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Black Science has a premise that just keeps on delivering. When we left off, our cross-dimensional travellers found themselves, for once, in a safe and civilized alien dimension. While they rest and regroup, a masked stranger arrives with some plans of his own. The identity of that stranger: a revelation that had me on the very edge of my seat. Let’s just say Rick Remender knows his premise well, and takes full advantage of every little possibility at his disposal. Issue #5 of Black Science ups the ante in every imaginable way, from character conflict to world building, and it’s one hell of a ride [with SPOILERS].
One thing we learn in this issue: the broken pillar has catastrophic consequences for the Eververse, and so too does a functioning one. Whether broken or fixed, the pillar punches holes in the fabric of time—yes, travelling across dimensions has its cost. What’s the consequence of the broken pillar? In accordance with dimensional law, an infinite number of possible scenarios for Grant and his team are playing out in an infinite number of possible worlds. There are even Grant McKays out there whose children are already long dead, victims of his selfishly reckless scientific pursuits—worlds that our Grant Mckay is bent on avoiding.
And in this issue, we finally have a suspect for who might have smashed the pillar’s control panel. Remember that character conflict I was talking about? Well at the conclusion of this issue, the conflict really heats up. Grant and Kadir go from yelling to punching upon their arrival to the next dimension. It’s a confrontation that, I’m sure, both had wished went differently. As they lose their footing and fall into a chasm at the top of a snowy peak, we discover that this mountain is far from unoccupied. Let’s hope this dimension is as hospitable as the last.
Black Science #5 might be my favorite issue of this comic to date. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am intentionally not sharing who the masked stranger is, and while I might have come close, I have no intention of revealing the suspected saboteur either. It’s been a while since I’ve been legitimately blown away by the events in a comic book. The revelations in Issue 5 have got me more excited about the next issue than ever before. If you haven’t picked up Black Science yet, I recommend that you do.
Remender, as usual, is on point. He gives us the most perfect flashbacks, the most revealing moments about his characters that feel more like real life than you or me. Meanwhile, the story is headed in a wild direction. Secrets are laid bare and danger seems as imminent as the next dimensional jump. I’ve no doubt that the body count will keep rising, as desperation and tension already reach a boiling point.
Matteo Scalera always brings his A-game. In the past, I’ve mentioned how much I enjoy the visual contrast between the dimensions. In this issue, seeing as a jump occurs, I’ll point it out again: the settings in this comic are always very striking, even when back on Earth—you know, the dimension Grant and his team belong in. Scalera manages to create the most detailed landscapes, the most vividly imagined scenery, and all with his gritty signature style.
Black Science is a story that really represents the best of what comic books have to offer. Like the brilliant work of science fiction that it is, there are oddities in there that would be very hard to do justice on the silver screen. The constant changes in setting between extremes, the occupants of these various and strange dimensions, the movements and action that plays out so well in these pages—of course, all of it could be done with modern special effects. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that the creative team is doing such a damn good job, that I really couldn’t imagine it any other way.