Schizophrenic, mind-boggling, eye-popping, sci-fi madness, this is what I think of Rick Remender’s dimension jumping adventure comic Black Science. If you’ve never read a single issue here’s what you need to know: infinite alternate dimensions of Earth, a broken device that forces a team of scientists into a new dimension every few hours, and a heartfelt story about family and finding meaning in life. If those things sound good to you, especially combined then you should be reading this. Remender has a knack for combining super fast-paced adventure with great characters and heartbreaking/heartwarming story. Black Science is no different. A few issues into its second arc we find the dimensionauts scattered across the “onion”, after a climactic struggle in issue 16. The pillar was broken, and now Grant must find his way back to each one of his crew in order to once again save his children and bring them all back to their own dimension in one piece. This arc loses some of its frantic pace and slows down, allowing Remender to finally dig into Grant’s story. Grant himself is lost in a dreamlike state, where he meets his brother, who in a ghost-of-christmas-past type way shows him scenes from his past in order to free him from his present. Ultimately, Grant comes to terms with who he is, and realizes that he doesn’t want to end up like his parents. He is able to shake off his haze and break free of the trance that he has been in for three years. Once again setting off on a new adventure in search of his missing kids.
This arc is a slow burn, but not every issue can be an action-packed one. Remender’s writing abilities shine here, and we are taken not to a new alien-filled dimension, but one just as strange: Grant’s psyche. Issue 19 becomes a deep look into Grant’s personal life, specifically his childhood. It’s a great opportunity to take a look at this comic as a whole, and see how multi-faceted Remender is as a writer. Hell, this comic could just be about Grant McKay’s life in the 1970s and it would still be a great, albeit tragic, read. Personally though I loved jumping back into the weird sci-fi setting that Remender and Scalera have created at the end of the issue, knowing that we were getting back on track with the coming issues. It takes guts to slow down the pacing of a comic in order to really dig deep and develop the characters, it’s risky and could mean losing readers who don’t necessarily care as much about who these people really are. Ultimately it makes for a much more satisfying read, developing attachments to the characters that we’ve come to know for almost twenty issues. Remender knows how to build up a great story, let’s hope when it picks back up after this arc that it will be even crazier than it was before.
Black Science #19 Writer: Rick Remender Artist: Matteo Scalera Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 1/6/16 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital