John of All Trades – Black Magick Volume 1: Awakening, Part 1

BlackMagick_01-1Title: Black Magick Volume 1: Awakening, Part 1

Writer: Greg Rucka

Art: Nicola Scott

Publisher: Image

Price: $9.99 (Paperback, 132 pages)

Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott. I mean I’m already there.

Greg Rucka has been one of my favorite writers of comics and novels for over a decade. Rucka has a track record of writing books with strong lead characters that have their wrinkles as well. The characters aren’t perfect people but instead are real people in imperfect situations that try to do their best despite whatever issues they may have. Sometimes they don’t succeed. Rucka’s reputation is also one for creating strong female characters. I’d love to get to a point where that doesn’t seem unusual.

The lead character in this book is Rowan Black and she leads a very interesting double life. She is a detective with the Portsmouth PD and a witch. Like an actual, magic practicing, talisman carrying witch. With spells and stuff. We only get a peak at what a normal witchy type ceremony looks like before Rowan is called from her coven (I’m not sure if that is the right word), to deal with a hostage situation. Things go south, of course, but we find out that there are forces present that are working to challenge Rowan and her comrades. The threat is real, the threat is powerful, and the threat has its eyes on Rowan Black. Black will need to call on all of her resources as a witch and a cop if she is going to survive, let alone win, this battle!

Nicola Scott is an incredible artist and I’ve particularly enjoyed her art on Birds of Prey, Secret Six and Earth-2 for DC Comics. That said I think this might be her best work yet. The book is primarily rendered in black and white with shades of gray. At first glance, I thought that with all the night scenes the book might be too dark, but Scott pulls out a ton of detail from out of those medium tones and the black and white contrast works incredibly well thematically with the story.

The artwork in the book is not completely uncolored as Nicola gets color assists from Chiara Arena. The color is used judiciously to highlight events featuring magic and the effect is amazing. The color pops from the grayscale and you can feel your heart tick up a beat as each bright talisman is used and each spell is cast. Don’t get me wrong, Scott’s work on the uncolored pages is gorgeous, the color is just used so brilliantly that I needed to point that out.

For fans of the work of either of these creators in the past, this book is a must read. I’m not generally a fan of magic based books (I’m more of a sci fi guy) but everything about this story is so compelling that I just couldn’t resist. I will mention that there is adult language, violence and some brief nudity (depending on how long you look at the page) so I’d advise you read it over first and decide if it is appropriate before you share it with people bothered by that sort of thing. For mature readers though, Volume 1 of Dark Magick is a very compelling and entertaining first chapter in what I hope will be a long-running series.

Categories: John

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