Sunday, March 8, 2015

Comic Review: Black Science Volume 2

    The first volume of this science fiction series (read my review here) thrust the reader into the mad dimension hopping world with little regard.  You had to pick your way through the various characters and their back stories with little help.  A mad scientist, his lover and partner, his kids, his estranged wife, his sleazy boss (?), his mysterious assistant, etc.  And the tech?  What is it?  What does it do and what does it mean?  I had a hard time following it at first, partially because so much was happening, and partly because some of the characters looked a bit too similar.

    The art in volume 2 seems to have improved a bit (it was already good), and the various characters have taken on a bit more distinctiveness.  The color pallet is beautiful, and I really like the hazy look of the Native guy’s Black Science flashback.

    Volume 2 feels a bit less feverish, a bit easier to read and follow.  The pace is still breakneck, with plenty of twists, action, danger, and high stakes.  And the overall theme, or plot of the book becomes more apparent.  There seems to be a building dimension war, with variations of characters from each reality trying to grab power, right wrongs, and what have you.

    My earlier sense that the Pulp/30s/50s vibe of the comic’s design belies its 70s bitterness has grown.  I have very vague recollections of a TV show called Otherworld, which kind of freaked me out as a lad.  This comic reminds me of those feelings.  As well as stuff like The Star Lost, UFO, The Quiet Earth, and other, more pessimistic and strange science fiction.  The characters are all complex, and most of them are kinda bad.  It’s even hinted at that in the multiverse, our protagonists might not be the ‘good’ versions.  In fact, they might be the villains for much more virtuous counterparts.  Or not.

    As happened at the end of volume 1, I found myself wishing I had the next volume at hand upon finishing 2.  I want to find out what happens next, and it sucks that I’ve got to wait for…I don’t know, six months or so, for the next volume to come out.  I guess in that sense, it’s kind of like waiting for entries in a film series, where you know it’s coming, but you’ve got to wait.  I’m sure, when it’s all out, I’ll have to give it a start to finish re-read.  So, while this isn’t my favorite science fiction comic on the market right now (East of West, maybe?), it’s very good, getting better, and I recommend checking it out.

Black Science Volume 2: Welcome, Nowhere
Author: Rick Remender
Artist: Matteo Scalera
Publisher: Image Comics
ISBN: 978-1-63215-018-9

-Matthew J. Constantine

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