What is Black Science vol 1?

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From the people at Image comics, or more accurately Rick Remender a man mostly known for turning Frank Castle into Frank-enstein (see what they did there?), Black Science asks what if you found a portal to a parallel universe? What if you could slide into a thousand different worlds? Where it’s the same year, and you’re the same person, but everything else is different. And what if you can’t find your way home?

The team lead by Grant Mckay dreamed of being able to pick resources from a thousand different worlds, of being able to get the cure for cancer from one dimension and cold fusion from another. Unfortunately the pillar that allows them to cross the dimensional barrier is sabotaged and from the first leap onward they are left unable to tell where they are going and with the time between such “slides” randomized at the start, meaning that they can have days on one and minutes on another.

For those wondering if this is just a repeat of Sliders then you can rest easy with the first world a purple thunder soaked rainforest populated by frog and fish men. From there they visit a world where world war one took place between a seemingly united Europe against a super tech wielding Native Americans. Each world lasts a few issues each with the first dealing with a simple matter of getting some coolant to get the motor going while the next elaborates upon the basic plot such as the idea of which of the ramshackle crew could be the saboteur, the program sending out ripples into the multiverse and someone coming after them.

Each of the characters is well rounded with Grant McKay taking the lead with several flashbacks to before the first leap detailing his relationship with fellow scientist Rebecca but everyone gets some screen time; with Ward the ex-military security man who takes it upon himself to see the team safe. Kind of like Ben Grimm with a gun. Kadir probably comes third, being the backing behind the team and the only one not outfitted with his own fancy science suit. Due to the personalities and unpredicted nature of the mission the crew clash nicely with plenty of drama as people via for control and others deal with some of the acts they are forced to do such as drowning a German trooper to keep him quiet. The inner monologues help this fact with each reading with their own voice such as Mckay’s Carl Sagan quotes and hectic pace to show his out of breath, weed smoking nature. While Wade talks of ancestry and war.

The covers and world have a nice pulpy feel to them and the artwork is a very angular clean layout that cleanly shows the different worlds despite the dark nature of the shots, though I might have to question the notion of giving the fish woman boobs. Though I’m sure some would argue this is just all part of the pulpy nature of them. This is all thanks to Matteo Scalera who I believe is on the series right up to the end of the second volume at least. That might not sound like much but in this day an age it feels like something.

Meanwhile the colour seems to help signify the change between worlds in the same way that Star Wars had a desert and ice world. It’s dingy when it needs to be and cold when it wants.

The series is still on going though, and this is a slight spoiler, I wonder how many of the crew would be left if they even ever manage to get back home. There is certainly no limit to the number of stories they can tell and they are already delving into the weirder elements of the idea.

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