TNTM Trade of The Week: Black Science Volume 1 How To Fall Forever

Rick Remender @Remender
Matteo Scalera @ScaleraMatteo

The Ambassador and I actually read and reviewed the first four issues of this comic book series on our Comicast(comic book podcast). We picked it up primarily on the basis that it was the phenomenal writer of Fear Agent, Uncanny X-Force, and Low, Rick Remember. That's usually a safe bet. Then with Italian artist, Matteo Scalera, of Secret Avengers and Indestructible Hulk, it seemed like a sure thing. Even though the art is well done I couldn't get completely into this book.
When I read it in issues I couldn't get into it because of the characters but when I reread it in trade that wasn't the problem. The first time around I didn't like it because I didn't care about or sympathize with any of the characters. That changed rereading it in graphic novel form though. It was easier to see and understand the arc of the characters as I read it all the way through. Nonetheless, I still couldn't get completely invested in the characters and story.
The first characters you see are Grant McCay and his wife running and hiding from some humanoid frog creatures. It's not long at all before he loses his wife. All the while he is racing to meet back up with his kids and fellow crew of dimension hopping scientists before the dimension hopping machine makes its next jump. Call me cold and callous but I had no reason to care about this man, his wife, kids, crew, or his drive to get back to them. As the story unfolds this feeling is made even more justified as you find out that Grant is kind of a piece of shit. He's cheating on his wife with a fellow coworker and takes his kids dimension hopping like a dumbass. There's other characters that are interesting but their time is short lived so it's hard to get invested in them. There's an interesting twist towards the end but it just felt like too little too late by that point. Even the most interesting plot point was short lived in which the crew was stuck in a world where technologically advanced American Natives were battling Germans. The books calls it "some kind of inverse Manifest Destiny." The story is wrought with betrayal, envy, drama, lust, honor, glory, and valor. None of this makes up for the lack of substance though. I'm all for action but if there's no build to it there's not much of a point to it. You can't care about a person's death without knowing who they were first. That's what Remender failed to do in this first volume.
The blame is not all on him though. It is also the job of the artist to help tell the story not just the dialogue and narrative. As impressive as Matteo Scalera's work is, he only has a few comic book story arcs under his belt. Whereas Remender is somewhat of a seasoned comic book writer so I have to believe he has to know better. Scalera has a very dark, gritty, edgy, somewhat messy, sketchy, and line heavy art style. At times it is very colorful and vibrant but for the most part the color palette is a dark one. There is a lot of expression in the faces but it seems like they are reused quite a bit. Matteo has a wondrous imagination as he creates a multitude of worlds made of odd, peculiar, and interesting creatures. Still, I could not help but feel this was a poor man's Fear Agent.
On both parts, writing and art, this book seemed like a cheap knock off of Remender's own work, Fear Agent. A lost time traveler that dies at the end with a similar art style just felt too much alike even if that's where the comparison ends. I'd rather read Fear Agent over this any day. This book has a lot of potential to be great but this volume didn't do it for me therefore I'm not going to take the time, money, and effort that it takes to find out. I feel awful saying this about a Remender book but it's a Skim for me.
Verdict: Skim

You can pick up this comic at Age Of Comics or
 Twin Suns Comics & Games


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