There’s been a lot of focus over the last few years on the Pulp Noir genre, popularised in the early 20th century. With Black Science Rick Remender seems to be calling back to the OTHER genre that made it’s name in the pulp medium – science fiction. The book clearly has it’s rots in the classic short science fiction novels that would later become the inspiration for the likes of The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone but rather than a simple morality tale of WHAT HAS SCIENCE DONE NOW we instead get to see the long term ramifications of one mans litany of mistakes. Remender has garnered a bit of a reputation for himself over at Marvel for controversial moves – Frankencastle, “don’t call me a mutant” and this weeks Uncanny Avengers #14 come to mind – but unshackled from the constraints of work-for-hire does his work still seem as fresh as his classic Fear Agent?
Yes. Yes it does. This is a story of man lost in obsession – obsessed with pushing the boundaries of science. An obsession that has led his family and his crew to find themselves hopping between the forbidden worlds of the Eververse. As a premise it’s genius – allowing Remender and co. to set their story in any number of worlds – limited only by their imagination. The issue takes the old writers adage of starting as close to the action as possible and ramps it up to 11. We join our protagonist, Grant, in medias res as he has ten minutes left to save his family and crew – with only a hostile alien world and a war betwixt two native factions standing between his success and failure. The backstory is given via internal monologue, briefing us on how Grant has gotten to this point. Understandably reflective, the narrative of the issue informs us of Grants personality just enough to keep me both sympathetic and intrigued.
The real star of the issue is the art. Scalera and White give us haunting alien vistas of a world we can only begin to comprehend. I would be more than happy to see the whole series take place on the world we see glimpsed in this debut issue. Unfortunately we are whisked off to another universe by the end of the issue, landing us in yet another world that is more familiar to our own but with a double page spread that begs so many questions. The action scenes are swash-buckling and the figures are expressive. It brings to mind Remenders X-Force artist, Jerome Opena so fans of that series are advised to check this series out. The colouring is dark and moody – evocative of the covers to those aforementioned Pulp Sci-fi novels.
The premise for this series has so much potential – literally an infinite amount of possibilities for the creative team to explore and at it’s core is a flawed yet sympathetic main character. If broad, expansive science fiction is your thing then I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I’m hard pushed to give this book top marks, since it lacks an emotional pay-off to the story but I can’t give it any less than a 9/10. It’s weird and fantastical and it might not be for everyone, but it is definitely for ME. This is a heavy week in terms of the number of books out but if you haven’t picked this one up then you have failed as a human being.
The writer of this review was:
David McIntyre aka (Big Dave)
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