Weekly Recommendation: Black Science

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Rick Remender has done some amazing comic books in his tenure as a writer, but one of my all time favourites despite it only being 12issues in has to Black Science. Remender has crafted a tale of multiple worlds and realities with such ease and precision that the concept of a team of explorers traveling through parallel worlds feels real and exciting, and he makes each issue a must read with a big moment that you didn’t see coming.

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Rick Remender and artist Matteo Scalera launched Black Science in November of 2013 under the banner of Image comics and it has been steaming along ever since with big issue after big issue. For anyone unfamiliar with Black Science the story follows Grant McKay, an ex-member of the Anarchist Order of Scientists, and his team as they are thrown through dimensional barriers to alien worlds while they try to repair the Pillar and return home. His invention, the Pillar, is a piece of technology that allowed McKay and his team to travel between the dimensions with the use of Black Science. Using the Pillar, McKay and his fellow “Dimensionauts” leap between worlds at will, taking anything they want for the benefit of their home reality. A member of Grant’s team sabotages the pillar, causing it to jump to random locations at random times, the group is left stranded between a series of increasingly bizarre and nightmarish worlds, struggling for survival.

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Remender has managed to craft a wonderfully engaging and downright exciting story from the moment the book begins, the very first issue just see’s Granty and his wife on the run from a horde of angry Fish-men trying to make their way back to the pillar, and the majority of the wording in the issue is the current thought processes of our lead character. This format for works brilliantly as your instantly drawn into the weird world, and begin to feel a real bond with Grant, even before we realise that they are tragically stuck in multiple universe or that they can even travel through universes. And this continues through the following issues as the back story for Grant and the others is slowly revealed and interweaves with the current predicament that the group find themselves in whether its a trench in a war between technologically advanced Native Americans and the Germans or a world full of Monkeys inhabited by ghost souls the main purpose is to tell you the story of the group and how they got to where they are and why each of them is on the team.

The story builds brilliantly as the stakes always feel real when the team arrive in a new dimension, and you do feel a genuine sense of wonder as to where they will arrive next when the pillar begins to jump. This is a true testament to the way he has developed the story as each and every character is meaningful and any deaths feel like a real tragic moment for the group, and that before you consider there are both of Grants children hopping with the Dimensionauts. The fact that later on we also see alternate versions of the characters and there desires for the group is also brilliantly done and adds another layer to the story, which is already some of the best science fiction comic book work out there.

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The artwork in the book is a true strength as each and every panel is well drawn and the aspects are well spaced allowing the reader to truly see what is happening and perfectly captures the terror and the oddness of the other races and worlds that the team encounter. Scalera has really made the worlds stand apart from other worlds within comic books, and at the same time has managed to get teach of the worlds within this title to also stand alone as unique and intriguing. The colour schemes are also great and really help make the races you see look distinct and in some cases truly scary.

If you’re not already on board with this dimension hoping crazy ride of survival against all the odds, you really should be and with the second trade paper back due out now its about time to be. This is a book that I highly recommend.

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