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Black Magick Vol.1 (Review)


Writer: Greg Rucka

Artist: Nicola Scott

Color assists: Chiara Arena

Letterer: Jodi Wynne

Publisher: Image Comics

Rating: 10/10

As usual Rucka does a great job of giving the reader a chance to find out the character’s backstory and world-building as you go along rather than throwing it all at you in the first issue. The pacing is easy to follow and after each issue you are left wanting to know more.

The story follows Rowan Black, a detective for the Portsmouth PD. The art style and tone of the book begins as very gothic-noir, with the first few scenes giving off a much older time period than in actuality.

The first issue starts with a witchcraft ritual in the woods that gets interrupted by Rowan’s phone going off calling her to an emergency hostage situation. While Rowan does not interact long with her coworkers at the PD we are able to figure out that they do not know about her being involved in witchcraft and learn a bit more about her personality. Rowan is snarky and looks like a total badass. She seems to have a good relationship with her colleagues and there is mutual respect despite her being the only woman there. The perp targets Rowan specifically and seems to know more about her and her witchcraft than anyone else should. While he does not survive the encounter the plot moving forward follows the aftermath of the event in both her professional life and in her personal life as a witch who was being targeted. There is a good blend of police procedural reminiscent of Gotham Central by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka, with a mystery and urban fantasy aspect revolving around Rowan.

There are teases of Rowan’s witch-life in the first two issues but it isn’t until issue three that we get to learn more about that side through her and her coven leader Alex and more about the threats they face because of it. Rowan is the key aspect that merges these two worlds together and while it is almost expected that she would appear to have these two separate sides of her, her personality is consistent throughout and we see that Rowan brings aspects of being a detective and a witch even when she is trying to keep the latter under wraps. The biggest evidence of this is the friendship she has with her work partner Morgan and her coven leader and close friend Alex. While they both know her mainly from different environments Rowan’s character is consistent with both even while she is being targeted.

Personally I am a sucker for both witches and crime procedurals so Rucka had me hooked from the get-go. The fantasy aspect is different from some of Rucka’s other well-known works but if you are a fan of his writing and world-building you should definitely check this out.

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