Advance Review: Black Science #1
Rick Remender has been a rising star at Marvel in the past few years. Matteo Scalera made a splash in his time there as well. So when you add Remender + Scalera +the amazing colors of Dean White, you get a stellar sci-fi comic that leaves a lasting impression.
Rick Remender wastes no time in getting into the action. Readers are given nary a moment to breath throughout Black Science #1. And if the ending is any indication, we won’t be able to in #2 as well. #1 doesn’t touch much on the overall plot, but tease histories of characters and acts as a trial by fire with the mythology. Terms/ideas are used/discussed without a mention to what they really mean. This makes the reader more active in the story, and makes the comic much more fun. These elements ended up being the hook that will bring me back more than anything. Much like Jonathan Hickman’s books at Image, its clear there is a deep mythology at play here. The science elements aren’t that far out, but they are entertaining. Who doesn’t love armies of frogs fighting each other and yelling “RIBBIT” when they are charging?
Remender’s penchant for character development is on full display in Black Science #1. Grant’s run through the forest gives Remender plenty of panel space for the reader to fully invest in Grant as a character and his plight. Remender’s narrations occasionally go overboard, but he goes with the “show us” method of character development. He mentions his two kids often, but we really feel the love for his kids when he starts thinking like a father around the stripper frog (never thought I’d type that). He sees everyone as the daughter/son of someone, and treats them like he’d treat his own children. It sells Remender’s script, but makes his talk with his kids later heartbreaking instead of just sad. That quick scene at the end, not only heartbreaking but adds another layer to Grant as a character. He’s a caring father who gets absorbed into his work and forgets the little things. Black Science feels like a title that will not only be about these incredible worlds, but Grant as he becomes a better father. The best science fiction stories have elements like this. The juxtaposition of hard science fiction and down to Earth interactions gave the issue a Twilight Zone feel.
In terms of a #1, Black Science is a hard sell. It requires a lot of the reader, but gives a lot to them if they pay close attention. It took me a few read throughs to fully appreciate the nuances of Black Science #1. It’s a fun title if read only once, but I loved it more after the second read through.
Matteo Scalera’s work on Black Science #1 is above and beyond anything he did at Marvel. These lush, rich destinations feel full of life and personality. The design of the warrior frogs is great, balancing a hint of understanding while being something we’ve never seen before. Even with helmets on, the characters are expressive. When Scalera was penciling Indestructible Hulk, action sequences could be muddy, making it hard to discern who was fighting who. But the panels flow perfectly in Black Science #1, leading the reader’s eyes exactly where they need to go. There’s nothing revolutionary going on with his panel work, but he uses them effectively to build tension and let the personal moments breathe more. Dean White’s amazing colors help give depth to this foreign world. The base colors are very similar to Uncanny X-Force, mixing natural colors without almost otherworldly purples and greens. The end result creates a brilliant looking landscape.
Black Science #1 gets 4.5/5. (Black Science #1 is out 11/27)