Gutter Magic (2 of 4) – Comic Review
More adventure ensues in Gutter Magic’s future steam-punk world. The heroes are again imperiled! Did I end up taking a shine to the series? Read on to find my take on Gutter Magic #2.
See my Gutter Magic #1 review here.
Title: Gutter Magic (2 of 4)
Writer: Rich Douek
Artist: Brett Barkley
Cover Artist: Brett Barkley
Release Date: February 10 2016
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The Gutter Magic saga continues. In this issue we get more goblins, some creepy characters, and some hairy situations. The adventure moves forward – but to where I’m not sure.
In Gutter Magic #2, our steam-punk-y story picks up right where the first one left off. We return to the confrontation at the goblin market. The girl menaces our heroes with a straight-razor and allusions to being..a vampire maybe? Immortal or less-mortal at least. It’s unclear, but it’s clear we’re supposed to find her terribly captivating. The confrontation ends in a pretty handy way and we find ourself at a funeral home staffed by the gaunt “soul collector”, a lip-tied man who practices necromancy via a collection of skulls he keeps around. The soul collector is asked about Oppenheimer, the real-life WWII personality from issue #1, and tells Cinder and Blacktooth he can’t speak with him due to his still being alive. This revelation leads to the two leads breaking into Cinder’s brother’s house-party to steal some ancient books that will guide them further in their journey. We also get a pretty good reveal as to where old Opp’ might have been hanging out for all these years.
As the two thieves are about to leave the party they observe Cinder’s brother looking for them and take cover. A witchy woman appears and takes part of the brother’s soul as punishment for Cinder stealing one of her books. She seeks Cinder and tells the brother he’ll get the soul piece back when he brings him to her.
As I read through issue #2 of Gutter Magic I really tried to give it a fair shake. I was hoping maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood when I got the first issue. Long day or something. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Gutter Magic has all the elements of a cool story, at least in the classic sense. It has the handsome, swashbuckling hero who isn’t 100% good, and who has been oppressed by forces beyond his control. You have the ugly but intelligent, capable, and sarcastic sidekick. You have magic and steam-punk style technology in a world of the future—that looks like the past. You have references to real characters from WWII, and a pretty well thought out world.
In the movie Apocalypto, they call the protagonist the Mayan word for “Almost” (which I wasn’t able to track down the spelling of). He is “almost” a man. He “almost” escaped, etc. If I had that word it would basically sum up how I feel about this comic. The art is almost cool and the story is almost enough to interest me. The characters are almost worth caring about. In the end, though, they are always just “almost” those things, and never quite get me there, which is disappointing.
In the last review I promised I’d finish out the run of all four issues of Gutter Magic and that’s what I’m going to do. I can’t say I relish the prospect at all, but it’s not just about me now, is it? IT’S ABOUT YOU! And you never know…maybe these guys will end up pleasantly surprising me. I certainly hope they do.
After reading issue #1 for my last review I tracked down a few of my old Ignition City issues and read through them. They really do feel like what this series really wants to be, only done right. You can buy them in collected editions now and I highly recommend picking them up.