Black Magick: Awakening, Part 1

Black Magick Volume 1: Awakening, Part One (Black Magick 1) - Greg Rucka

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

3.5 to 4 stars. A fairly good read, containing the first 5 issues of the “Black Magick” series. Portsmouth P.D. Detective Rowan Black is also a witch, one who meets with her coven to practice rituals, and she definitely doesn't want this other part of her life to bleed into the mundane one. Until a perp reveals he knows so much about her... but she's never met that man, so what's happening, who's after her, and how far are they ready to go to achieve their goals?

The art throughout this comics, both panels and covers, was good. There's a certain harshness to the characters' features, showing that this isn't going to be a nice story, and what's meant to be frightening and threatening, well, is. Just like her colleagues or her friend Alex, a fellow witch, Rowan appears as a “no nonsense” person, one you'd better not mess up with, even though all these people may be out of their league here... for now. Most panels are also coloured in sepia/black and white washed tones, and when colours are applied, it's only to highlight very striking moments, involving flames bursting out or spells being cast, and it's quite impressive. As for the crime scenes panels, they depict well enough the corpses found, the wounds they suffered, and so on. It's not meant to be pretty, after all.

I'd say the magick here (the rituals, the warding, the gatherings in the forest, etc.) aren't too original—“mainstream pagan magick” put into pictures—but if you're willing not to look too much into it, it works within the scope of the story, and it didn't make me roll my eyes (too much). Sometimes you want authors to go further than that... and sometimes it doesn't matter that much, all things considered.

Another issue I had was with the characters, because we have more glimpses about them than anything to really chew on. We have the basics (where they live, their jobs, the people they meet), but as *people* with psyche of their own, they still seem a little blank. This first volume reads more as an introduction to them. On the other hand, much like the settlements of a larger plot are put in place here, it may just be that issues 6+ will start delving into this more and more, which I hope. I'd like to know why Rowan seems to be able to do so much more with her magick, but doesn't. Or how she met Alex the very first time (there are hints very early in the story that these “witches” go through reincarnation cycles or something, and tend to find each other in every new lifetime?).

I'm willing to check the next issues, to see if this is going to happen. If it does, this series will be on its path to its real potential. But there's also the othe possibility, so... fingers crossed?