Say hello to Bruce Dunridge. He’s front and centre on page one of Black Magick #4, all decaying, with a stitched up Y incision and missing his left hand...
He's on a slab, naturally, or unnaturally, since he was dead before he got there - anyway, wandering mind aside, Sean, the pathologist, tells us, and by ‘us’ I mean Detective Black and Chaffey, how the guy did not die easily. He was hung by the neck till dead - from asphyxiation. And that hand was cut off cleanly after he died, so no accidental drowning and a propeller chop to the wrist.
Only thing Sean found in his stomach were little stones. Tiny green stones, and let’s face it readers, at this point we’ve all figured out that colour is important in this otherwise monochrome tome.
Chaffey sees this as evidence that not only was Dunridge murdered, but that he was murdered by someone taking matters into their own hands. Possibly even a cop. Rowan points out that they still need to talk to the Belles, that’s Frank and Donna Belle, the parents of Bruce’s victim. But Rowan needs to make a stop on the way to see Alex. Now Alex is a stunner, but in this scene the stunning thing is that Alex is a primary school teacher. Of course, Rowan’s not doing community liaison here, she’s dropping off the hammer embossed lighter she snaffled earlier.
Back in the car, Chaffey proves he’s not only good to look at, but he’s got a good heart too. He’s worried about Rowan, and when she says she’s fine, he reveals,
“Same way I was fine after that IED blew half my squad all to hell. I was fucking peachy… Right until I wasn’t.”For anyone who doesn’t get it, and IED is an Improvised Explosive Device, but it’s a description mostly used in the middle East, which makes this reader want to know ever more about Chaffey.
Unfortunately on the next page we’re getting to know Mr Hahn, another full frontal later and we know he travels a lot, has a very toned body and lots of scars. Then there’s the cross about his neck, the holy accouterment, not to mention the pistol in his pants - I mean a handgun tucked into his belt undercover of his jacket, keep it clean.
What Alex does to see what she needs to see is interesting - what happens is unexpected and gripping. This has to be read, I’ll not tell it.
As regular readers of my reviews will know, I don’t like to be too effusive in my praise for anything. I am definitely the one who’ll turn over the bright new penny to seek the tarnish. Which makes reviewing Black Magick just a touch irritating. I can’t fault it. I love the writing, the pace, the drawing, the layout, the timing. This comic has it all. I don’t know quite what happened to Rowan’s face on panel one of page three, but that’s the only issue I have in this issue, Nicola Scott doesn’t have Rowan’s profile quite right there. Well actually there’s another panel, again of Rowan in profile that doesn’t quite work either a few pages later, but this is a proportion and perspective thing. Yeah, I know nit-picker-extraordinaire, but there you go.
Here’s the thing. I don’t want to give out too many fives either, and I’m usually looking for excuses to knock a point or two off. But I can’t. Being off by one tiny proportion in two panels doesn’t quite feel like sufficient justification for losing a whole point on this one, so, without any regrets, I have to give Black Magick #4 yet another five out of five.
Gail Williams lives in her own private dungeon populated with all the weird and the wonderful she can imagine. Some of it’s very weird, and the odd bits and pieces are a bit wonderful. Well okay, she lives in Swansea with her husband and daughter. And the world’s most demanding cat. To find out more about Gail, check out www.gailbwilliams.co.uk - Dare you!