Rick Remender's return to the Pulp-SF territory of Fear Agent is a welcome one, and another great series continues Image's transformation from the worst comic publisher ever, pushing nothing but Spawn spinoffs and Witchblade-The Darkness-Youngblood type crap (with little to recommend them except 'super-collectible' platinum foil variants and the fact that every other issue is a rebooted 'super-collectible' 1st-issue), into a pretty damn good one, under Robert Kirkman's iron-fist. Matteo Scalera's artwork is reminiscent of the work of European artist Mastantuono (whose book Elias the Cursed was released a couple years ago by Humanoids); his versatility and imagination match up well with Remender's fantastic conceptual detours, and of course, the violent, sometimes horrific shocks he writes so well.
One of the best thing's about Fear Agent was the narrative freedom, as Remender created an atmosphere that straddled irony and earnestness and allowed the reader to accept every crazy twist as it came, without scoffing or criticizing, embracing the story and characters without pretense. He opens those same doors of possibility in Black Science, as punk-rocker turned not-so-theoretical physicist Grant Mackay and a group including his two children, his assistant/lover Rebecca, and his hostile boss Kadir, end up on a rudderless trip through the endless variations of reality, most of them ridiculously dangerous and utterly alien, thanks to an act of sabotage that unexpectedly activates their reality traversing device called 'the Pillar'. Unable to repair the controls that someone on board is responsible for destroying, they are helpless to stop the Pillar as it punches through each new 'layer' of stacked realities they dub 'The Onion'. This is not quite 'prime' Remender, however. The character are not cohering the way they did in Fear Angent, and the captioned meditations and philosophizing that worked in that series isn't particularly successful here. We don't need to be privy to Grant's every doubt and fear and guilt, and since the reader doesn't know what they think of him yet, it feels like over-sharing. Letting the plot reveal the characters is harder, but more effective. The action moves quickly, anyway. With all the developments of volume 1, especially the stunning conclusion, I'm looking forward to volume 2. Highly recommended. (82/100)