Black Science, Volume 1 by Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera (Review)

On its surface, Black Science feels like an homage to classic and pulp sci-fi.
Black Science Volume 1

What if you had proof there were other realities out there and had the ability to travel to any of them? If you’re anarchist scientist Grant McKay, then you see it as the cure for all of Earth’s ills. Unfortunately, McKay’s obsession with interdimensional travel has destroyed his marriage and his family — and he’ll have to travel through countless realities to save his wife and kids from fates worse than death, while also preventing the potential collapse of all of reality.

That’s the basic crux of Black Science, an ongoing comic series by writer Rick Remender and artist Matteo Scalera. On its surface, Black Science feels like an homage to classic and pulp sci-fi, from the various terms bandied about (McKay’s team calls themselves “dimensionauts”) to the bizarre settings and aliens races (e.g., a nihilistic amphibian death cult, space gorillas possessed by energy ghosts, mech-driving Native Americans) to Scalera’s brilliant, florid artwork.

But at its core is one deeply selfish and broken man’s attempt to redeem himself and put things right with his family. This is both the series’ greatest strength and weakness. On the one hand, McKay’s slow realization of how his dalliances with forbidden science have ruined everything he loved is affecting. On the other hand, you occasionally wish there’d be less melodrama and more focus on the pulp-y sci-fi.

Still, I’ve greatly enjoyed Black Science — if nothing else, I never tire of Scalera’s artwork — and I look forward to its final arc. (And now I want to check out Remender’s other series, including Deadly Class, Tokyo Ghost, and Seven to Eternity.)

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