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COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Black Magick #1

 
Black_Magick 1
Black_Magick 1
Black_Magick 1

 
Overview
 

Story by: Greg Rucka
 
Art by: Nicola Scott
 
Colors by: Chiara Arena
 
Publisher:
 
FG RATING
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/ 5


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To sum it all up..

MEET ROWAN BLACK If there is one fact that can attribute to writer Greg Rucka, he’s the industry’s ladies’ man. Just read some of his finest works like Queen and Country, Stumptown, Gotham Central, Whiteout, and Lazarus, to see how he portrays female lead characters as strong-willed individuals and at the same time, flawed and […]

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Posted November 1, 2015 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

Black_Magick 1

MEET ROWAN BLACK

If there is one fact that can attribute to writer Greg Rucka, he’s the industry’s ladies’ man. Just read some of his finest works like Queen and Country, Stumptown, Gotham Central, Whiteout, and Lazarus, to see how he portrays female lead characters as strong-willed individuals and at the same time, flawed and emotionally attached. Indeed, they are force to be reckoned with, but they are also vulnerable and charming whenever there are moments given. Most importantly, they show their genuine feminine qualities, even most of them have tomboyish attitudes and love big boys’ toys. That’s the intricate beauty of Rucka’s femme fatales and other female protagonists, and no surprising that he’s one of the most respected comic scribes nowadays. Right now, he brings us another potentially strong lady character in the persona of Detective Rowan Black in BLACK MAGICK #1.

There are two formats actually. One is the regular single-issue, and another is the magazine format, similar to the Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Fade Out #1 and Criminal. I elected to acquire the gorgeous and enlarged magazine edition that possesses more features than the regular counterpart. The magazine has the first chapter of the first story arc entitled “Awakenings”, Black’s genealogy that stretches way back to the 17th century Massachusetts colonial period, some ancestral accounts regarding Black’s ancestral connectivity, the “editor’s desk” portion, cover gallery, an extensive interview with Rucka and co-creator Nicola Scott, the “mug book” or sketch works, and a six page preview for issue #2. Capping this beautiful edition is the list of the entire Black Magick creative team, with photos to bout! This is the real deal and highly recommended! WORTH IT!

The new series is a fusion of some elements of the supernatural, noir, and police procedurals. As Rucka admitted in his interview in this premier chapter, Black Magick is his first time attempt of tackling witchcraft and other associated things while returning to his bread-and-butter genre, crimes and suspense. Indeed, this part kicks off with an annual ritual and then gears towards a delicate hostage crisis that turns unexpectedly as possible, which Rucka excels in that regards. This time around, the dialogues are as accessible as ever, even with the ancient texts and chants are not mere ramblings. The pacing is deliberately moderate as the tensions build up until that unexpected moment. And, the writer already plants some clues and/or red herrings that will actually factor in for the succeeding chapters to come, if not future story arcs. Moreover, his portrayal of the female detective is unquestionably credible and grounded, even to some parts that she needs to keep some private matters for herself, making the aura of mystery surrounding her more intriguing and interesting. Remember, this is just the premier issue.

Fellow co-creator Nicola Scott really “draws” so well. Her characters, particularly the leading one, exude immediate human portrayals and attitude though I believe the visual characterizations will greatly expand in the succeeding chapters. As for Black, the artist avoids making the fatale the stereotypical imagery of the modern-day “bruha” and fuses the modern sensibilities of the 21st century, alongside with the creations of some original tattoos (or sorts of sigils), which are pleasing to the eyes, actually. Indeed, Black is sexy and tough, yet the illustrator also prevents the overly sexualized for the sake of you-know-what stuff. And, the surroundings of Portsmouth are darkly and enigmatically gorgeous, particularly the forest where the ritual took place. Highly detailed, minimalist stylish, and even shadowy, Nicola provides a world-building of sorts of this potentially intriguing tale of the Black legacy. The chosen colors are watercolors black and white washes, which serve the general ambiance of this series, making it more mysterious, moody, even menacing whenever the action takes it turn. It’s evident there are digital colors applications made by Chiara Arena, but only on the most dramatic part of the story, and to imply of the powers possessed by the detective herself. But generally speaking, Nicola shines darkly and convincingly here.

There is some rather graphic imagery or two that may disturb some sensitive and religious types. And, there are nudities around, hence deserving a “mature” rating. Regardless, Black Magick #1 successfully opens another Rucka-female lead protagonist that has “dark and mystical” origins. Combining with his usual crime and suspense flair, this initial issue delivers on a great start, hopefully sustains that kind of consistency until the end of this “Awakening” arc. The rest of the female creative team, most especially Nicola Scott, also executes brilliantly artistically, clean and even evoking the sense of mystery. Black Magick #1 succeeds and let’s all pray Rucka and Scott provide us more intriguing witchy tales sooner than later!


Paul Ramos

 


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