Black Magick | Issues 1-5: “Awakening” | Image Comics | Writer: Greg Rucka | Artist: Nicola Scott | Letterer: Jodi Wynne | Color Assists: Chiara Arena
Bodies are piling up in Portsmouth, and it all began when police detective Rowan Black was called in to specially handle a hostage standoff. The deranged man had been compelled to commit the crime just to get to Rowan, who he knows is a witch. Rowan is then forced to kill the man to protect her life and her secret.
The first arc in this series follows Rowan as she tries to figure out who is targeting her, and the origins of the magic they’re using to do so. She involves her friend and fellow coven member, Alex, who at first is reluctant to believe a mysterious group called The Aria may be using magic against Rowan, or at all.
Alex’s involvement gives us a taste of the types of mystical creatures we can come to expect from this series: A few offhand remarks between the two friends suggests the existence of vampires as well as witches, and while performing a spell, Alex is attacked by a demon who snarls in rhymes, taunting before going in for the kill.
Rowan isn’t able to share her true self to everyone who is close to her. While investigating a murder with her partner, Morgan Chaffey, Rowan has to keep him from learning she is a witch and connected to the crime. He seems to truly care for her and he’s observant, so I’m not sure Rowan will be able to keep him in the dark for much longer.
To further complicate matters, a mysterious Frenchman arrives in town, also interested in the cases Rowan is working and looking for witches. Whether he means Rowan and her coven any harm remains to be seen.
Black Magick is beautiful series, crafted in black, white, and grays that give it a film noir feel, and this is further felt in Greg Rucka’s sharp writing and masterful storytelling. The man knows how to unfold a mystery.
Nicola Scott’s characters are wonderfully rendered and feel like photographs of real people you know. Together with Rucka’s words, she’s given Rowan a tough exterior, but also a clear compassionate side. The use of iridescent color only to signify magic was a wonderful choice and makes you feel as if you’re truly witnessing something special when it occurs.
The back matter in the first five issues give a lot of insight into the creators’ thought processes and inspirations. You can tell much love, care, and research went into this series.
You can pick up the issues separately on Comixology or your local comic book shop, and the first volume (containing issues 1-5), Awakening Part 1, will be available on April 27th. I’ll be reviewing the second volume at the end of the next arc.
Black Magick, Vol. 1
Definitely pick this series up if you enjoy crime novels with a touch of the supernatural. I am most excited by the promise of a story with a deep and rich backstory that is as compelling as the danger and magic to come.