“Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment. Would you capture it, or just let it slip?” It is not often I will quote Eminem, but this opening line from his song “Lose Yourself” released in 2002 is applicable to this week’s finest, Black Science #16. This is it. The last handful of issues have been leading up to these final moments. The moments right before the pillar will be making it’s final jump. Ideally everyone gets home safe and sound, but seeing as Black Science probably doesn’t end with issue #16, I’m going to guess something else happens. Each character is faced with their own “one shot” to seize what they want. Unfortunately for the team, no one wants the same thing.
The narrative for Black Science has been one of the strong points of the book since the beginning. We start issue #1 in Grant’s head, but we quickly find out that each issue will not be driven by his monologue. Remender makes sure we know all of his characters as he flips the monologue around to create an emotional connection with everyone. Even Kadir, the character we can peg as the “bad guy” early on has his moments. We get inside his head and understand him better. All the preparation is for this issue. For these moments. At this point we may not like every character on the science exploration team, but we do understand all of their motivations. Each character has their moment in the spotlight this issue, and every single one is emotional and powerful. However, like Remender can so effectively pull off, this issue focused on selfish humanity is cringe worthy as he takes a bad situation and makes it a hell of a lot worse.
Grant, a family man who has been distracted for too long. He has been distracted by the pillar and by his mistress Rebecca. Grant has lost sight of his beautiful family, enough to get his wife killed, on multiple occasions. All he has left are his kids and his guilt. Grant is determined to make it right. He wants to and will be the hero of this story. So, he takes flight with a cure for the airborne contagion that appears to have infected the entire dimension they currently occupy. He can’t take the guilt of the bodies he has left in the dust. He uses this one opportunity to make things right, unfortunately it is minutes before the pillar is about to make it’s final jump. Like any good hero does, he makes sure to cut things down to the final seconds.
Kadir, a man who lingers in Grant’s shadow most of the time. He has been villain in one dimension and hero in another. Kadir realizes that he put everyone in danger so he became the hero. He saved everyone when all seemed lost. But, no one has changed their opinion about Kadir. They are still following Grant, who will fly off with 5 minutes to spare to save a dimension they won’t ever see again. Kadir doesn’t understand how others think and function so he looks out for number one. He is on no ones side and although he is unfortunately seen as the villain by the rest of the team, if he wants to get home, he is going to let no man or woman stand in his way.
Rebecca, a woman driven by her passion for science as well as her passion for Grant. We find out this issue, that is not all that drives her. She has been pushing Grant all along to work on the pillar and neglect his family. She has seduced him with her mind and body to hide the real secret that drives her. Rebecca’s brother is dead, and all she wants is to travel to the dimension where he is not. As the pillar makes the countdown to it’s final jump, Rebecca sets the coordinates to a different dimension. She has been working and waiting for this moment for too long. Rebecca will stop at nothing to see her brother again. She will even take a life, if it means giving life to her brother.
There is of course Grant’s children as well as Shawn. They play an important role in the outcome of this issue but it is the drive of the three above charters which clash head on. Grant the hero, blinded by his guilt. Kadir the realist, too hardened to care. Rebecca the double crosser, in search of what could be. The characters emotions in this issue are peaked. It is an action packed issue. Everyone making snap decisions as the timer ticks down. A timer that should be ticking down to end this all. There should be only 5 minutes left until everyone is safe. Selfishness will not allow it. I’m sure all characters had this 2002 Eminem track running through their heads. This is their one moment to seize everything they ever wanted, and they will not let it slip.
No one pencils a fast paced, high intensity thrill ride quite like Matteo Scalera. He has the skills to pour all the detail and emotion of one panel into a characters eyes, while the next panel, delivering an action sequence where the sound effects are heard and felt. He probably drew more tears running down faces in this issue than any other single issue he has illustrated. The guy who is known for his impeccable action scenes and car chases can also convey deep emotion and that is front and centre in issue #16 of Black Science.
I hope Black Science is returning shortly, but in the meantime I’m going to read all #16 issues again. This title has been confusing at times as the team jumps through different dimensions. It is definitely a book which will make more sense in trade, but also a book that is too good to let pile up. Week’s finest goes to Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera’s Black Science. Where will Grant McKay and the Dimensionauts end up next?