Gutter Magic #1 (IDW)


CREDIT: IDW Publishing

Rating: 4.5/5 – In This Fantasy World, Everyone Craves a Piece of Magic.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall

Writer Rich Douek has imagined a world where wizards helped fight World War II.  Their involvement in the war resulted in a magical arms race that brought the world to the “brink of Armageddon”.  The aftermath found a world where magical races, creatures and magic users banded together to build a new world…  All this is revealed in the forward on the inside of the front cover and I love this kind of setup for a new story.  Clear and concise and it sets the stage for the real story that is going to be told.

The series itself is set 100 years later in this magical world.  There are still wizards who wield the “real” magic, but everyone else seems to want a piece of that power.  The little scraps of magic that regular people use are called “Gutter Magic”, thus the title for the series.  Our hero, Cinder Byrnes is one of those who wants those scraps of magic any way he can get it.  That includes robbing wizards, which seems an intrinsically dangerous past-time, but that’s where the fun begins.  We start off with Cinder and his goblin buddy Blacktooth pulling a heist and from their Douek’s story proceeds to introduce us to various fantasy world staples including a tavern scene, a visit to the dodgy marketplace where most anything can be bought and sold, and the group of heavies out to catch our hero on behalf of a powerful crime boss who he crossed in some way prior to this story.  Sure… I’ve seen variations of all these before in loads of fantasy stories up to and including the science-fantasy Star Wars, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy seeing a new take on the familiar tropes.

Artist Brett Barkley did a fabulous of world building and character design.  I loved the 2-page spread he did of Cinder and Blacktooth fleeing through the market in a wild Escher-esque sequence where the market itself was warping reality to help our heroes.   I also liked the look of Shiver, chief enforcer for the boss named “The Morgue” who we’ll meet next issue.  My favorite part was that Shiver is clearly a bad ass and her design is so far away from the typical bad girl that it worked perfectly for me.

I thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to the world of Gutter magic in this debut issue.  Rich Douek has created a world that I’m going to love seeing explored in upcoming issues augmented by the great art of Brett Barkley.  This landed a spot on my pull list and I look forward to meeting “The Morgue” in issue #2!

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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