The character evolution and dimension hopping continues in “Black Science” #4 by Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera and Dean White, as the so-called Dimensionauts manage to escape the dark and war-ravaged alternate world that they were stranded on to one that’s a little more hospitable. Remender scripts a tense getaway as the protagonists fight off a technologically advanced army while trying to save one of their own as their sole opportunity out of this dimension approaches. Scalera continues to show off his skills at designing and drawing diverse alternate realities, while White’s painted colors embellish them as darkly or as colorfully as the environment dictates.
The most obvious fascination with this and recent issues of this series has been the current setting of the storyline, which has been a captivating reversal of early 20th-century history. Native American armies, armed with futuristic weaponry yet still charging into battle on horseback, have seemingly invaded Europe, whose own armies have no such technological advantage. It’s a seemingly incidental stop along the way for the story as it progresses, but it’s a plenty intriguing world that’s worthy of more exploration at some point. The new, brighter, more alien, and likely temporary locale is no less interesting, and the change of scenery and respite from battle gives Remender some time to focus on the characters as much as the situation.
The characters are interesting enough on their own; the cast includes a father and his children, along with his mistress, a security guard with military training and the designer of The Pillar, the very contraption responsible for transporting the cast between dimensions. One of them, by the way, is a saboteur, tampering with the machine and causing it to randomly teleport the crew to unknown destinations every few hours. The whole notion reads like a clever modern-day “Lost in Space” with an adulterous spin, and this issue plays into that notion, with the heroic soldier Ward acting to protect the family, and the cowardly and conniving Kadir doing whatever he can to save his project, as well as his own hide. This crew isn’t lost in space as much as lost between dimensions, but as they travel aimlessly from one odd world to another, they have to deal with internal strife on top of the usual family issues.
This issue typifies the addictively unpredictable feel of the series; there’s no way to know where everyone will end up next, what kind of challenges and dangers they will face, or who will start acting up. There’s even the introduction of a mysterious new character, although there’s a pretty good indication as to who it just might be, which stands to add a whole new dynamic to future issues. “Black Science” #4 delivers what the entire series has so far: surprises and suspense amidst a contemporary take on a classic sci-fi scenario.