Monday, 9 May 2016

Black Magick, Volume 1: Awakening Review (Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott)

Buh… wha… Greg Rucka… wrote a... GOOD comic…?! What am I saying, I’m losing my edge! Noooo….. NO - credit where it’s due and Black Magick was great! (Goes to lie down)

Rowan Black is a homicide detective on the Portsmouth PD - and she’s also a witch. Magic be real, witches! After a series of grisly ritual killings, she begins to suspect she and her coven are being targeted by an unseen enemy. Can she stop them before they destroy her? Well?! Oh, I guess we’ll find out in the next volume or so… 

(Returns from lying down, wondering aloud if Rucka’s bewitched me somehow) Rucka’s on familiar territory with the cop cast and police procedural storyline and all of that is handled convincingly. Throw in some magic for spice and you’ve got an unusual and interesting angle to approach what would otherwise be an average episode of CSI. The magic/wiccan stuff though is nothing original from the black cat familiar to the natural spells and sigils, even the nekkid rites, oh my! 

However also like Rucka’s other books, his protagonist, Rowan, is something of a blank. She’s a part of an enthralling story but never really stood out as distinct in her own right. She’s Rucka’s generic female main character this time dressed up in police clothes and dabbling in the occult - essentially the main character of Batwoman/Whiteout/Lazarus with a different look. 

But while this book is basically the first act - entirely table-setting - of a larger story rather than a book that contains its own arc, it was never boring or laborious. Corpses crop up with fairly alarming regularity who have all died in bizarre ways to keep your attention from straying. Then just when you’re losing interest in Rowan’s world the action shifts to a new group as the wider storyline is hinted at. And even though that other group’s goals are obscure at this point, Rucka shows just enough to make them compelling and satisfying to the reader. 

Nicola Scott’s artwork is superb. It’s almost entirely a black and white comic full of grey washes that look stunning. The occasional spark of colour is used when magic or fire is used making the scenes when they do appear very eye-catching and memorable. It’s a very beautiful comic from an extremely talented artist. 

I’ve never been a Greg Rucka fan and I started this one thinking that if it sucks I’ll give up after one issue - and then found myself tearing through it until I got to the last page! Black Magick is a very entertaining crime murder mystery sprinkled with magic throughout. I’m hooked and will definitely be coming back for Volume 2 to find out what happens next - the best reason to be following a series!

Black Magick, Volume 1: Awakening

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