Part police procedural, part supernatural thriller, the first volume of Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s Black Magick is a standout on every level — possibly the best work of their careers — and will leave readers eagerly waiting the follow-up.
Rowan Black is a detective with the Portsmouth Police Department — and a practicing witch. Not the type that dons a black hat and flies on a broomstick; no, contemporary witchcraft is a tad subtler than that. Still, Rowan has always struggled to keep both aspects of her life separate, and when she becomes the target of a mysterious organisation with a keen interest in the supernatural, everything she holds dear comes under threat.
Nicola Scott’s art is the true highlight of Black Magick — which takes nothing away from Rucka’s script, his characterisations, or the overarching plot, all of which are truly stellar — it’s just … wow. Superlatives are reserved for work like this. Scott utilises a unique grey wash, with only slight traces of colour, to great effect; and her panels are hyper-detailed, and her pages effectively constructed, to make this a real pleasure to read. It’s hyperbolic sure, but there’s no question: these pages confirm Nicola Scott’s status as the best artist working in comics.
A gripping page-turner from beginning to end, Rucka and Scott’s first instalment in their “witch noir” series is an absolute blast. They might not have created a new genre, but they sure as hell have redefined it. Forgive the pun, but Black Magick is absolutely spellbinding, and one of the best things I’ve read all year.
Imprint: Image Comics
Publisher: Image Comics
Publish Date: 3-May-2016
Country of Publication: United States
The earth is on fire. Its heroes – the resistance – have been shattered. Dead, or dying; its remnants an unorganized mess. Where is our greatest hero, the Last Son of Krypton, when we need him most; Where is the Man of Steel?
He’s the man responsible for it all. He is at the epicentre of this chaos. Superman is the herald for the greatest of evils, Darkseid.
What hope do we have now?
Volume 4 of the DC Comics series EARTH 2 starts explosively and only ramps up the action and destruction. THE DARK AGE is a perfect jumping on point for new readers unfamiliar with the its continuity; it’s the first arc from the new creative team of Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott (with help from Robson Rocha and Barry Kitson, and a plethora of talented inkers) who take advantage of the carte blanche allowed in the ‘Earth-2’ universe by putting these facsimiles of the heroes who have existed for decades into new scenarios.
It always feels redundant labelling a story ‘entertaining,’ when that should be the ultimate objective of any creative endeavour, but no better word describes EARTH 2. It’s an exciting, adrenaline-fueled ride, punctuated with great character moments – the backstory of the new Batman is wonderfully recounted, and is my favourite portion of this collection. Deftly written, Taylor’s script doesn’t allow for exposition or long-winded, redundant character exchanges – he’s focused on propelling the story forward, ditching the clutter that hampers momentum. And with Nicola Scott as the primary artistic contributor, the book looks fantastic; hers is a realistic style, but executed with dynamic flair. If all our comic books liked Earth 2, we’d never have a reason to complain – besides the irritability of being unable to look away from the beauty on the page.
EARTH 2, Vol 4: THE DARK AGES is the start of a rip-roaring tale. Great set up, fantastic takes on established characters – I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you’re only able to read one DC Comics series, you’d be hard-pressed to find something better than this.