Zeb Larson reviews Black Science #18…
The last surviving Dimensionaut delves deeper into the beating heart of the Godworld to uncover the secrets of the Eververse, and a lurking shadow of his own past.
Black Science #18 continues the psychedelic, bizarre trip into Grant’s subconscious as Grant and Brian (?) review more of Grant’s childhood in a place that may or may not be real. The more you look at his childhood, the more you find yourself feeling sorry for Grant, his many mistakes and failures notwithstanding. Plus, we get to spend a lot of time in a quasi-19th century pub full of talking animals, and a traumatic puppet show. Emotional pain and surreal environments? Black Science is firing on all cylinders here. I will be discussing spoilers ahead, so consider yourself forewarned.
Grant and Brian wind up in a new place that looks sort of a mid-19th century London, only populated with a combination of humans and anthropomorphic animals. They head into a pub called McKay’s, where they drink for a little bit. After encountering a frightening Rebecca doppleganger, a strange man puts on a puppet show that is slowly revealed to be a reenactment of Grant’s childhood. Grant was the one who told his father about his mother’s infidelities, which ended with his father committing suicide. The monster from the last issue returns after Grant sees his children and Sara, and it becomes clear that Grant is haunted by guilt from his childhood as he battles it. Yet Brian pulls him back, reminding Grant that his father’s death was not his fault, and they leave through another portal.
Brian can’t be real, can he? All of this weird reality is a way for Grant to live through the pain and guilt that’s running through, right? Or maybe not. In a big enough multiverse, you could have a dimension just devoted to putting inhabitants through some desperately needed therapy. Still, it seems unlikely that Brian is really with Grant. He is Grant’s superego or conscience trying to pull him out of the pit he’s put himself in, trying to put the ghosts of his past behind him.
On a different note, I actually ended this issue feeling genuinely sorry for him. Remender is turning the knife once again right as I was feeling fairly sick of Grant, who for all his good intentions has been an arrogant wrecking ball in other people’s lives. It will be interesting to see what else Grant has to work through as this journey continues. Grant’s whole life it seems are good intentions being unable to make a better world. It’s not his fault that his father killed himself or that his mother was so awful; that would be beyond any child’s control. Now that he accepts that he couldn’t control that, maybe he can deal with some other things.
What comes next? Brian ends by saying that somebody wants to help Grant. Who is that going to be? I’m almost hoping this soul-searching hasn’t ended yet, if only so it keeps taking us to some really psychedelic therapeutic settings.