Review – Black Science #17 (Image Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Matteo Scalera
Colourist: Moreno Dinisio
Release Date: 4th November, 2015

After a soul-crushing four month hiatus, Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera’s sci-fi opus Black Science returns this week, and does so with every ounce of the flash, creativity and emotion that has made this series such a runaway hit to this point.

With things taking a decidedly dark turn in the previous arc, we witnessed the body count rapidly mounting up as a twisted chain reaction saw traitor Rebecca kill both the Shaman and (seemingly) Shawn, before being threatened by Kadir who was then mistakenly killed by Grant.  A frenetic, pulse-pounding conclusion then saw the Pillar making what was apparently its final leap to an unknown set of co-ordinates programmed in by Rebecca just as Grant discovered the truth. Tense, to say the least.

Wisely, the creators opt to slow things down a little here, shifting the focus onto Grant himself as he struggles to survive in the strange new psychedelic dimension he now calls home.  I’m not going to delve into any spoilers here, but suffice to say that a lot of unanswered questions from the previous arc will apparently remain unanswered for the time being, giving us ample opportunity to deal with Grant and his latest predicament, as well as allowing us to delve a little deeper into his troubled childhood.

The new environment conjured up also provides a perfect outlet for the jaw-dropping creative synergy of Matteo Scalera and colourist Moreno Dinisio, and they take full advantage of the situation to tantalise our eyeballs with a series of utterly stunning double-page spreads.  Six, in total.  Yeah, you heard me.  Equally comfortable with nightmarish creatures and vibrant architecture as they are with quiet, emotional beats, this is undoubtedly one of the best artistic partnerships in the world of comics today, and the visual side of Black Science is worth the cover price alone.

In a lot of ways, Black Science almost feels like the sci-fi equivalent of The Walking Dead.  Not in terms of the content of the series, but rather in the way the creators have taken their time in building up our connection with these characters gradually, making their trials, tribulations and – frequently – their deaths resonate with us so deeply.

There’s also a fantastic sensation of just sitting back and letting this monumental series unfold, safe in the knowledge that Remender and Scalera have at least fifty issues (at least!) plotted out, and that every character will be given their own unique arc to explore.  This is multi-layered science fiction world building of the highest order, perfectly executed by a creative team at the absolute top of their game.

Rating: 5/5.

The writer of this piece was: 576682_510764502303144_947146289_nCraig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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