Black Science #2 by Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera – Friday Flash Review
Shadowhawk and Bane of Kings take a look at the new issue for Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera’s new series from Image Comics.
“Where the first issue was all weird SF adventure, the second issue is human drama, and the soft switch is glorious.” ~Shadowhawk, The Founding Fields
“Rick Remender knocks it out of the park again, proving why that just two issues in Black Science is one of the best new comics of 2013. This gets my highest recommendation” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
Its not often that a new series begins with an excellent issue where both the writing and the art mesh together so seamlessly as they did last month in Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera’s Black Science #1. That issue was a straight-up pulp SF adventure with some really badass freaky aliens and a fantastic ticking-clock story. Scientist Grant McKay’s headlong flight through the jungles of this world was an engaging story that worked for me on all levels and Black Science #2 is an issue that I had really been looking forward to. Quite a turnaround from last year where after reading Remender’s Captain America #1 I couldn’t really be bothered in any way to pick up Captain America #2.
As I said above, the first issue was all adventure with a hint of human drama. The second issue is heavy on the human drama as the story changes gears to give us the background on the characters and what brought them to that point when we first see Grant McKay. We don’t get to see the entire story, there isn’t enough room in the issue for that anyway, but we do see strong foundations laid down for how the group behaves the way that it does. Especially Kadir, the financier of the entire Pillar project that was Grant’s life’s work.
Since this is a human drama story this time, there was a fair amount of characterisation for every member of Remender’s cast. Grant, Rebecca, Chandra, Kadir, Nate, they all get to shine throughout the issue, and that’s what I loved about this issue the most. Each flashback informs on who these characters are and what their motivations are. On top of that, the specific conflict that is being generated between the team members, especially as Kadir and Chandra start factioning the group, it makes for some really good reading. Remender pretty much excels at his characterisation here.
Once again, Matteo Scalera’s pencils and Dean White’s colours steal the show though. Visually speaking, Black Science #2 is not as pure awesomeness as Black Science #1 but still the issue stands as one of the best drawn issues I’ve read all month, so far. Some of Scalera’s character work is not up to scratch, being a bit too angular and undefined at times, but I still loved this issue. White’s colours are just phenomenal and really give Scalera’s pencils a lot of time to shine all through. There are 2-3 pages at the end, when we really get to the big twist of this world that the team finds itself on, and they are by far the best pages of this issue. So much going on in those pages, with so much gorgeous art to look at.
And that’s pretty much why I love this comic. The story is fantastic. The art is fantastic. The cover is fantastic. Everything about it is just fantastic.
Bane of Kings:
Art: Matteo Scalera | Colours: Dean White | Cover: Matteo Scalera
Run-amok reality! Grant and his crew escape the madness of the lightning sea-swamp only to be flung into a futurepast trenchworld, where the Sons of the Wakan Tech-Tanka wage never-ending war on the savages of Europe! How did the Anarchist League of Scientists end up this deep in the onion? Who among them sabotaged the Pillar?
Black Science #1 was a wonderful book, and the second issue had instantly leapt to the top of my must-read list. So, naturally – #2 was among the first things that I read when I got my comics earlier today, having been unable to get them on the Wednesday due to other commitments, and it turned out to be a really enjoyable read – Rick Remender has once again knocked it out of the park and with just two issues is establishing Black Science as a must read series, much like Ed Brubaker is doing with Velvet. The second issue itself whilst it may slow down in pace it does it only briefly, just to give us a bit of background on why are characters are hopping through dimensions getting involved with fights against multiple aliens. By no means however does the slowing down in pace feel odd or out of place however, as it just seems to work.
There are several reasons why Black Science might just be Rick Remender’s best work yet and he constantly reminds us of just how good he is as a writer with this issue. Whether you’ve liked his Marvel Now books or not, this series remains essential reading – characters are interesting and by the end of this issue you’ll have a good idea as to where the lines are drawn, and what stakes are involved. At the same time Black Science also manages to be edge of your seat stuff, with some great development happening before our eyes. And it’s not just Remender who’s bringing his A-Game to the table as well.
The artwork of Matteo Scaleroa and Dean White continue to impress –White delivers some stunning colours whilst the artwork of Scalero really fits in with the pulpy feel of the book, delivering an impressive read that really enhances the overall feel of the issue. With a lesser artist, Black Science wouldn’t have been as great as it is. Sure, with Remender on board, it still would have been good, but it’s Scalera and White that help make it great. It’s unmissable stuff, even if you’ve never read a comic before but are a fan of sci-fi. Black Science makes it into some must read territory, and at this point I’m actually running out of words to describe just how good this book is.
Needless to say though, it’s damn near essential reading. There’s more chaos and even more weird stuff going on than the last issue and the artwork is among the best that I’ve seen yet. This is certainly a series that’s going to be high up in the Best of 2013 lists despite the fact that it’s only seen two issues – at least it will be in mine, because I’ve just loved everything about this series. If you’ve missed the first issue then go hunt it down. However, you’re going to have to wait for a second print because I believe both issues have been sold out, which is a great achievement for Remender and company, and indeed – Image. At least three new number ones that have debuted in the latter half of this year have been must read books, Rocket Girl, Velvet and now Black Science, and Image really proves why they’re just such a brilliant publisher. They’re certainly going to win my best comics publisher of the year award – I haven’t been let down by a book that I’ve picked up in print yet from them.
Top class stuff, and this issue comes highly recommended as one of the best new comic series of 2013.
More Black Science: #1.