Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review - Black Magick (@ImageComics)

"So mote it be."

The life of a detective is nothing if not exciting. It doesn't need much else to be any more exciting, but that's not going to stop Image Comics from adding more in Black Magick #1. The issue is written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Nicola Scott, color assists by Chiara Arena and lettered by Jodi Wynne.

Detective Rowan Black works robbery/homicide for the Portsmouth PD, but her greatest mystery is the truth about herself...both who she has been, and who she will become. Yet there are others in Rowan's world with very long memories, and the power that one person holds, another will always covet.

The opening for Black Magick #1 is pretty intense, until Rucka adds a bit of levity to it that immediately sets the tone for the book. Rowan has powers to her that normal detectives don't and Rucka draws upon that to carry the story into a situation that requires Rowan to rely on that ability in addition to her detective abilities. There's nothing new about blending together the supernatural and normal lives, but Rucka does so in a way that is intriguing. That blending turns a typical hostage situation into something more that requires Rowan to draw upon something dark to survive, which compels Rowan to question who exactly she is. Rucka excels at presenting strong, female characters and Rowan is certainly no exception, even if there are mysteries surrounding her past.

There's a powerful mix of photorealistic characters and sparsely detailed backgrounds throughout the issue. Scott illustrates characters with impassioned facial expressions to underscore the intensity of certain scenes, all of which defines the characters pretty cleanly. Most of the pages rely on a fairly typical panel layout, but there are a few instances where Scott deviates--for instance, one page features Rowan triumphantly arriving on a motorcycle that's set atop the panels. The book is largely black and white, save for a fantastic two-page spread toward the end where Scott and Arena depict a rather amazing display of a burning fire. The predominantly simple coloring gives the book an older sensibility to it that fits within the context of the characters involved.

Black Magick #1 has the sort of ending that's clearly meant to ask questions and does so, challenging the reader to wonder what's going to happen next. Rowan has something more to her than it seems upon first glance, drawing upon a relatively checkered past. Rucka's tale is paced cleanly and gets everything in place to further unfold down the road. Scott's artwork is relatively simple yet effective at conveying the action-packed life that a detective has to contend with. Black Magick #1 is a great first issue that promises to delve into the darker side of things as one woman discovers more about herself.

Black Magick #1 is in stores now.


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