Black Magick #1 Review (Week of October 28)
Black Magick is a comic that you would be a fool not to check out. Greg Rucka scripts a thoroughly entertaining introduction to a modern day witch and Nicola Scott paints her like an angel. It’s a beautiful combination. Rucka’s story focuses on a religious practice that is apparently more common than I realized. A quick google of ‘Wicca’ is quite interesting. It’s the largest religion within Neopaganism, which, in over simplistic terms, involves practising ancient spiritual traditions of everything from Druidic, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Sumerian religions. Apparently, most witches are “solitary practitioners”, while “…others form covens which are informal groups of Wiccans”. Even more interesting is that most modern day wiccans keep their practice secret with less than 20% going fully “public” with their religion. Editor Jeanine Schaefer (a self-described former Wiccan practitioner herself) encourages the reader to wonder, “what if they can also do magic” and what effect would such magic have on them and the world around them?
To answer these questions, Rucka assembles his own talented creative coven. Rowan Black is a 29 year old Detective who is called away from a Wiccan ritual (much to the dismay of her fellow witches and wizards) to play a direct role in what first appears to be a typical hostage crisis. All is not as it seems however as the hostage taker specifically requests to meet with Rowan. The criminal claims to know Rowan’s secret and refuses to reveal his name to Rowan as apparently a witch can do all kinds of unpleasant things if she knows your true moniker. The distraught man has a murderous agenda but one in which he does not feel very much in control of. The resolution of Rowan’s predicament involves some magic culminating with a warning to her fellow wiccans that “It’s starting again”. Exactly, what “it” is, I don’t know, but I have every intention of putting this comic on my pull list to find out.
Now let’s talk about the art. Nicola Scott paints this entire issue. At first I was taken aback by the illustrations because I am so accustomed to seeing Scott’s pencils embellished with beautiful colors. What she does different here involves a deliberate use of painted black and white pages with very strategic use of colors (by the talented Chiara Arena). The reader only receives the visual of carefully chosen color when Rowan uses her magic. It is a tactically ingenious creative choice that complements Rucka’s plot. The limited use of color has the added benefit of reinforcing the fact that Rowan is obviously one of those ‘practising Wiccans’ who chooses to keep her choice of religion secret. Her life appears to be very ‘black and white’…until those rare moments when she must make her magic’s colorful presence known. A further heightening of the visual experience is the lettering of Jodi Wynne who proves up to the task in establishing clarity as to when Rowan casts a spell, or at the end of the comic where Wynne renders a stylistic copy of ancient Wiccan script.
As if the story itself was not enough, the back of this comic features Rowan Black’s secret family tree, which makes clear that her Wiccan practice is one that goes back generations, and a written account of a young child’s witness of a witch burning in 1562. All of this magic for the low price of $3.99! Unlike some comics, this one really delivers quality bang for your buck. On a final note, if you would have mentioned the word ‘Wiccan’ to me prior to reading this comic, I would have given you a blank stare. Having read all of it, including all of the delightful commentary at the back, (and further explore my curiosity on Wikipedia) I actually feel I learned something. From a comic; God forbid.
I will now engage in my own ritual and award this comic a score. I bequeath it a 9/10.