It’s a perfect life, a perfect society, and a perfect world. Black Science #41 explores the notion of perfection, or more accurately, a world without chaos. Spoiler alert: it’s tedious, routine, and boringly predictable. With the inevitable conclusion to the series looming ever closer, writer Rick Remender does the unexpected; he lets the villain win. Black Science #41 compares to classic episodes of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits; using science fiction and fantasy to weave a strong story with deeper insights. Khadir’s “utopia” is scary on a different level, presenting the outward appearance of societal bliss, all the while implementing a totalitarian regime underneath the surface. Issue 41 is a paced well; building the tension with increased anticipation scene after scene. Grant’s slow but sure descent into dissidence is at the core of Black Science #41 and is a “perfect” means of setting the stage for the series final bow.
From the very first issue, the conflict between Grant Mckay and Khadir was evident. Black Science #41 ratchets up a rivalry that continues to manifest itself in ugly ways. The list of transgressions is terrifying: Kadir sabotaged the Pillar Project (inciting the entire series), manipulated Sara into thinking Grant was dead, and nearly destroyed the epicenter of creation. For his transgressions, Grant banished Kadir to a desolate world; virtually a death sentence. However, Kadir turned the tables and coaxed an interdimensional witch into granting him the power he always sought.
The issue opens with an unfamiliar setting: a time and place of pure serenity. Clearly, this is not the world fans had expected. The interdimensional witch Daxta never had the opportunity to lay waste to the world; Kadir’s interference “saved” humanity. Instead of living in a post-apocalyptic nightmare, the world is in a dreamlike state of pure calculation. Kadir’s new world is regulated to the nth degree in every aspect of life. Everything from your daily routine, the temperature, and your food intake are monitored and controlled by artificial intelligence. Grant has always been the opposite of Kadir. Kadir is striving for structure while Grants chaotic lifestyle echoes an opposing approach. This new world is a manifestation of Kadir “order” come to life.
Remender writes the issue with a methodical, slow burn, adding palpable tension to every scene. From the opening pages–despite appearances–something is amiss. Sara plays the doting wife for the ever-watchful eye upon them; yet, Grant forces himself through the motions with gritted teeth. Readers soon learn that Grant has gone through therapy to remedy his behavior. The worst part of all, Grant is the only one who remembers anything from the McKay family’s past. The Eververse, the long winding journey, and Kadir’s hatred all lost… except for Grant. One final dig to supplant Kadir’s dominance over Grant. A constant reminder that Grant lost out to Kadir, and he must live with it. This proves to be the final straw that sets off Grant, the final spark that sets off the powder keg within Grant. Black Science has always been a series about the maternal struggle, and the ongoing battle to balance work and family. Having lost his family by way of their memories, Kadir has struck a significant blow against Grant.
That final touch is telling, adding detail and nuance to the issue. Despite Kadir’s power, he needs to know–needs to hear– Grant admit defeat. A potential chink in the omnipotent armor. Grant may have lost his mind for science, but the former head of the Anarchist League of Scientists has always been resourceful. Throughout the entire series, Grant has failed, time and time again. But every failure, regardless of how epic, only sparks Grants ability to rise again. I urge readers looking for an emotional charged comic to pick this one up at their local comic shop.
With every review, I will continue to applaud artist Matteo Scalera’s work. His unique style at a consistently high rate deserves praise. Matteo’s art in Black Science has become an integral piece to the very identity of the book. Forty-one issues in and I can’t imagine another artist taking the helm of Black Science.
Black Science has hooked fans from the very start with its weighty subject matter combined with pure science fiction fun. Black Science #41 captures the emotional undertones of the series while preparing for the inevitable two-part conclusion. We’re sad to see the Black Science go, but happy in knowing that the series is going out on such a high note. Black Science #41 is an unmissable chapter to one of Remender’s best works to date.