Black Magick is a really well written and beautifully drawn series by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott featuring a police detective named Rowan Black who, unbeknownst to her colleagues, is also a witch. In Volume I of what I can only hope will be a long running series, Rucka and Scott introduce the reader to Rowan, some of her fellow Portsmouth police officers, and another witch named Alex, who is also Rowan’s friend/lover.
The story opens with a Wiccan ritual in the woods interrupted by Rowan’s phone. Duty calls, and Rowan is off to the scene of a hostage situation. The captor has requested Rowan Black by name before he will even consider letting hostages go, but Rowan does not recognize this man and cannot understand why he wants her. When she enters the building and the hostages are released, Rowan realizes this man is not what he seems, that he is being used by forces beyond his or her control, and his goal is to burn her to death. Rowan is able to save herself but she knows from signs left behind that someone or something out there knows what she is. Internal affairs for the police force is wondering why the perp specifically requested Rowan, and it seems that some on the force might have their concerns about her. Her partner Morgan, however, is not one of those people. He and Rowan have been together for years, and while he senses that Rowan is keeping something inside, he trusts her implicitly. After a dead body surfaces full of clues indicating the use of magick for nefarious reasons, Alex tries to help Rowan figure out the identity of Rowan’s stalker. It seems clear that some powerful force is definitely gunning for Rowan, and in the thrilling climax of Volume I, Alex’s powers will be put to the test, while a shadowy group of individuals who seem attuned to the ways of magick are gearing up for involvement in whatever is about to happen in Portsmouth.
Rucka’s writing is sharp and smart, and the plot moves along at an exciting pace. We learn more and more about the characters and their relationships as the story progresses. This series has a gritty, noir vibe, and Rowan is just a cool character. I can’t wait to learn more about her history and her relationships with Alex and Morgan. The artwork by Nicola Scott is gorgeous. It’s largely done in black/white/gray tones, but flashes of color burst forth whenever Rowan uses magick. And I have to admit, I had never considered before now how very similar a police badge and a pentagram appear.
Black Magick promises to be a great series to follow, and since Volume II is already out, I’ll be getting that asap. Recommended for those who enjoy detective series, noir, and occult-ish overtones.