Seth Tomko is a writer, college-level educator, and adventurer.
Various destructive forces have converged, and only Grant McKay’s team has what it takes to resist the invasions of Zirites, Draln, Doxta, and others as they all seek to use the Pillar and the knowledge of Black Science for their own ends. Grant, his family, and friends stretch themselves to the breaking point, as their foes seem endless and unrelenting. Just as one threat appears to be contained, another rises, often as a result of how they deal with previous problems. Amid the existential dilemmas are personal crises, too, as Sara comes to understand the full scope of what Grant and Kadir are doing, and the family and personal dynamics between characters create tension that adds urgency to the other, cosmic threats. Meanwhile, Kadir starts his own end game, wherein he seeks to use Grant’s knowledge to jettison their universe from the multiverse, effectively creating a new reality without regard for the consequences for everyone else. All of the action is bookended by relaxed, conversational scenes, the nature of which will have to be elucidated in later volumes.
Cornucopia of Generosity
Mixed into the constant action of this volume is a dose of character development. Pia must come to terms with having stolen her father’s knowledge of Black Science and what it means for her to have the genius she’s resented in him for so long. Nate, too, takes action to become the sort of man he always believed his father to be. Though his children have disparate views of who Grant is as a person, they both must embrace their identities as McKays to save themselves and the world around them. Sara, Chandra, Brian, and even Krolar all have substantial character moments, too, where they must make choices about how to confront what threatens them.
There is a discovery about a shared past with Kadir and Chandra that doesn’t seem to match with knowledge that has been presented in previous volumes. Kadir’s actions, however, do reveal the nature of his character. He believes he is doing the right thing, even if his choices are cowardly and selfish. That righteousness, though, cannot excuse him because it is the same mindset evidenced by the Zirites and the Draln; both people think they’re doing the right thing.
A World of Perfect Ideas
Black Science almost always has complex philosophical and ethical underpinnings, giving its science-fiction action an interesting texture. This volume is no different in that there is a mediation on Platonic thought (issue 33). The idea that the “onion” of the multiverse is a series of imperfect copies is certainly an interesting one along with the notion that at the center must be the original, perfect universe. This notion has been floated before in the series, but it is worth noting that this time, Kadir’s escape plan has them all moving in the opposite direction of this theoretically perfect world forever. This development carries more than a whiff of the suggestion that Kadir is wrong, and his choices might doom everyone.
The theory of the Platonic Multiverse, though, doesn’t not have to be true. Pia, while engaged in an effort to save all realities, remarks upon the amoral nature of the universe by saying, “Extermination isn’t a fluke—it isn’t evil—it’s simply the rule” (issue 32). The observation may not be pessimistic, but it does point out that there is nothing special or essential about any of the competing forces in the conflict. The Draln are no more or less favored than humans or the inhabitants of Tarana. The future is not ordained to any of them. Then again, Pia, who is a gloomier character than others, might also be wrong. Remender doesn’t provide any easy answers.
Symbols of the Perfect Originals
Extinction is the Rule is another fantastic volume in the Black Science series. In many ways, this volume reads like a significant part of the climax to which nearly all of the previous volumes have built. It will be interesting to see where it goes from here and the ways in which the various plot and character threads are closed.
Remender, Rick; Scalera, Matteo. Black Science, Vol. 7: Extinction is the Rule. Image, 2017.
- Black Science | Series | Image Comics
Image is a comics and graphic novels publisher formed in 1992 by 7 of the comics industry's best-selling artists, and is the 3rd largest comics publisher in the United States.
© 2018 Seth Tomko