W – Rich Douek
A – Brett Barkley
C – Jules Rivera
L – Nic Shaw
*Disclaimer here first. Source Point is re-releasing the original Gutter Magic books before heading off into new territory*
It’s a magic infused steampunk ride of a good time that Gutter Magic embarks on. Sure, Cinder Byrnes is a criminal. Yeah, he steals from all sorts (libraries, book shops, even wizards). The odd part though, is that he’s looking for a particular spell … that he can’t cast even if found. Cinder though isn’t merely a common criminal. He should be the inheritor of a rather powerful magic dynasty. His stealing is in direct regard to his searching, researching, and attempts to find a specific spell that can help cure whatever is wrong with his magic (or lack there of).
The world of Gutter Magic, while clearly made to allow for the premise, has been created with savvy touches and expert details that fully immerse the reader in the story. New York is the setting but it isn’t quite the concrete jungle where dreams are made of that most are familiar with. Cinder’s trying to make his dream come true though and that’s right where we jump in. Immediately our main protagonist (along with the details and savvy touches) grabs ahold of us and firmly plants us in the reality of Gutter Magic. This is done by way of Cinder essentially being a ‘normal’ jamoke in a world full of magic and wonder. The fusion of magic and steampunk elements drive home the normalcy of Cinder even more so. The world isn’t so gone into fantasy that the regular human element is but a detail (this is roughly 100 years after World War II). What we know isn’t replaced, but rather it exists alongside the magical and steampunk world in a smorgasbord of readily relatable and far out. Surrounding Cinder are some of those touches and details I was mentioning.
Blacktooth is the sidekick we all need. A goblin that’ll damn near kill a wizard for you? Yes please. From the get go it is clear that Blacktooth is in on this quest to find (and do what is necessary to obtain) the spell that Cinder is looking for. Knowing that the journey and subsequent actions taken will earn plenty of enemies as well as a target on the noggin doesn’t deter the partner one bit. As pie in the sky hopeful as Cinder is, Blacktooth is equally grounded and pragmatic. The pairing and relationship is damn near perfect. Other players in the story are touched upon and given the depth needed to matter going forward. Morgue is certainly not one trifle with, Shiver is clearly muscle, and Rat-Catcher along with his spies are either not what they seem or something uniquely their own. While there are a few hitches and a little cliché running around, they’re minor enough they don’t bog down the over arching goodness.
Going back to the touches and details brings me to the coloring. The book fuses several things into coexistence and nothing looks out of place on the pages. It’s the touches though that really embellish the tale. Cinder’s revolver is clearly a bit more than just a gun. It’s blue hued barrel (and discharge) hint at more however it is clear that it isn’t the same thing as the ‘actual’ magic that is presented. The words ‘gutter magic’ are uttered in reference to Cinder as well which sets up something that is sure to come, but also enhances the touches that the artwork puts across. Both the mundane and fantastical are given equal treatment and bounce off the panels as they should. I believe the magic when I see it and I also feel the architectural mix of the worlds that have been brought together.
Gutter Magic has introduced a unique fantasy stamp and I can’t wait for the second issue …
OUT THIS NCBD OCT 2nd!!!!!
THE DCN GRADE FOR THE DEBUT ISSUE OF GUTTER MAGIC: 9.6
There’s quite a bit to both set up and relay at the onset of Gutter Magic. The script is well done and manages the heavy lifting of not only debuting the story but delving into the expansive world needed to pull it off. The creative team has done a wonderful job of relating and showing the different aspects that make up the world of Gutter Magic. It both looks and reads beautifully.