Review: Gutter Magic #1 (of 5)

Part of Comixology’s Submit program; I was drawn to Gutter Magic due in part to its name, but also its concept. Which was strange because I’m actually getting a bit tired of the magic genre, for years there was nothing and then about three years ago the flood gates were opened; now it’s hard to find a good magic book because there are so many. Thankfully I didn’t give up hope and checked out Gutter Magic and was pleasantly surprised by the world, characters and the art.

Let’s just say that after WWII the world became infused with magic, now we have a new society that’s a bit of a mixture of the new and old and so there’s skyscrapers and sorcerers. The story kicks off with two thieves raiding a powerful sorcerer’s penthouse; their names are Cinder our main character and an average looking dude and Blacktooth a Goblin. Their raid is interrupted when the sorcerer returns home and begins opening a can of magical whopp-ass on them. Blacktooth tells Cinder to start pulling out his own tricks, but Cinder lied to Blacktooth and has yet to begin using magic. The two men barely make it out of the situation and head to their favorite bar to relax.

Here we learn that Cinder has found a magical spell that will allow him to use magic, but you need to be able to cast magic in order for it to work; kind of raw deal. Blacktooth suggests that they track down who wrote the spell, but it’s very old so Cinder doesn’t think it’ll work. Blacktooth says he knows a guy and they decide to head to the Goblin market. Along the way we learn that a lady named the Morgue has a bounty on Cinder’s head. At the market they run into the Morgue’s men lead by a young girl with badass magical powers. It doesn’t go well for them.

Gutter Magic #1Cinder is one of those characters that are not living up to his potential because he’s in the shadow of his family. Rather than rise above, he’s sunk to the bottom and performs what people who can do magic call… you guessed it, gutter magic. It’s a clever way of explaining the title and let’s be honest the title is cool as shit. His character is obviously connected to the event that changed the world, be it himself or a family member, but we’ll learn more as the story continues I’m sure.

I really enjoyed the writing and the world in general. I can’t wait to meet the Morgue and find out more about the little girl in pink. She was awesome as shit with her design and powers. The dialog for the most part was good, but there were times that the characters were throwing out info for the reader in the form of exposition more than a natural conversation. While not all of the conversations were organic, it didn’t distract form the story.

With magic stories, especially ones involving creatures like goblins, the art can make or break the world. I’ve read enough stories with unimaginative goblin designs to last me a life time. Thankfully Gutter Magic is drawn incredibly well and the Goblins look like regular people be it slightly shorter and with distinct faces. They don’t have stupid hair, nor are they wearing torn rags and always trying to eat you. The art is very impressive and has a photo realistic look to it for the most part. The character designs were definitely one of the strongest aspects to the art and the story and made them memorable, which can be very hard to do with a new series.

Surprised is kind of the wrong word. It’s not as if I had prior knowledge of this book before picking it up, but unlike some other Submit or indie titles this story stood out with its quality. Why this wasn’t picked up by a small press studio is beyond me because it’s at the professional level for sure. Thankfully it’s available to you and hopefully we’ll see new issues sooner rather than later.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Rick Douek Artist: Brett Barkley Colorist: Donna Gregory Publisher: Six Gun Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 5/1/13 On Submit