In BLACK MAGICK #13, Rowan Black, cop and witch, seeks solace at the bottom of a bottle. But demonic temptation is always there, as are mundane matters of the flesh. Elsewhere, her former detective partner faces further questioning, and elsewhere to that, those who monitor the dark face worse times. Dare you read this demonic Major Spoilers review?
BLACK MAGICK #13
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Nicola Scott
Colorist: Chiara Arena
Letterer: Jodi Wynne
Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: August 26th, 2020
Previously in BLACK MAGICK: Rowan Black is a cop and witch, and is increasingly having difficulty keeping her two worlds apart. Forced to deny her nature for too long, she now faces temptation – demonic and of the flesh, on all sides. When her work stress becomes too much, she seeks solace in the arms of an unexpected party.
WHICH WITCH IS WHICH?
Rowena Black isn’t having a good time lately. While her job on the job is proving fractious, a demonic entity is turning up to tempt her to give in to her powers as a witch. That old line of using evil to do good pops up, and while Rowena throws the demon out on her ear, it is clearly the case that something is going to have to give, and soon.
BLACK MAGICK #13 is an enjoyable, if unremarkable issue in this series. The highlight is the black and white artwork, from fellow Australian Nicola Scott. The art does a lot of the heavy lifting for this issue, presenting an atmospheric world in black and white, with dashes of color to represent the supernatural. The issue does good work giving most of the characters in the series some screen time, especially to Rowena’s former partner, Detective Morgan, who is copping it from his boss, and also internal affairs. The stresses of the job are on display, as questions of career and loyalty work at cross-purposes for Morgan, who just wants to get home to his wife and child.
Scott’s delicate, layered artwork depicts a lived in world of rumpled clothes and careworn characters. The lack of color means Scot has to bring an extra dimension to the imagery, which she achieves through extensive use of shading. I really appreciated the lack of color, as it allows the artist’s work the chance to breathe without the added flash of the colorist’s work to distract. This is artwork at its most pure.
Greg Rucka is on the ascendant at the moment, with his OLD GUARD lighting up Netflix in recent weeks. Here, his writing is more workaday, even with the supernatural elements peppered through BLACK MAGICK #13. In fact, this issue is more kitchen sink drama than supernatural tale, with the major characters facing more domestic problems than anything else. On the one hand, if you have witchcraft in the mix, you want more of that on display, but once you’ve unleashed the pyrotechnics, it can be hard to deploy that trick without upping the ante.
Giving us more of an insight into the career and life pressures of people like Rowena, or Morgan, is a clever gambit, especially where the threat and temptations of the supernatural is ever present. Personally, I thought the issue lit up a little bit more when we glimpsed more of the darkness surrounding the characters, but overall it makes for a more grounded issue.
BOTTOM LINE: THAT OLD BLACK MAGICk
Rowena Black is an intriguing character with a turbulent mix of needs and desires that often clash. In this issue, she gives into one form of temptation, out of need, and in the moment, it seems like the best choice for her. Knowing her background, however, one gets the impression that this decision will come back to bite her. Elsewhere, things are afoot, with the sense that BLACK MAGICK #13 is a staging point for more danger and intrigue to come.
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Black Magick #13
BLACK MAGICK #13 is a solid issue from a great creative team doing interesting things with the material. The personal stakes on show here are more low key than the supernatural offerings in earlier issues, but still important for the characters concerned. The plot advances along nicely, with some interesting twist and turns, complemented by excellent artwork. Rucka is the golden boy of comics at the moment, but there’s a huge amount to like about what Nicola Scott brings to the table in terms of art.