Greg Rucka writes good female characters. Anyone who has read his work knows this to be true, so really, I should have gone for something like Black Magick a lot sooner since it’s an Image book, giving the creators a lot of creative freedom, and yes, it does have a female protagonist.
And hey, let’s put Nicola Scott on artwork while we’re at it! That’s bound to be something I might dig, so I checked out the first trade, subtitled Awakening.
Rowan Black is a detective for the town of Portsmouth. She’s also a witch with magical abilities, a member of the coven who, in the opening pages of the trade, accidentally interrupts a ceremony when her phone goes off. But she has to go. There’s a hostage crisis downtown, and the gunman holding everyone hostage wants Rowan there. He knows all of the police’s tactics and how to neutralize them, but there’s something else going on: he also knows Rowan is a witch, and that’s something that’s only really known to the other members of the coven. Rowan knows the man is under a spell, and she can’t stop him from killing himself not long after she confronts him alone.
What follows is a mystery to Rowan. The only person she knows magically powerful enough to bewitch a man like that is the coven leader Alex, and she didn’t do it. Rowan finds herself in a situation where various clues come up, all pointing at someone knowing who she is, but all things her police colleagues don’t recognize. There is an anti-witchcraft group that Rowan and Alex know about, and while an attack on the coven by this group wouldn’t be out of the ordinary, they also don’t really use magic. So, who or what is responsible for these attacks?
Rucka, as expected, did a good job here. There are only five issues on hand here, and the series does set out both an ongoing plot while not resolving the final mystery of who exactly is after Rowan. All that is revealed is that some mystery beings are after Rowan. The anti-witch group, meanwhile, is also involved on the side. As for the supporting cast, Rowan’s partner on the force is a man who seems to be inclined to hit on her despite being married, but that man’s pregnant wife is also a friend to Rowan. Alex, meanwhile, is something of a wise leader type, and it is Rucka’s work, so of course he added a tall blonde to the series in the form of Alex.
But one of the biggest treats here is Nicola Scott’s artwork. Colored mostly in black and white, it manages to create the proper mood for the series, and while I have seen her work in the past, I don’t think I have ever been this impressed by it before. Combining her (mostly) black and white artwork with Rucka’s story makes for a great read, and I really hope to get back to this soon. Rowan makes a nice addition to Rucka’s stable of great female characters, and Scott’s artwork makes the book even better than many of his other works. I’d say check this one out.
9.5 out of 10 weird European guys.