My current favorite magical world continues this week as Cinder and Blacktooth give Cinder’s brother hell. The premise is simple: what if World War 2 was won by wizards? Is it good?
Gutter Magic #3 (IDW Publishing)
Cinder and Blacktooth recently crashed Cinder’s brother Victor’s party. We quickly learn Morgue wants Victor to hand over his brother, but why? Cinder has no magical ability like Victor does. In fact Cinder is on a quest to gain powers much like his family so he can no longer be the outcast.
Why does this book matter?
The world building is quite epic in this series and it’s clear writer Rich Douek has put a lot of thought into it. There’s a steampunk thing going on, but there’s a lot more to it we don’t even know. That makes you want to learn more as we’ve only scratched the surface. Meanwhile artist Brett Barkley has done a stand up job with a highly detailed style–check out the preview for more shots of the art.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Not every issue has had big moments, but this one delivers a rather large one two thirds of the way through. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s an exciting addition to the already robust world. That surprise is at the tail end of what could be called a caper story. Cinder and Blacktooth aim to steal his brother’s flying ship in order to get more answers and meet the famous Oppenheimer.
As far as character development, Morgue gets some new key details about her and why she wants Cinder in this issue. She’s becoming more interesting by the minute, especially the fact that she’s a walking dead person. While her gang attacks which heightens the action, this issue feels a bit basic in how it’s shown. There is however a really cool magic shield Morgue uses that looks fantastic.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Starting with the cliffhanger and working backwards there’s a bit of an underwhelming quality to a number of scenes. The final shot is supposed to look surprising and probably threatening, but instead is boring and not the least bit threatening at all. From there as Morgue’s men attack the flying ship there are a few panels that don’t connect well. Take for instance an establishing shot with Cinder and Blacktooth alone on a massive ship. In the next panel Blacktooth has a guy holding a knife to his neck. It seems to be a major mistake on the artist’s part.
It’s nice to see Ratcatcher in this issue after he was introduced in an earlier one, but his actions have no weight since we don’t really know who he is. Douek establishes his racism towards Blacktooth, but when Cinder practically expects the double cross it’s more of a shrug and turn the page moment than a surprising one.
You sir, are a douche.
Is It Good?
Save for a strong climactic moment with a very large monster this issue has too many artistic hiccups and boring elements to make it truly good. It’s still worth checking out if you’ve been reading along and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of answers we have in store after that cliffhanger.