Black Magick, Volume One: Awakening is a beautifully dark graphic novel.
Rowan Black is a female detective who is also a witch ( a fact that doesn’t seem to be known by her colleagues). The graphic novel begins with Black stepping out of a ceremony of some sort to answer an emergency call. A man is holding hostages and demands to speak with Black. He tells her that he knows who and what she is and that he knows her real name (which he whispers to her). And so begins a page-turning journey that is written well and illustrated beautifully.
Author Greg Rucka has written a really tight story with a fascinating main character in Rowan Black and a supporting cast that show a lot of potential as the series runs on. The story builds slowly but really, really well and the reader is able to discover aspects of the characters and the world without simply being told information. We get caught up in a mystery that is maybe 600 years old (or more) but is now centering on Rowan Black.
The magic seems dark and dangerous. This is not Disney magic, or even Harry Potter magic (which certainly gets pretty dark). This feels real and feels very frightening. And while Black works in this dark art, we take a liking to her and we want to see that she survives whatever is coming her way.
And because this is a graphic novel, the art is every bit as important to the story as the words.
Nicola Scott is the artist here and her work is simply tremendous. The work is primarily in a watercolor/ink wash of black, white, and grays with touches of color that really stand out because of how sparingly it is used. The art really sets the tone of the story and complements the writing very well.
While I very much enjoy reading ‘dark’ or ‘horror’ fiction, I’d have to admit that I wasn’t holding out high hopes. For whatever reason, I’ve found that horror seems so much harder to pull off when illustrated, but this is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year. I read it in one sitting, and I could not put it down until there was nothing more to read. All I can think about is: what happens next?!
Looking for a good book? Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott have a dark but awesome winner with Black Magick, Volume One: Awakening.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Black Magick, Volume 1: Awakening, Part One
author: Greg Rucka
artist: Nicola Scott
publisher: Image Comics
paperback, 128 pages