“No Authority But Yourself” part four is the penultimate issue of Rick Remender’s family-centric, science-fiction opera. The McKay Family has lived countless lives across a multiverse of possibilities, but every universe has faded into the proverbial ether, save for one, a world where uniformity is law. Black Science #42 is reflective of the themes and nuance that have made the series a must-read from the very start. Grants struggle between his desire vs. that of his family, order vs. chaos, obligation, and the repercussions of our actions. The issue is on the precipice of culminating years of storytelling and writer Rick Remender keeps readers engaged from start to finish, all the while implementing layers of detail, thematic storytelling, and a pace that captures the reader’s imagination. Black Science #42 is a can’t-miss comic book.
Grant McKay, the head of the Anarchist League of Scientists, is responsible for the Pillar Project and all that came after it. The Pillar has been the source of immeasurable turmoil that has echoed throughout a multitude of universes, threatening the very fabric of reality. Despite Grant’s best efforts to right years of wrongs, all of reality was on the brink of destruction.
Kadir appeared to save the day, defeating Doxta (a near-omnipotent transdimensional witch) once and for all, usurping her mantle as supreme ruler of the last world in existence; a world shaped to Kadir’s liking. This new world is “perfect,” where everything happens by design; orderly to the point of complete and utter predictability. Everything is constructed to the nth degree and allocated to Kadir’s whims. As far as everyone knows, this is how its always been, but Grant McKay knows the truth, and his inherent chaotic nature forces him to confront Khadir once and for all.
The previous issue was a slow boil — Remender introduced us to this world through the viewpoint of Grant McKay as this new meticulous way of life gnawed away at his very being. Remender built the tension throughout the issue until Grant expectantly burst at the seams. Black Science #42 picks up on a cliffhanger: Grant has Kadir at gunpoint, threatening to kill him unless he sets the world right. The friction in the scene is palpable, and the moment is a physical and metaphorical clash of ideologies hearkening back to the very first issue. With literally everything on the line, Grant pulls the trigger, forcing the remainder of Black Science #42 towards a high-octane race to the title’s finish.
Thematically, the issue is chaotic and hectic in tempo; an allegory for Grant’s anarchist spirit. The balance of order and anarchy are at play in many ways — consider last issue’s pace in comparison to Black Science #42. Khadir gives the order to kill Grant as well as his family. It becomes a race between the two to determine who can get to Sarah, Pia, and Nate first. Once again, Grant’s actions are taking a toll on his family. Grant may have had the best intentions in mind, but he struggles to get out of his own way. Grant’s family is at ease as we catch up to them. Sarah and Pia are planning Pia’s wedding, and Nate is finally making a move on the girl of his dreams. All seems well, until Grant interrupts, as he tends to do, with a new life-or-death scenario.
But therein lies the beauty of Black Science. The characters are flawed but entirely relatable. One fan put it best, “Grant is riddled with guilt, insecurities, and fear, but brimming with morality, passion, and hope.” For all his faults, Grant intended the Pillar Project to be a means of saving the world. Oppositely, Kadir is a villain, but not so in his own mind. He wants the world to be at peace, and he doesn’t understand that by doing he is stifling freedom of expression, diversity, and the beauty of unpredictability.
With every new chapter, it should be reiterated that artist Matteo Scalera’s work is the backbone of Black Science. Scalera’s art and Remender’s writing are synonymous with Black Science — any other comic team wouldn’t work on this title. Throughout 42 issues, Scalera work has shined. Whether it be lush landscapes, frenzied action sequences, or mind-bending character designs, Scalera captures the tone and essence of Remender’s writing with aplomb. Black Science #42 is no exception.
Remender and Scalera have unsurprisingly added another masterful chapter to Black Science with issue #42. The issue toes the line between pushing the story forward in a natural manner and continuing to satisfy what fans want from the series. Non-stop action, thematic storytelling, and a character-driven narrative define Black Science #42. With only one comic left in the series, Black Science #42 sets the stage for a climactic finish.