Story: Greg Rucka
Art: Nicola Scott
Publisher: Image Comics
Greg Rucka has been praised for his crime drama work (specifically, DC Comics’ Gotham Central, co-written with Ed Brubaker), and has plenty of experience writing strong female characters (Oni Press’ Queen & Country and DC’s Wonder Woman, as well as Gotham Central).
Nicola Scott has received much praise for her art, starting with Dark Horse Comics’ Star Wars: Empire, then on to DC Comics (Birds of Prey and Secret Six), and more recently she was the regular artist on DC’s Earth 2 (a title focusing on the Justice Society of America).
Black Magic follows Rowan Black, a Portsmouth Police Department Detective. The first scene reveals that Black is also a practicing witch. During a ritual, she is called to a hostage scene, where the captor has asked for her, specifically. Very quickly, it is revealed that he knows her secret, and that there are others who know it; others who want her dead because of who she is. Initially using her negotiation skills to save the hostages, she has to fall back on her Magic to save herself. There is also a text piece included at the end of the story, which gives some History from several hundred years before, and hints at a group that may have connections to witches, but who are not interested in involving themselves in the mass hysteria of the masses’ witch hunts.
I found the story to be a very comfortable read. It was not too heavy, or too thick, to read. Although police procedure (not among my favorite genres) is included, it is not the most important piece, and I enjoy the little bits of characterization we receive on Detective Black as well as that of a few of the witches and police officers. However, we still do not know much about any of the characters, so there is definitely something to look forward to in future issues. So far, the Magic is not a “main character,” so I have no idea how well that will be handled, story-wise. Hopefully, for me, Black will need to utilize both her Magic and police skills, together, to progress through the story.
I have been watching Nicola Scott’s art improve over the past few years, and I love seeing artists grow. Her painted style used for Black Magic is really beautiful. It is at once both realistic and pretty (it makes me think of the way I responded to John Bolton’s work in Black Dragon published by Marvel Comics’ Epic imprint back in the early 1980s), and seems perfectly suited to a combination of the gritty world of crime drama along with the beautiful, natural world of Magic. I absolutely cannot wait to see more of Nicola’s interpretation of the Magical world. My only issue with the art is that I would like more color. First, this book is not strictly black and white, so there is color, but it is a very flat color experience. However, the only colors seen, so far, are a bit during the ritual at the beginning (which could have used even more color, to add to the flavor of the scene) and a very small bit at the end (when Black uses her power to save herself). But, again, without seeing the entire series, there may be a story reason for this particular level of color usage that we do not know, yet.
Although I am not super excited about this series, yet, I think I want to know what comes next, so I plan to read the rest of the story. Black Magic is being published monthly. Issue #2 was released on November 25th and issue #3 was released on December 30th. Issue #4 will hit stores in January, and #5 in February. I will be looking for the collected edition of Black Magic, which will be released in the spring of this year.
Black Magic, and other great comics, can be found at Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex located at 4456 Main Street in Manayunk, PA! Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jdsherocomplex/