Remender’s latest creator-owned series is like a cross between Indiana Jones and Fringe.
Black Science #1
Creators: Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera, Dean White
Publisher: Image Comics
THIS was a strange, strange book. The first issue of Rick Remender’s new creator-owned series pretty much consists of the main character, Grant McKay, running and running in a strange alien landscape set upon the back of a giant turtle, fighting frog men and fish people, and generally stirring up a whole lot of trouble while talking to himself, reminiscing about the things he should or should not have done.
It isn’t till three quarters of the way through the book that we sort of get an inkling of what is happening, and what the narrator is rambling about.
But don’t get me wrong; as far as debut issues go, Black Science is a real page-turner, and is a real reminder that Remender hasn’t lost his originality yet, despite a prolonged stint on Marvel’s Captain America and Uncanny Avengers.
Funnily enough, this debut issue sort of reminded me of Remender’s first arc on the Star-Spangled Avenger’s Marvel Now relaunch, with the dimension-hopping and strange alien life-forms. But that’s where the similarities end.
As mentioned, Black Science can be a bit vague and confusing at first, and possibly the clearest explanation of what the book is about can be found in a letter at the back of this first issue where Remender writes: “This is the journey of a self-taught scientist who disobeyed the laws of men and delved into the forbidden black sciences and the incredible adventures they thrust him into.”
Exactly what these “black sciences” are has not been revealed just yet, but with its throwaway references to pillars, coolants, jumps and fourth-dimensional walls, it’s clear that Remender hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of his creation.
He HAS set up an interesting premise for his characters though, and despite flooding the text boxes with exposition, he manages keep the text clear and concise enough to give Matteo Scalera’s art space to shine.
At times, it felt as though I was reading two books here: the first a science fiction tale driven by Remender’s text and McKay’s narration; and the other, a pulse-racing chase/escape story thrillingly brought to life by Scalera’s art.
Scalera’s artwork here is both fantastical and compelling, managing to capture the urgency and pace of the issue’s “escape from an alien world” premise perfectly as McKay runs from one problem to another.
With a premise that feels like a cross between Indiana Jones and Fringe, as well as art that manages to capture the wonder of adventure as well as the mystery of science in one go, this truly is one heck of a debut issue.