ADVANCE COMIC REVIEW: Gutter Magic #1 – Bullets Still Work | FanboysInc

ADVANCE COMIC REVIEW: Gutter Magic #1 – Bullets Still Work

By Buddy Beaudoin

Writer: Rich Douek

Artists: Brett Barkley, Jules Rivera, Nic Shaw


IDW Publishing

Gutter Magic is a witty and fantastically entertaining tale about a man named Cinder Byrnes and his cohort, a goblin by the name of Blacktooth. Together, the partners in crime are on a quest to track down the author of an ancient spell in an alternate version of New York City that exists in a world where World War II was fought and won with magic. The freshman issue of Gutter Magic will be making its debut tomorrow, January 13th, on IDW and it’s a whole mess of fun.

ADVANCE COMIC REVIEW: Gutter Magic #1 - Bullets Still Work

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First thing of note is the world building. Douek poetically and seamlessly creates a version of NYC that maintains all of the bustle and boom of The Big Apple, but is rife with so much magic and mystery that every turn down a new street makes you feel like you’re about to be sold a Mogwai. We get some inclusion of real world people, like Robert Oppenheimer, who has yet to be seen but promises to play a very interesting role in the four-part mini-series. Little details like that work excellently at connecting the reader to the enchanting set at hand, and lets you know that there’s at least some basis of reality among the pages.

ADVANCE COMIC REVIEW: Gutter Magic #1 - Bullets Still Work

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The art plays no small part in crafting the universe. Barkley and Rivera are a well-matched team, and the art visibly gets its design from several influences. The city feels seedy and dirty and not to be trusted, and the marketplace they’ve built is like some hybrid version of Mos Eisley that resides in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. The magic all uses a series of arcane glyphs, which is a nice touch because it allows the reader to see what interesting things have been woven into the magic realm in this reality – such as guns. The character design is quite nice and conveys the feeling that everyone you’re seeing can wield some sort of wizardry, yet they are all unique and kept interesting to look at. Even the non speaking characters are drawn with detail, and that’s a nice touch.

As a mini-series, the scope of the storytelling set up in this first issue feels vast. It’s a very quickly paced book and it takes you right along with it, but yet it feels like everything that’s happened has barely scratched the surface. It will be interesting to see how something so gigantic feeling will be wrapped up in just four issues, but given the consideration for detail right from the start of the book, the proceeding books aren’t of much worry. Everything down to the title is explained. It’s really something.

ADVANCE COMIC REVIEW: Gutter Magic #1 - Bullets Still Work

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As many good first issues do, this issue leaves of with a bit of a cliffhanger as Byrnes and Blacktooth are headed off at the pass by a gang of magic mischievians out for revenge. The resulting pages are full of beautiful explosions and silver tongued expressions that are reminiscent of a young Firefly crew in those scenes of glory where they’re out of options, but haven’t given up fighting. This series promises to be a very wild ride, and one worth hanging on for. Look for it on Wednesday from your comic retailer!

ADVANCE COMIC REVIEW: Gutter Magic #1 - Bullets Still Work

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The “Best There Is:” The world is marvelously crafted and the story sucks you right into the streets of this bizarre magical New York City. The art and character design are top notch and add leaps and bounds to the already well scripted story. Every turn of the page is a chance to get sucked into the adventure of Byrnes and Blacktooth, and you’re given the deference to be reading characters that you’ll care about with some immediacy.

The “Not Very Nice:” With everything happening so quickly, and with the scope of the story being so seemingly grand, it would be nice to have a little bit of background on the setting before diving into the series in full. While most things are apparent and speak for themselves, there’s a lot that the reader is kept in the dark about concerning where and when the story takes place and the events that shaped the world the book lives in now.

FBI SCORE: 9 out of 10. Gutter Magic is ferociously entertaining. The creative team on all accounts have done something marvelous in building this world and birthing its characters. The resulting pages of that effort are a joy to read. Get this book on your radar!

Buddy Beaudoin

Buddy Beaudoin is a writer and independent comic creator from Upstate, NY. He's a fan of tea, spacey music, and a nice pair of slacks. He LOVES comics. Batman, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are some favorites, but he's also a pretty big fan of the indies. Should you ever need him, walk outside and yell his name loudly...

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