I reviewed the first two volumes of Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s Black Magick series for Cannonball 10. Given the gap in time, I did a quick reread so that I could remember what was going on for this third volume. This series is pretty cool, dealing with police work and witchcraft/demons. The main character Rowan Black is a witch and police detective who finds her worlds colliding when a series of murders seems to indicate the presence of dark forces that are coming for Rowan herself.
The first two volumes introduced the reader to Rowan, her best friend and sister-witch Alexandra and her work partner Morgan. Rowan’s family history is one of powerful witches who eventually are burned by witch hunters. In volume 1, a strange hostage situation and the discovery of the body of a known criminal leave behind clues for Rowan that dark magic is somehow involved. When she steals a piece of evidence so that her friend Alexandra can “read” it, Rowan’s partner Morgan sees what she has done and suspects that Rowan herself is responsible for the murders. What Alexandra discovers is that the witch hunters, known as the Airy, are not in fact involved with these strange events and may actually be allies in uncovering the truth.
In volume three, the relationships amongst these three characters get more complicated and dangerous. Morgan has kept his suspicions to himself, but the break up of the Morgan/Rowan detective duo has raised eyebrows and drawn the attention of internal affairs, which has been keeping a special eye on Rowan anyway. (I should note that only Alexandra knows Rowan is a witch; the people at work know she is Wiccan but not about her powers.) Alexandra has made contact with Laurent, the leader of the Airy, and while their initial meeting is filled with mutual distrust and anger, they eventually become romantically entangled as they work together to try to uncover the mystery of the murders. Meanwhile, the demonic forces, which take Tim Burtonesque forms, make contact with Rowan. They are clearly responsible for the evil deeds, but it seems that their goal is to win over Rowan to their side. Rowan resists, but she is also discovering that her own powers are far more formidable than previously known. All of her friends are in danger and at some point it looks as though Rowan will have to decide how much of her power she is willing to use, and what she is willing to sacrifice of her own moral fiber in order to keep the people she loves safe.
The story telling remains pretty good for this series. While I did find some of the plot related to the demons to be a bit murky, it most likely is meant to be that way; we are all finding out what Rowan is finding out at the same time. The art by Nicola Scott is fantastic. These stories are illustrated in shades of gray and black with occasional pops of color when magic is in play. The amount of detail in scenes when using only shades of gray is just stunning to me. I love this art. The series continues to intrigue me and I’m hoping a fourth volume will be on the way soon.