Zeb Larson reviews Black Science #15…
The radical science that led to the Pillar’s creation came from the fevered passions of one man: Grant McKay…didn’t it? Dive into the dark history of Grant’s colleague and secret lover Rebecca as the clock ticks down to the Pillar’s final jump!
Rick Remender never wants things to be simple, either for his character or for the audience. Grant hits a few snags with his plan to try and vaccinate the city before they jump, but the real trouble is happening in the group as one member does not want the group to go any farther. Another member evidently has some secrets that he’s withheld from the other members, and as the inhabitants of this world close in on them, those secrets will violently spill out. I will be discussing spoilers in this review, so consider yourself forewarned.
Shawn reminisces briefly back to when Grant talked him out of continuing with his doctorate Berkeley, saying that the system would cage him and stop him from doing real science. In the present, Kadir harangues Shawn for cajoling Grant into acting like a hero, only to be quickly silenced. Grant takes flight and needs five minutes to get a cure dispersed, and he’s pursued almost from the get-go by the natives. While Kadir sulks away from the others, he’s attacked by a man named Tacitus, who calls Kadir Kronos and whom Kadir recognizes. Grant is stunned while in flight and falls, dropping the dispersal unit. The Shaman finally speaks up and demands that they destroy the pillar now, not when they get back to earth. He refuses to brook any discussion and fears that even more use will result in bloodshed. While scuffling with the others, he knocks Shawn down and is then shot in the head by Rebecca.
First of all, I have to say this. The promo mentioned we’d be getting more of Rebecca’s history, yet there was none of that in this issue. The issue worked well enough and we know enough about Rebecca to guess her motivations, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t frustrating.
That being said, everything fell apart quickly, didn’t it? One of the people who best understood their situation, as well as one of the only people who seemed to think through the consequences of his actions is now dead. Who was right in that situation? Staying would most certainly condemn the group to death, including the children. Yet the shaman may have a point: even if the pillar is fixed and sends them back to their home, he has no reason to believe they would dismantle it. One of them (Rebecca) wants to see the traveling continued, so why would it stop now? No, this isn’t going to be the happy ending of the series where they make it out in the nick of time, dismantle the pillar, and pick a safer line of work.
Then of course there’s Kadir’s fight with Tacitus and Kadir’s recognition of that person. It’s likely that Tacitus is simply a duplicate of somebody Kadir knew, but in a multiverse abounding with copies of people, we can’t entirely rule out another explanation. And how will Rebecca’s shooting of the Shaman square with what Shawn wants? Shawn may want to go home and start working for Frito Lay, but we know she doesn’t…and she has the gun. Nevermind what happens to Grant, who has a good chance of escaping his pursuers and making it to the Pillar: Rebecca is going to be the real problem.
Will this end well? Doubtful given the cover art and promo for next issue. Yet even without that, it does not appear that Grant’s foray into heroism is going to work out for the best. Losing the Shaman was a painful moment, but I suspect we’re going to have more of those to come.