Our story begins in nature with a hooded figure among the trees. The expansive connectedness of the opening page sets the tone for the comfortably exciting tale to follow.
One of the women involved in the ritual is Detective Ro Black, our badass, motorcycle-riding protagonist with a deliciously witchy family history.
As a pagan woman, I was especially interested in reading this comic. “Black Magick #1” is written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by Nicola Scott.
The Multifaceted Female Protagonist
So often, stories lead us to believe that women are one thing. Through LARP (live action role playing), I’ve learned that women can embody multiple traits and roles. Just as I am a hardworking editor and a wife who cleans our home, my character started as a warrior and retained many of her ‘princess’ values. You can, in fact, be both.
“Black Magick” supports this from the beginning. Black is both a ritualist and a detective, apparently effective at both roles. When questioned about smelling like incense during her detective work, she does need to find excuses for her other activities, hiding a powerful, woman-centric aspect of her life.
Additionally, characters like the captain don’t necessarily underestimate her, but terms like “good girl” reveal that they don’t see Black’s full capabilities.
Illustration and Story
Ro Black wears an oversized bulletproof vest (or maybe it’s a regular-sized one) – whatever the case, it’s certainly not the form-fitting armor we’re accustomed to seeing on female comic book characters. It looks real. That consideration is important.
Some of the panels featuring multiple people lack enough definition or shape of the human bodies. However, the shapes of the bodies are at least outlined so they don’t mold into each other or the background.
I was concerned that the greyscale might become monotonous, but the artist fills any potentially boring space (like walls) with appropriate patterns and textures. The primary lack of color allows a much greater emphasis on these patterns and shapes.
As a content note, “Black Magick #1” contains strong language, though it is not used gratuitously.
The creators spend precious pages letting us become immersed in the Samhain ritual and the casual woman-first nature of many goddess paths. As a pagan, I feared that some of my knowledge might make the comic seem less real (kind of like how my husband, a former United States Marine, easily notices the mistakes and inconsistencies of military personnel characters in movies and TV shows).
After certain events unfold, we see Black’s badge hanging from her neck. It’s an officer’s badge, of course, but it’s also in the shape of a pentacle, a symbol of protection. Though she’s had to remove her armor and even most of her clothing, it’s clear that she’s protected. Her badge is also numbered “0333.”
The cleverly named “spell checked” section in the backmatter features a letter from editor Jeanine Schaefer detailing her own pagan experiences and her fascination with the potentially magical interior lives of everyday people.
The opening scene of the comic involves a Samhain celebration, making this comic’s release ideally timed. If you’re connected to the pagan holiday or want to extend the magic of Halloween, consider this title.
While the art is primarily greyscale, other colors are added sparingly and effectively for emphasis. The redness in an eye, for example, asserts a tangible, stressful emotion.
Overall, I highly recommend “Black Magick #1.” History buffs, pagans and fans of “Harry Potter” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” should certainly give it a read.
As is usually the case with Image publications, the cover price is a good value: the comic is 40 pages (including covers) for $3.99.
“Black Magick #1” was created by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott and edited by Jeanine Schaefer. It features lettering by Jodi Wynne, color assists from Chiara Arena, magazine cover by Rick Burchett, book and logo design by Eric Trautmann, and covers by Nicola Scott (with Eric Trautmann) and Jill Thompson.
Have you had a chance to check out this comic? Let us know what you think in the comments.