‘Gutter Magic #3:’ Comic Book Review

It’s difficult to tell whether I love Cinder, the protagonist of Gutter Magic, or hate him. In my review of the last issue, I talked about his incredible bravado, with nothing to back it up but the assumption that everything will work out in his favor, and the gamble that no one will call his bluff. This issue explores that attitude a bit further, making him both more and less sympathetic, simultaneously.

Cinder has this “the world owes me a living” mentality, and, in many ways, it’s easy to understand. In a world ruled by magic, he got the short end of the stick. In the previous issue, Cinder crashed a party held by his affluent cousin, Victor. At the beginning of this issue, he gives Victor an impassioned speech about how he practically has the power of a god at his fingertips and uses it to do nothing, while Cinder remains powerless and, therefore, an outcast of society.

Victor’s own soul hangs in the balance if he doesn’t give Cinder up to the Morgue, a powerful sorceress whom Cinder crossed. Nonetheless, he lets his cousin escape. Cinder responds by stealing Victor’s airship.

While it’s true that Cinder got a raw deal in the magic department, it also seems that he cares about nothing and nobody but himself, except with regards to how they can help him achieve his goal of finding the mysterious wizard Oppenheimer and obtaining magic for himself. He does seem to care somewhat for his goblin friend/partner in crime, Blacktooth, but even he doesn’t get treated especially well.

All of this may sound like I’m complaining about the comic, but I’m really not. It’s wildly entertaining, and one of the most fun things I’ve read in a long time. In fact, while Cinder’s character flaws make him difficult to like at times, they also add quite a bit to the story. Since he cares about no one but himself, he’s constantly running afoul of powerful wizards who chase after him and lead to some epic magical action sequences. In this issue, it involves the aforementioned airship.

Writer Rich Douek has created an intricate and fascinating magical world which is brought vividly to life by Brett Barkley’s artwork and Jules Rivera’s coloring. There’s only one more issue left to go after this. I can’t wait to see where it takes us.

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