This Week’s Finest: Black Magick #6

by Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott, Chiara Arena & Jodie Wynne

After an extended hiatus, Black Magick returns with issue #6. The story shifts to explore the books past and mythology, while bringing on a couple of new contributors to the creative team. Yet, in spite of these changes, co-creators Greg Rucka & Nicola Scott remain masters of creating opening chapters for comic arcs, helping Black Magick pick up right where the book left off in terms of it’s pace and excitement. Deeply thoughtful and enthralling in equal measure, Black Majik #6 is a reminder of the series excellence. 

Black Magick #6 goes back to main character Rowan’s thirteenth birthday, and her upcoming initiation into the world of witch craft and it’s traditions. Rowan participates in a literal baptism that allows her to see all her past life’s across time. An event that is supposed to  be celebratory, it ultimately leaves her scarred from the trauma of the deadly persecution in her recently discovered past versions of herself. Rowan broods and acts out in school, coping with the enormity of the extended history of her persecution. Things start to look like they’re turning around, until a darker supernatural threat is introduced to throw the books cast into further disarray.

What’s readily apparent throughout issue #6 of Black Magick, is how full and well rounded Rucka & Scott’s work is together. Black Magick has been excellent since it’s debut, but now, after the two completed the first arc on the comic with an extended run on DC’s main Wonder Woman title, there’s a higher level of synocracy between the two creators intent and execution in their return to the title. Rucka’s character work is comprehensive as it toggles between three generations of family, always revealing the themes to the reader through purposeful conversation and action within the story. Scott’s expressions and acting are varied and detail, with an incredible warmth infused into her technical precision. Separate from one another, it’s tempting to think that either the art or writing could tell the story effectively, but together, it results in a single issue comic that is engrossing for its fluidity. Scott has an ability to bring character’s to life in comics panel that is unparalleled. This is further accentuated in Black Magick from the majority of the issue being absent of color with Scott’s raw pencils. Like in earlier chapters, Black Magick’s sparse use of colors underscore the element of wonder for the supernatural. New colorist Chiara Arena uses a similar palette to her predecessor, but she’s able to utilize her colors to highlight some of Scott’s dimensions in her illustration while slipping them into subtle points in the visual narration. While coloring is used far less in Black Magick #6 then in most modern comics, it’s essential to the overall narrative and presentation.

Black Magick is back, and issue #6 is already exceeding what had proceeded it in the series. Yes the narrative focus may have shifted, yes they’re working with a new colorist and editor, and yes, it’s hiatus has been extensive. But, Ruck & Scott are two masters of their craft, and the only thing that changed in that regard since the last time this series was out is their own improvement and synergy with one another. The first arc of Black Magick and Wonder Woman Year One were great, but issue #6 is better then any of that, and it’s only getting started.

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