The best miniseries are the ones that you’re sad to see go, but dammit an ending must be had! Gutter Magic #4 is here this week, but is it good?
Gutter Magic #4 (IDW Publishing)
Seeing as this is the fourth and final issue, if you haven’t been reading you’ll spoil the fun up until this point. What say you, IDW?
It’s all come down to this – as Cinder stands on the cusp of achieving wizardly powers, the Morgue steps in to put an end to his ambitions. How much will Cinder risk to overcome her, and grasp the power he desires? Find out in the explosive conclusion to Gutter Magic!
Why does this book matter?
A fantasy tale set in a world where WW2 was won by wizards? Giddy up! Brett Barkley has shown he has a deft hand at composition delivering some out of this world layouts and fun graphics to show off the magic. The story has been interesting with good characterization from Rich Douek too.
Whoa, Hitler had dragons!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
We finally get an explanation as to why Cinder doesn’t have magic abilities while the rest of his family does, and thankfully it’s a satisfying explanation. Cinder and his right hand goblin best friend Blacktooth essentially get a full explanation from a man who was behind it all, but instead of a long, never ending flashback Douek quickly stops on a dime and shifts the story in a direction you weren’t expecting. This leads to further explanation of who the villain is and why her daughter can’t die and that works too.
There’s also a bit of action and the ending culminates into an end that promises this tale is far from over. Douek wraps it up in a way that makes you want more.
Barkley doesn’t disappoint in this issue with plenty of cool magical effects, strong character design, and a great sequence that reveals the source of magic.
It can’t be perfect can it?
If you haven’t been following along this issue probably won’t tickle your fancy. In many ways this issue feels like it’s rushing to its conclusion and could have used another two issues to tell the story properly. It’s nice to have a wrap up and answers, but the dramatic tension is a bit lost since things flash by so quickly. That said, since the events here require you to know what happened before, you won’t find much entertainment as a new reader.
The final few pages aren’t earned either. There’s no real rhyme or reason to the final twist–in part because there’s no time to set it up and make it land properly–and it serves as more of a promise to more stories rather than an end that built up to the moment. It doesn’t help that a major scene shift occurs almost randomly. The hero is ready to enact some justice and boom, we’re in the epilogue of sorts. Those last few panels before the switch don’t do enough to give the reader a sense of why he made the decision he does.
There is however an element that is lacking and that’s how magic works. There’s some level of explanation, but it never says anything certain, which leaves it much too vague to be interesting. Instead there’s a whimsical explanation and we see something that Cinder sees, but if this book ever gets a sequel we won’t be getting more answers in regards to how magic works and where it came from until then.
What is this higher world?
Is It Good?
This issue delivers a lot of answers and a satisfying conclusion to the series with the promise, like all good stories do, that the journey of Cinder is not even being close to finished. Still there are more answers and a rush to the end than a well told story from cover to cover, which will leave you wanting more for the wrong reasons.
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