Machine Gun Wizards
Writer: Christian Ward
Art: Sami Kivelä
Colours: Christian Ward and Dee Cunniffe
Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Published: Dark Horse Comics
Machine Gun Wizards created by Christian Ward and Sami Kivelä
Warnings: Contains mature themes and drug use
Under a spell and in the line of fire
Let’s just get this out straight off the bat. This is a seriously professional work of art. This may be writer Christian Ward’s debut as a writer, but it does not read that way. It is bold, confident and brilliant. He has crafted a world with Sami that is so distinctly unique. Christian’s complex and endearing characters are a joy to read.
What lurks beneath the surface?
It is 1930’s Chicago and the police are clamping down on the dark underbelly of the City. Al Capone is running the mobs, but he is not dealing with alcohol, this time, he is dealing with magic. Lick is a magic drug that grants powers to whoever ingests it. Policeman Elliot Ness and his team are gunning to take down Capone once and for all. What they find themselves embroiled in, is much more dangerous and 10x more magical.
Tense shootouts are coupled with gorgeously drawn magics, blend old gangsta class and action with eldritch horrors. All the creators involved in Machine Gun Wizards combine so many complimenting elements in this new genre-blending series. Kivelä’s art is impressive in every possible way. Mixing striking visuals, huge cityscapes and buildings with the more traditional signifiers from both 30s gangstas and fantasy/ magical elements.
This combination coupled with the colours from Ward and Cunniffe creates a serious that has to be seen to be believed. If I could I would just wallpaper my walls with these pages, what really leaps out for me are the colours, the blending of the realistic day to day palettes mixed with the gorgeous blues, pinks and purple magical palettes. It’s the sort of dusty ‘particle’ effect on the pages that really brings the magical panels to life. You can almost feel the magic in the air.
A crashing climax
As the story progresses we get to peek behind the curtain of this world or the many curtains as it may be. The reveals are wrapped in some of the most mind-meltingly beautiful art and colours I can recall ever seeing.
Machine Gun Wizards has so many levels which all come to a crashing crescendo as we reach the end of the series. We are so far from where we started just a few shot issues ago, the journey has been a long one but its been really something. As we become more privy to the lore of the world we start to really see what the magic in this world is capable of. Mobsters becoming magicians and men becoming monsters, our heroes will have to adapt if they are going to come out of this alive. The characters have such strong senses of self and work to really keep themselves on the right path. Whilst we learn more of the characters as the series moves on, some stay shrouded in mystery right up till the final hour when secrets are revealed in explosions of incredible colours and vibrance.
In short, Machine Gun Wizards is a triumph from beginning to end. This is the perfect read for fans of gangsta, shady deals, Lovecraft magics and visuals so good your eyes will thank you.
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