BLACK SCIENCE #1 [Review]: Keep Their (severed bioelectric) Heads Ringin’…
…because it’s Black Science Friday.
The latest shot fired in Image Comic’s battle to rule the industry one great book at a time, is written by Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force, Fear Agent) with art by Mateo Scalera (Secret Avengers, Dead Body Road) and vivid painted color provided by Dean White (Captain America). This is a sci-fi fan’s dream comic. This is Edgar Rice Burroughs (A Princess of Mars, Gods of Mars) meets Alastair Reynolds (Revelation Space). This is space opera sharing one big-bang of a kiss with radical physics. This first issue is an alternate reality, parallel world, galaxies sitting side-by-side just over the dimensional wall thrill ride.
This mash-up of hard sci-fi running headlong into epic space fantasy has been called a spiritual successor to Remender’s Fear Agent series. Full confession, I haven’t read much Fear Agent, but I want to (You should. – Moody). Remmy is one of my favorite writers, particularly when he gets to cut loose on his own, personal projects. I can’t really speak to whether it feels or follows the aforementioned Fear Agent books, but what your ever-lovin’ brown-eyed Guy Padre can say, is that it looks, feels, and reads like the manic offspring of classic Heavy Metal (the magazine, not the kickass musical genre) and the best of Metal Hurlant. It has the look and feel of great European comics.
Black Science is the story of scientist Grant McKay who leads the Anarchist League of Scientists.
Remender drops us into the middle of the action and inner turmoil of McKay and one other member of his team right from page one and doesn’t let up until the final page of issue #1. Even then, the cliffhanger nature of the ending — when frying pan meets proverbial fryer — seems to indicate that next issue will get even crazier for our team of fringe science explorers. McKay’s flaws are front and center, his brief heroism more about survival than honor. He has fucked up, he needs to set things right, but time, all times could be running out on him.
It is a lush landscape where metaphorical ancient cave art seems to come to life in stunning detail. And, here, the ridiculous is real. Mayan temples bombarded by strange vermillion lightning sit atop giant Turtles, upon whom seemingly ancient animosities play out between bipedal savage fish men. These peeps ride what appear to be giant mutated, Technicolor electric eels, and frog warriors who have a taste for their enemies flesh and a penchant for spewing electric spit when enraged. WTF?
Yeah, What The Fuck indeed!
Caught in the middle is McKay desperately trying to get back to his comrades and his own children to stop an impending doom of his own making. What he has done exactly we aren’t quite sure of. There are hints and some clues as to why things may have gone to shit, but I won’t spoil things here. But we do know, from his running exposition that flows parallel to the nonstop action that the consequences of his actions are far from good.
I read the book twice and each time was left breathless by the end. The pace is fast, yet engaging. Like those great Metal Hurlant stories we get what feels like a rarity on today’s spinner racks (look it up kids. It was a thing, along with newsstands and 70’s bush); a fully realized, fun, action packed, thirty-two page comic book read. No 5-minutes on the toilet reading here, my friends. And, oh yeah, there is a severed head spewing bioelectricity that is used as a bolo whip. #fullfuckinretard anyone?
Black Science #1 is possibly the most vividly striking book you will find on shop shelves. The art team of Mateo Scalera and Dean White don’t just bring their A-game here, they bring an atom bomb of beauty that radiates and illuminates every page of the book. In short, flowery bullshit aside, this is the best-looking comic you will find in any reality.
I could go on and on. But you need to stop listening to my sermon, grab a copy of this book — if it isn’t alread sold out! — plop down on that Chewbacca bean bag in your man or lady cave and get to reading Black Science.