The first thought that crosses the mind while reading Machine Gun Wizards was “Enthusiasm!,” especially if you’re a fan of the 1987 film The Untouchables. We’re truly living in the era of nostalgia, so the chance to watch Eliot Ness and his elite group of agents takedown 1930s gangsters is a treat. Writer Christian Ward and illustrator Sami Kivela have produced an interesting take on the mobster scene, but is it worth the read?
If you’re not familiar with Eliot Ness, the main protagonist of this story, he was actually based on a real-life guy of the same name. He’s essentially a combination of Batman and Captain America. It may even be up for debate if he, in fact, could have been an inspiration for either character, especially Batman. Ness was a law enforcement agent who became famous for bringing down notorious mobster Al Capone during the Prohibition Era in Chicago. Ness put together an incorruptible team of men who later became known as “The Untouchables.”
The coolest twist on the Prohibition Era is Ward’s insertion of wizardry and ancient beings helping Al Capone try to take over Chicago. Instead of Capone dealing in alcohol here, he’s dabbling with magic, some of which is beyond his control. It’s a well structured good guy vs magical bad guys tale. The last issue gave the implication that Ness and his family had met their bitter end and that his law officers were in trouble as well. Now, in the last issue of the first arc of Machine Gun Wizards, Eliot Ness and his agents bring the fight to Capone to end his illegal magic operation once and for all.
From the opening page, Ward’s writing is intriguing and garners the reader’s attention right away. It reminds you of the old-time 1930s radio programming when people sat around the radio. The pacing never truly lets up that much throughout the issue, but still manages to be thrilling, humorous, and tie up all loose ends of the story. Ward even finds time to give a little backstory on Al Capone to emphasize his need for control and influence over others. It’s an enjoyable read that sorta leaves the door open for future possible installments.
Kivela Brings the Magic to Life
Kivela’s illustrations go hand and hand with Ward’s script work. Throughout every issue, but especially this one, he does an exceptional job meshing together the magical elements of the story without losing the essence of the 1930s. From his architectural designs of the buildings, vehicles, and even Tommy guns, Kivela really captures the mobster era. Kivela makes this a fun read, adding creative characters like his talking magical toad and power-infused Al Capone.
Machine Gun Wizards #4 is a delightful read that will leave most readers wishing it wasn’t the final issue. Although a lot of the plot comes together in this issue it does leave the door open for a few possibilities for the future. Ward and Kivela make a good pair and should team up more often. If you haven’t already read the first three issues of this four-part series it’s definitely worth picking up during your next comic book store trip.