Written by Christian Ward
Art by Sami Kivelä
Colors by Christian Ward & Dee Cunniffe
Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Edited by Daniel Chabon and Chuck Howitt
Published through Dark Horse Comics
Magic is illegal in this Prohibition Era mini-series featuring the writing debut of comic artist Christian Ward (Thor, Invisible Kingdom).
As Ward tells it:
“Eliot Ness and his team of Untouchables work overtime taking on dangerous criminals that hide in the seedy underbelly of 1930s Chicago. Except in this world, Al Capone isn’t dealing in alcohol, but in magic. With Lick, a drug that grants magical powers to anyone who ingests it, mobsters become wizards, ordinary men become monsters, and darker secrets than Ness can imagine lie at the heart of it all.”
The concept itself has merit:
The real-life story of Ness versus Capone has been popularized many times over both in fiction and non-fiction, but introducing magic pills into the mix is something new. As if it wasn’t hard enough just controlling the booze.
Ward’s first foray into writing has its hits and misses. Generally, the story flows pretty well and hits the right beats. Again, it’s an interesting take on a period piece with a mix of characters both real and completely imagined. There are some parts, however, where I can’t tell if key characters have been named or not, à la the bearded man in the white suit who seems to exist between both physical form and phantom. The dialogue, also, has its moments that sound pretty natural and likewise those that strain for credibility. Not uncommon for a writer’s first release. I look forward to Christian’s future stories.
Sami Kivelä’s art fits this project well. Not too detailed while allowing Ward’s and Cunniffe’s colors to shape the tone and mood.
Being an editor myself, I can see where Chabon and Howitt can get more involved in helping Ward shape and fine tune his story, but for a first issue, it stands on its own merits and I think Ward and team did pretty well at it.
3.5 out of 5 from me this time, with the hope next issue will fill in some obvious blanks.
Available in comic shops and digitally on August 28th. For more information, head to Dark Horse Comics.
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.