Zeb Larson reviews Black Science #20…
Black Science dials back on some of the good vibes in the previous issue, but it does not go back to punishing Grant either (at least not yet). Instead, we get to go back to a previously visited place, where Grant can see some of the consequences of he and his companions’ visitations. Honestly, I don’t know what to make of this issue. How do we situate Grant’s moral arc and new attempt at redemption based on what happens in this issue? Has Grant really turned over a new leaf, or are there inconsistencies in Grant’s redemptive journey? More on that later.
After jumping, Grant wakes up on a familiar world (the techno-Native American world), but facing a far more dangerous enemy: the millipedes. He finds Ward’s corpse and listens to a recording before remembering a time when he urged Ward not to have a family. I’m not sure what to make of this. The past three issues were all about Grant trying to end his self-loathing and turn over a new leaf. Back on Godworld, Grant seemed to realize that he could never be an actual hero as he was engaged in the same old self-flagellation. Yet he comes back to this world and sees the body of Ward, and he’s right back into feeling guilty and promising to “make it right.”
Seeing his friend’s body, he realizes that another Grant came to this world with a ship (and an armory). Seeing the destruction the millipedes are doing, Grant decides to take the fight to them. After going action-hero on a mob of them, he retreats to his ship and vows to take the fight to them again. But haven’t we heard this before? Grant said the same thing back on the neo-Roman world and he went charging off to “make things right,” and it ended up being a disaster. What’s different about it this time?
The idea of a “new Grant” would come across a lot more strongly if we got to see what exactly is different, but that didn’t really happen in this issue. Grant beats himself up for a mistake or something he did in the past (and just like last time, this time it wasn’t really even his fault), and he charges off to do something heroic. It just feels like we’ve been here before, and now he wants to go fight the incredibly dangerous and genocidal death cult and hope for the best. Of course, it would be interesting if after all that on Godworld, we learned that Grant’s “lesson” wasn’t all it seemed to be. Maybe Grant took away the wrong impression, or Godworld wasn’t as benevolent as it seemed to be, or something else. Maybe Grant finally needs to accept that he can’t control everything.
Well, maybe this arc is going to surprise me. If it continues to play it straight, I’m going to be pretty unimpressed, but then again, Remender is known for surprise twists or driving a knife in your emotional back when you’re not looking.