Black Magick: Awakening
by Greg Rucka
Cover Artist: Nicola Scott (with Eric Trautmann)
Review by Gayle Surrette
Image Comics Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781632156754
Date: 03 May 2016 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Black Magick: Awakening is the first volume collecting several individual issues (1 - 5) allowing this volume to contain an entire arc setting up the world and the problem that must be faced and solved.
Detective Rowan Black works for the police department. She's also a witch, a real one, not just a pretend or a wannabe one -- she has powers. Imagine her surprise when she's called to the scene of a crime and told that the person holding the hostages will only speak to her. The hostages are released and then the guy tries to set Rowan on fire. She manages to turn it back on him but then she has to deal with all the paperwork.
The lighter he used to set the fire had the symbol of AIRA on it (a hammer). AIRA is a secret society devoted to killing witches. Rowan warns the leader of her coven, and they set to finding out more about this man. Meanwhile, a body of a criminal washes up and Rowan suspects this body is related to the man who tried to kill her.
Someone is tying to kill witches again. Unlike during the dark times of the Inquisition the world doesn't necessarily believe in witches anymore, but this could still be awkward. How can she maintain her life when she can't explain what's going on. Secrets are hard to keep, but this one is even harder to live with.
The artwork is very realistic. It helps to carry the story smoothly along. I was impressed with the artist's ability to allow the reader to grasp when things are not part of reality, but in mental space--a space where a witch can be killed, but to an outside observer it appears that nothing is happening. There's also the hints of spells that Rowan can see because she's a witch but others can't see. The artwork gives more depth to the tale.
I will suggest that if you are reading an ebook version that you set it up to read in 2-page view. Many of the pages have pieces of art that span 2 pages and while you can view half the art and then the other half, you'll enjoy it much more to see the entire panel.