Gutter Magic is one of those rare books that gets it right, right out of the gate. Part fantasy, part noir, it weaves elements of both in and out with nimble ease. Cinder dresses like a Steampunk hero, while Blacktooth sports a classic Sam Spade trenchcoat, a barmaid tells Cinder to forget his tab 'cause dead men can’t pay their bills, and it all comes down to who can outspend the others.
Writer Rich Douek has built his fantasy world on the bones of the world we know and dropped just enough tantalizing clues as to how it got that way to keep readers enticed for more. Imp- and demon-inhabited markets huddle in the shadow of the floating top of the decapitated Chrysler Building, and the Ghost Boys are right out of something dreamed up for Gangs of New York.
Douek’s story serves as a smart blueprint for artist Brett Barkley’s deft pencils and inks, filling the foregrounds and backgrounds with clever and interesting details that only add to the completeness of this world with a cinematic grace. Colorist Jules Rivera wields the Steampunk palette with great aplomb, adding a lushness to Barkley’s pencils and inks that most books sorely lack. With their combined efforts, this book comes off as a fully realized, three-dimensional world. (Check out their stellar depictions of battle magic early in the book!)
Smart. Original. Entertaining. With only four issues, you’re going to have to savor this book for a while, but you won’t regret ponying up the cover price. You’re getting in on the grand floor of what looks to be a great tale!
“Time to settle up. Again.”
“We’re off to the market. Just tell Mary to put it on our tab.”
“You don’t have a tab, anymore. New policy. Absolutely no credit for people who are going to be dead before the week’s out.
FIVE Stolen Wizard’s Scrolls out of FIVE
*Be sure to pre-order Gutter Magic #1 with your local comic book shop this month!