brief glimpse of what may be the afterlife, an afterlife that seems to involve transforming into some cool reptile animal. From there, we jump to present events where Rebecca has killed another dimension’s Grant, and that Grant’s wife Sara is bloody furious. Eventually, Sara makes a break for it and Pia goes after her. They then find out along with the reader that this new dimension sports high-tech future Romans who have eliminated their dimension’s version of The Anarchist League, and are now flying around using flamethrowers to kill heretics. Grant finds out what his counterparts have been up to, and then it’s the end of the issue.
While the comic moves along at a quick pace, I recognize after reading this issue that very little actually happens. You could summarize this and every third issue by saying the team lands in a new dimension, someone departs from the team either by force or voluntarily due to some misunderstanding, and then part of the team goes after to retrieve them before the Pillar makes a jump to a new dimension and then three issues later the whole process starts again. In the back matter, writer Rick Remender states that the comic will soon experience a change in direction, and I think that’s a great move on his part. Even though we know the team’s motivation is to eventually make it back to their home dimension, it doesn’t feel like enough of a conflict to sustain the book in the long run anymore. There needs to be something more personal for each character, and we still haven’t gotten that.
With this arc, Remender also promised that we would get to see the conflict escalate now that the players are all on the board, and the basic premise has been hashed out. However, the focus on action and chase scenes makes it difficult to invest in these characters, which is strange considering Remender does this so well in his other action-oriented book Deadly Class. Whereas in that comic, the action functions as a visual representation of what the characters are experiencing on an emotional level, here the action seems to only force the characters into a new location in this case getting them from the Pillar’s landing site to a palace.
The only reason I keep coming back to this comic at this point is the artwork, and that doesn’t feel like sufficient enough motivation to stick with it much longer. Scalera does world building so well through his visuals that it feels like such a shame that we don’t get to linger in the worlds he creates for more than a few issues. He has a knack for creating uniquely designed architecture and costumes for each dimension without relying while Dinisio colors this world in browns and reds to reflect the violence of this dimension’s recent activities. Given Remender’s promise and his great track record, I feel I can give Black Science another issue before deciding whether to keep it on my read while during laundry list.
Black Science #12 Writer: Rick Remender Artist: Matteo Scalera Colorist: Moreno Diniso Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 3/4/15 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital