Zeb Larson reviews Black Science #16…
Catastrophe looms as the traitor in their midst triggers an event that will change the League forever…and cost Grant everything he holds dear. Nothing will be the same after this one.
God, Rick Remender really knows how to twist a narrative knife into an emotional wound. We deal with the fallout of last issue’s death and Grant’s attempt to do something heroic, and as you might expect none of it goes the way it’s supposed to. If anything, the team is now right on the point of collapse. There’s no easy heroic redemption for any of these people, and even Grant’s hollow attempts at victory will be undone by something chasing them. I will be discussing spoilers in this review, so consider yourself forewarned.
As Grant falls, he remembers when Rebecca first told him she loved him-and in doing so, convinced him to keep working on the portal. Grant manages to catch the device and resume his vaccination of the planet. Elsewhere, Shawn and Rebecca configure the portal, but Shawn figures out that the damage that it took means it’s only good for one more jump. He also sees that Rebecca has input the coordinates to an alternate earth, and when he confronts her, she hits him in the head with a wrench. Kadir, having gotten free from his attacker almost manages to stop her, but Grant returns and plows into Kadir, blaming him for the death of the Shaman and Shawn’s wounding. He only just manages to stab Kadir before Pia can tell him that Rebecca did all of it, and then they jump. Meanwhile, Grant’s cure takes effect just in time for their former crewmate, now possessed by gas ghosts, to possess the entire planet.
So much for Grant’s redemptive arc. Acting blindly, he has wounded if not killed Kadir and allowed them to be sent to another earth, with a broken pillar. To paraphrase Belloque, he chose the wrong lover. Even his redemptive act is an utter failure, as the people of that world are cured just in time to be possessed by a thoroughly malevolent group of beings. Kadir’s brief bit of narration really works in beautiful, tragic contrast to Grant’s here, as Kadir declares himself a ruthless pragmatist. “Nobility only gets you killed.” Not quite, Kadir. In the case of Grant, nobility gets other people killed. Kadir’s basic self-interest might have saved them all; with a damaged pillar, two wounded or dead teammates and the wrong coordinates, God knows where they’re going.
I also love the extent to which Rebecca’s actions have been prefigured all along. It was always going to come down to this; if she didn’t get herself killed first, then she was going to end up dragging the team along like this. And the flashback really paints a darker and much more manipulative version of her than ever I’d expected. Was she playing Grant the whole time, or was it a mixture of love and deceit that set her down this path? And once Grant figures out the extent to which he’s been played, how exactly will he react? With Shawn and Kadir’s fates partly in her hands (if not Grant’s as well), it’s almost hard to believe that she’ll survive. We’ll just have to see where they end up.
The fallout from Issue #17 is going to be delicious when we finally get it. No date has been posted for it yet. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long.