Not content with destroying the Earth this week in Uncanny Avengers, Rick Remender continues to kick ass on both of his new Image books, and whilst the death in this week’s Black Science is not quite as huge as the entire planet, it’s just as impactful and surprising.
The issue kicks off right in the heart of the action, with Ward, Kadir and Shawn in a race against time to get the Native American Shaman to their group before the Pillar activates again and teleports everyone away. This was a very tense scene, as a bunch of Native warriors are chasing them down with technology that vastly outpowers our heroes, and whilst it’s exciting as hell, the real meat of it comes with the character moments. Firstly, when Ward demonstrates some serious bad-assery when he decapitates a Native and his horse at the same time, but also right at the end, when Kadir betrays Ward, leaving him to die. Not only does this switch Kadir right back to being a dick, when #3 showed he might not be all bad, but it’s shocking to me that Remender had Ward die. With Grant McKay out of commission for the last 2 issues, he took centre-stage, took over the narration, and looked set to be just as important a character. But nope, he’s dead, and it was a really poetic, tragic scene, with him recalling how his father, and his grandfather before him, died in the mud of battle, so why should he be so special.
Ward’s sacrifice allows everyone else to teleport away again, this time to a peaceful world, and also for the Shaman to heal Grant and save him from death. He wakes up in this new world, safe and sound, and apparently they have the technology here to fix the Pillar somewhat. And they have scotch! But of course it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, this is black science for a reason. Chandra, one of the characters who up until now has kind of been in the background, comes up to Kadir and tells him that she knows he let Ward die on purpose, but ominously for McKay, she has no problem with this, as it means that she and Kadir can now take control of the group. She even goes as far to put her hand on Kadir’s crotch, so it looks like we’re going to get a real power struggle here.
Elsewhere, it’s revealed that Grant’s son, Nate is diabetic, and his sister forget to bring his insulin with her to the lab. This adds a nice sense of jeopardy to every reality jump, because what happens if they end up in a universe that doesn’t have insulin or an equivalent? There’s a more immediate threat however, as the issue ends with a mysterious masked figure warping into this peaceful plane, apparently on the hunt for Grant and his team. Who is this person? How can they reality jump so easily? Is it Ward? I have no idea, and it’s great that after only 4 issues I’m already hooked on these mysteries.
Matteo Scalera’s art continues to be fantastic as well, that opening chase scene was just epic stuff, and, given it must be a lot of work to design whole different realities every few issues, the amount of detail is amazing.