Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Nicola Scott
Release Date: 30th August 2017
After last issue’s fantastically shocking reveal about Rowan’s past, we’re thrust back into the main story here, and back to the investigation. I’d almost forgotten that Stepan of The Hammer had been sent to investigate Portland for Witchcraft, or that Rowan had stolen the zippo lighter from evidence.
It’s my opinion that you simply can’t help but like Black Magick. Part of its draw (or should that be charm?) is that the momentum of the story isn’t rushed. It’s almost pedestrian, in fact. When done properly, there is a kind of power in that pace of writing and I think Greg Rucka is hitting a bit of a purple patch here. This issue is quite cleverly bracketed by Stepan’s investigation and subsequent reporting back to The Hammer on his findings. Between these bookends, we follow Rowan’s investigation into the murder, and into what happened to Alex at the end of Awakening.
The construction of the tale is a bit like the layering of an onion; small reveals are conducive to the speed of the narrative which adds to your enjoyment of the story. It’s staggeringly clear that Rowan’s partner realises she’s taken the zippo lighter from evidence, and Rowan knows it, but neither of them vocalise it. It’s there, like a growing stigma between them. Yet, I can’t help interpreting that a little differently. To my mind, this story is opening, and there is a lot more to Rowan’s family name than we realise. I can’t help but wonder if Chaffy is her partner for a reason, and then I wonder if thinking too much into this … and then I smile and curse because this is exactly the kind of cat-and-mouse game between author and reader that I love.
There isn’t a lot more one can say about Nicola Scott’s art that hasn’t been said before a thousand times. You know you are going to get a quality product, and her collaboration with Gregg Rucka on previous projects shows that there is an ease here between creators. There is a softness to the art, an emotional quality that shines through and gives relevance to the subject. Her characters’ faces communicate volumes and the colour assists by Chiara Arena are little Easter Eggs that we anticipate in each episode. It’s a wonderfully stylised creation that doesn’t tire and adds so much to the complete package of the work.
Black Magick is becoming its own animal, and you can almost sense it stretching its legs as it prepares to take us on a journey. Where that journey will lead, I’m not entirely sure, but I’m all-in. The story is teasing and playing with the reader, and currently it feels like we’re at the precipice of something. What, I don’t know, but the mix is there and the ratios seems to fit. This issue feels right and reads like temptation, I’m enthusiastic for where it will lead.
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The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.