Friday Feature: Black Science

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll have noticed that this week we didn’t have a post on Tuesday. As the benevolent dictator of this blog, I have decided to give my writing proletariat a month in which to rest their aching fingertips and enjoy the holiday season before the new year. In the mean time, I’ve decided to keep up with the Friday Features, so that the Playground stays lively!

So far in our Friday Features, I have not highlighted very many ongoing comic series. Part of the reason for this is that I would hate to recommend something that will turn around and be terrible next month.

It’s the reason I resisted featuring Pretty Deadly after the first issue. I was (and still am) pretty excited about it, but the first (and now second) issues were lacking something that I hope the next few will provide. It’s not a cohesive story yet and while the art by Emma Rios is phenomenal, I’ve found it hard to recommend a book with a story that I don’t understand.

It’s the reason I’ve never recommended the new 52 run of Animal Man, despite it having never disappointed me.

All that is to say you should take me seriously when I recommend a comic after only one issue.

Black Science #1 was the best #1 I’ve read since Saga.

The writer took a big risk in this first issue by telling almost the entire story through inner monologue during what was basically a book-long action sequence. The risk pays off. Balancing action and exposition is never easy, and it’s doubly difficult in the first issue of a new story.

Black Science is a brand new creation, and yet in just the first issue, we already have a relationship with the main character and the people with whom he works. In just a few pages, Rick Remender sets up a personal and emotional history of the character and introduces us to his family, his mistakes, and his life’s work.

An early page from Black Science #1.

But as with any comic, the work of the writer is only half of the creation. The other half is in the art. And the art in this book does not disappoint. In all seriousness, the pictures alone are worth whatever this book is going for on ebay right now.

I’ve never seen art that was both so kinetic and so detailed. The first panel of this book hits the ground running and it doesn’t stop until the last – and the artists keep pace without sacrificing even the smallest detail.

In action-heavy comics, the two elements of the page that are usually the first to go are facial expressions and backgrounds. The artists of this book don’t let go of either element except in a few scant panels where it seems like the choice was intentional and made for emphasis.

I don’t know anything about the pedigree of the artists on Black Science, Matteo Scalera and Dean White, but I’m going to do whatever I can to find more of their work.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but even the lettering of this book is fantastic. Check it out. If you can’t justify buying monthly comics (depending on the book, it can be anywhere between $16 and $30 to buy one story-arc worth of monthly issues, whereas buying a trade paperback that collects the same story-arc will typically cost between $15 and $20), wait for the trade. I’m sure I’ll make a fuss when it comes out then, too.

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