PopCultHQ received an advance review copy of the MACHINE GUN WIZARDS TPB from Dark Horse Comics. Available Wednesday, March 11th, the creative team for this trade paperback features writing from Christian Ward, art from Sami Kivelä, colors by Christian Ward w/ Dee Cunniffe, and lettering from Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.

Here’s PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of…


Writer: Christian Ward
Art: Sami Kivelä
Colors: Christian Ward w/ Dee Cunniffe
Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Cover Artist: Christian Ward

FC • 144 pages • $19.99

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.

Collects the four-issue miniseries and features a sketchbook section and pinups by Declan Shalvey, Ian Bertram, Tula Lotay, and more.

PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:

Prohibition was a time of care-free living, when crime seemed to have a grip over the entire country. And the tightest grip of all was that of Al Capone. But what if ‘Scarface’ Al made his money not on liquor, but on magic? How would the legendary Elliot Ness and his ‘Untouchables’ fight a war against forces from beyond this world? This enjoyable alternate history tale weaves an amazing web for readers against a backdrop known to all, yet different now.

Writing: Christian Ward’s name has been attached to some fun and fabulous comics over the years. Those works include Invisible Kingdom, Young Avengers, and The Infinite Vacation. Now he’s spun a tale of crime, punishment, and magic. This is a fun series, engaging and suspenseful. A true page-turner that demonstrates Christian’s talent for storytelling, world-building, and character development. A prime example is his taking one of the most powerful and still noteworthy crime lords of the 20th century, and adds another layer to him, making even more complex and terrifying as he was in life.

Art: Prohibition-era Chicago. A town of violence, crime, and corruption. Brought to new life by Sami Kivelä and his artwork. One of the things about Sami and his style that will glue people’s eyes to the pages isn’t just that it’s rich in detail, but that it has a very tangible quality to it. In the case of Machine Gun Wizards, that tangibility takes hold especially with the different abilities that Al Capone’s illegal magic can do. No one spell or power is alike, all are different, all are scary, as are the eldritch horrors Sami conjures up from Christian’s script.

Colors: Christian and Dee Cunniffe are a dream on the colors for Machine Gun Wizards. Things like the different forms of magic all require their own unique colors and that sort of decision making can be a real challenge. These two gentlemen came, saw, and conquered with a vast array of colors that were the perfect fit for every aspect of the book.

Letters: Hassan wears many hats in comic book circles – writer, editor, letterer. His gift for writing is evidenced by his many accomplishments, one of which is demonstrated within the pages of this TPB. As the letterer to this wonderful project, Hassan gives every person in the book a voice – from Ness, Capone, the Untouchables and the otherworldly Toad, as well as the ordinary citizens caught up in this war.

Machine Gun Wizards is a fun and exciting read. Every page and panel is chock full of delights and will keep readers wanting more. Christian Ward writes Capone, Ness, and the Untouchables in a style that is grounded, even in a world where magic is prevalent. If anyone is a fan of history, or The Untouchables movie, then this TPB is the next thing to add to one’s shopping list when it hits stores. After all, magic makes everything better.

5 out of 5

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