Black Science Vol. 1: How to Fall Forever by Rick Remender has been growing in my esteem since I finished reading it last night. Initially I was put off by the douchery of Grant McKay, the protagonist of the comic. The story opens in medias res with Grant bemoaning the choices that have led him to this dangerous situation, estranged from his wife, imperiling his children and his scientific team, running from scary fishmen riding giant turtles. But Grant reflects on this in a quantum physics sort of way. He is a dimensionaut (as they tentatively call themselves), traveling among layers of the everwhere, an onion-styled multiverse. He hopes that in one of these dimensions, he hasn’t screwed everything up. This is what drew me to the title in the first place–the multiverse aspect–and it’s what makes the story more than just a tale of adventure and redemption. Of course, there’s also plenty of that, but it’s entangled, if you will, with the heady mind-puzzle of parallel realities. That’s played out in the adventure in multiple, intriguing ways. Different versions of history, of the team, and of Earth itself become the randomized settings for the team’s survival after their travel device, the Pillar, is sabotaged by a mystery team member. In each place, they must survive long enough for the Pillar to make its next jump. Grant becomes much more sympathetic as the story goes on, as do even the most villainous of the characters. And no one is safe from the peril of their situations–will the next leap of the Pillar bring them to a safe, civilized place, or the battlefield of Germans against the technologically advanced Indian American tribes of alternate North America? Of course it leaves you hanging, as all good serials do. I’m certainly interested to see where the next jump will take the crew and if they’ll make it back home.
I appreciated the diversity of the cast of characters but was continually left cold by the art. The scenery was drawn and colored beautifully and moodily, but the humans were oddly modernist–all angular and cartoonish. Grant looked too much like The Monarch for me, and facial expressions were overdramatized. But I tend to be fairly elitist about my comic art. If it’s not by John Cassady, I probably won’t dig it. Most comic readers won’t likely be bothered by this.