Friday, 22 May 2015

Black Science, Volume 2: Welcome, Nowhere Review (Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera)


Black Science and Deadly Class were the two books that convinced me that reading Rick Remender wasn’t a total waste of time – and then I read the second volume of Black Science. Well… at least there’s still Deadly Class!

I’m not saying kid characters are the death of any story – but they’re close! In Volume 2, the kids Pia and Nate take centre stage as they’re separated from the group and have to dodge the inhabitants of the latest alien world they’ve dropped in on, while making their way back to the Pillar before it quantum leaps again. Pia’s bitter about her dad, Grant McKay, having always spent time in the lab with the Pillar and his bit-on-the-side, Becca, instead of at home with his family. Nate’s a tough lil bugger who nonetheless misses his old dad.

Seeing kids whine about their problems while hiding from scary monsters doesn’t cut it for me as interesting. Maybe for a children’s book but Black Science isn’t that. Elsewhere, Kadir, the one-dimensional villain from the first book, does a complete 180 and becomes a one-dimensional hero in this book! Wha…? Sorry, just not buying the sudden change given how this character’s been set up.

The alternate dimensions angle is re-introduced and, far from being exciting, it looks like one big headache of confusion! That person died but an alternate version of them lives in another dimension and they’re quantum leaping too and and and… nope, that doesn’t appeal to me either.

The artwork is the saving grace of the comic – or, more specifically, the colouring. Dean White’s painted art is just stunning. Matteo Scalera’s artwork is good but White’s colours lend it such a vibrancy, the pages are just gorgeous to look at. Michael Spicer colours the final issue and, if he’s taking over from White, he’s a worthy successor because his work is very high quality as well.

Black Science, Volume 2 is a disappointing follow-up to a good first book. Maybe it’s because Remender chose to focus on characters who just weren’t very strong or compelling enough, maybe it feels like he’s repeating himself already, but the volume as a whole doesn’t hold up to the same quality as the first. The art is still very good and Dean White steals the show but it’s not enough to rec this volume on alone.

Here’s hoping Deadly Class Volume 2 is better!

Black Science, Volume 2: Welcome, Nowhere

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