“When Magic rules the worlds, a lucky few are born with great power.

The rest of us… have to steal it!


Issue 1

Writer: Rich Douek

Penciller/Inker: Brett Barkley

Colorist: Jules Rivera

Publisher: IDW

“This was easier than I thought it would be… didn’t even have to pick the lock.”

“Well, that’s the thing with these wizards… they spend a fortune warding themselves against every spell in creation… then forget something as mundane as locking a window.”

In a not-so-distant future New York City, Cinder’s having a bad day.  After raiding a wizard’s stash, he’s got the last piece of a spell that could fix his connection to magic… only as a non-magic-user, he can’t cast it.  And just when he and his goblin friend Blacktooth figure out a plan, they run afoul of the The Morgue, who has sent the pint-sized Shiver and her hired muscle, the Ghost Boys, to bring Cinder in, dead or… well…

Gutter Magic is one of those rare books that gets it right, right out of the gate:  part Fantasy, part noir, it weaves elements of both in and out with nimble ease.   Cinder dresses like a steampunk hero, while Blacktooth sports a classic Sam Spade trenchcoat, a barmaid tells Cinder to forget his tab cause dead men can’t pay their bills, and it all comes down to who can outspend the others.

Writer Rich Douek has built his fantasy world on the bones of the world we know, and dropped just enough tantalizing clues as to how it got that way to keep readers enticed for more.  Imp and demon inhabited markets huddle in the shadow of the floating top of the decapitated Chrysler Building, and the Ghost Boys are right out of something dreamed up for Gangs of New York.

Douek’s story serves as a smart blueprint for artist Brett Barkley’s deft pencils and inks, filling the foregrounds and backgrounds with clever and interesting details that only add to the completeness of this world with a cinematic grace.  Colorist Jules Rivera wields his steampunk palette with great aplomb, adding a lushness to Barkley’s pencils and inks that most books sorely lack.  With their combined efforts, this book comes off as a fully-realized three-dimensional world (Check out their stellar depictions of battle magic early in the book!)

Smart.  Original.  Entertaining.  With only four issues, you’re going to have to savor this book for a while, but you won’t regret ponying up the cover price.  You’re getting in on the ground floor of what looks to be a great tale!

“Time to settle up.  Again.”

“We’re off to the Market.  Just tell Mary to put I on our tab.”

“You don’t have a tab, anymore.  New policy.  Absolutely no credit for people who are going to be dead before the week’s out.

VERDICT:       FIVE  Stolen Wizard’s Scrolls out of FIVE

This review was first published at Check out their site and if you like it, check out their podcasts or sign up for their newsletter (a daily highlight of the best in geek news). 


About TonyC

Voracious Reader, sometimes-writer, director and producer. Hopes to make a living from his words someday soon. And get a dog. Likes: Springsteen, good books, intelligent movies, clean modern architecture, smart cute girls with glasses, and rain. Dislikes: bad drivers, trendy food, heat waves, and writers block. View all posts by TonyC

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