BLACK SCIENCE Volume 5 – Review
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Matteo Scalera
Colorist: Moreno Diniso
Publisher: Image Comics
When I hear the word “melodrama” I think of stories where the emotional lives of the primary characters are of central importance, foregrounding love and family relationships. I also think of how in traditional melodrama the primary characters are in some way connected to events of socio-cultural significance. They make some mark on history, whether in the arts, sports, big business, soap operas, even big crime – Breaking Bad, anyone?
There is a particular kind of science fiction that qualifies as melodrama, wherein a brilliant scientist makes a discovery that changes everything, including the scientist’s relationships with those around him.
In Black Science, former punk rocker Grant Mackay is a scientific genius in a state of perpetual adolescence. He has perfected inter-dimensional travel, but screwed up his marriage and his relationship with his children.
From this premise comes both melodrama and space opera, as Mackay pilots his invention to an endlessly inventive diversity of alternative realities – often illustrated in awe-inspiring splash and double-splash landscapes and starscapes – while trying to work out his family problems.
By the fifth book in the series, Mackay is on his chaotic way to redeeming himself, although he continues to meet with setbacks to his efforts. This fifth volume features lots of family conversation, intimate dialogues that ring true, even when talking about the wonders of other worlds. Not surprisingly, then, this time around there’s a lot more close-up framing than double-splash.
Speaking of which, the panoramic scenes are just a small part of what makes the art of Black Science so great. The story’s inventive world-building is matched by the creative brilliance of the series’ production design, giving the series a distinctively otherworldly look. Part of what makes the look of Black Science so distinctive is the color schemes – riotous purples and iridescent greens, intense blues and shades of pink and red. If nothing else, this series’ art proves that colorists like Moreno Dinisio are the unsung heroes of the graphic format.
Of all the ongoing series that I’m currently following, Black Science is one of the very best. I recommend it unreservedly, and particularly to readers of science fiction.