Black Magick is a memorable series thanks to its take on witchcraft and Nicola Scott’s gorgeous artwork. The series has a deliberate pace, slowly revealing more about what is going on without telling you too much. In issue #10 different players start meeting face to face against a building sense of dread.
While the issue visits multiple locations, the story is centred on a hospital as Morgan Chaffey’s wife Anna finally starts to give birth. From the second page onwards, you gain a sense of dread and start to fear that what should be a joyous occasion might not end well. While this is going on the Aira and the coven finally meet face to face and Rowan starts to realize just how bad things can get.
This issue contains no fights, action or horrific scenes. Instead it relies on that sense of dread to make you care and fear for the characters. It does a great job of making me want to see what happens next, and making me hope that we don’t get what I expect. The scenes where Laurent and Alex meet let you see both sides of the conflict between the Aira and the coven.
While Rucka’s dialogue lends a sense of normality and happiness that makes the building dread seem worse, it’s Nicola Scott’s art and Chiara Arena’s colors that make this issue so effective. The framing of some of the scenes is perfect as it takes seemingly normal scenes and then makes a simple reveal to up the stakes and make you fear what happens next. Scott’s use of body language and facial expressions really adds to the atmosphere, especially Rowan Black’s reactions. The gray-scale art style used in Black Magick is one of the more unique and eye-catching styles on the comics scene right now. The use of color effects is magnificent, using simple color effects to make the magical stand out from the mundane without being extravagant. This is even more effective in this issue, where the more extravagant effects really jump off the page.
Extra credit goes out to Jodi Wynne’s lettering, which also employs color to make the magical stand out against the grey and black world of the mundane. The colors and styles really complement the characters and the use of colors in the speech bubbles for the scenes in the house really adds to the atmosphere.
All in all, this is the issue where the shit starts to hit the fan. That it does so without action and with a very real building sense of dread is a testament to Greg Rucka’s deliberate pacing and Nicola Scott’s sublime art.