Failure, it’s a theme Rick Remender has used throughout the series and a seemingly constant in in Grant McKay’s life. In Black Science #23, his failure may have just cost him his daughter’s life.
For all that he is worth, Grant is a brilliant scientist, but when it comes to life he just can’t seem to get out of his own way. Whether it is getting members of his own team killed, being an absent father, or a serial adulterer. He should be a detestable character.
The thing is, Grant isn’t detestable; at least not to me, because he comes off as human. He knows he has flaws, and he is constantly trying to improve. Right now in the series he is trying to reunite with his children, or in the case of Pia at least get back into her good graces. Grant’s a bit of a screw up, and even when he tries to repair things he manages to create more damage in the process.
In the last issue, Pia had been in the midst of organizing a peace treaty with the inhabitants of a fantasy inspired dimension. Upon Grant’s arrival he managed to screw up the treaty, and insult a number of the people involved with his inappropriate behavior.
In Black Science #23, thinking it would be a good idea, Grant has stolen Pia’s fiancé’s horse in order to go on a quest to retrieve a magical item from a witch. Needless to say this goes horribly wrong for him, and ultimately leads to a life threatening situation for Pia.
I give credit again to author Rick Remender for this excellent issue. Somehow he manages to make each issue fun and worth reading. It’s also quite a please because I’m not usually a fan of fantasy-themed material. However, this combination of fantasy and sci-fi has me intrigued.
Remender continues to evolve Grant’s character. He adds complexity and makes him identifiable as a real person. He excels at making irredeemable characters, likable and human. For proof check out his former series Fear Agent. In that series main character Heathrow Hudson is an alcoholic who is responsible for wiping out an entire race of aliens, and mucking up the timeline. Grant and Heathrow share similarities in the fact that their ineptitude at heroics is admirable, and they continually strive to become better persons despite a stacked deck against him.
Artist Matteo Scalera is another real shining beacon in this issue. If for nothing else please pick up this comic because of the art. The constant world building and imagination he displays on the page is just a treasure to read.
This month much of Grant’s adventures takes place in a dark and sinister looking forest. It feels like it comes right out of a Grimm fairy tale or the middle act of Army of Darkness. At any moment I was half expecting a devilish monster to jump out and attack him. I give credit to Scalera for doing such a wonderful job in shifting mood and tone.
Perhaps one of the most epic moments artistically in Black Science #23 is when Grant and Pia finally confront the witch. The witch is horrifying to look at and the ghoulish greens, grays, and blacks used to color the page fits perfectly with the scene.
Black Science #23 is another impressive issue in a fantastic series. Grant becomes more and more likable the more he screws up. While Scalera does a wonderful job with the art especially creating the scary fairytale forest.
- Grant is a likable screw up
- Evil scary forest feels right out of a fairy tale
- Encounter with the witch looks great