Writer: Christian Ward
Artist: Sami Kivelä
Colorists: Christian Ward with Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover Artist: Christian Ward
Variant Cover Artist: Declan Shalvey
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Al Capone. Eliot Ness. The Untouchables. These names are ingrained into American history and folklore and invoke images of illegal alcohol, tommy guns, and fancy suits. So what happens when magic gets added into the mix? Tommy Gun Wizards #1 does just that.
In the debut issue of the series that is equal-parts The Untouchables and Supernatural, Eliot Ness and his crew raid a speakeasy that deals out magic shots called “lick.” They bring in a prisoner and hope that it helps get them one step closer to Chicago crime-lord Al Capone, but as they are uncovering the magic-spreading plot, they might have gotten more than they bargained for.
Tommy Gun Wizards, in a nutshell, is historical revisionism done right. The stories surrounding Al Capone and Eliot Ness are near-legendary to begin with, so to add the magic element that suddenly makes these American icons on-par with Arthurian legends is pure genius. Plus, you know, there’s a puke monster.
We all know what a criminal mastermind Al Capone was, but with magic involved, the stakes feel monumentally higher. It’s one thing to bust up a speakeasy where everyone is imbibing illegal spirits, but when magical fireballs are used in lieu of bullets — which puts the Untouchables at a serious disadvantage — it makes it that much more entertaining to see the good guys win.
And, just like any good noir story, the hero has a dark side — an element that becomes apparent toward the end of the issue and sets up more complications for the future. And speaking of the future, I got to wondering if Al Capone is really the one in charge here.
The artwork is outstanding. The bold lines and style give me a Golden Age, Dick Tracy vibe. You can also tell that great care was taken for the color palettes of each page, and the hard work pays off.
This debut issue reminded me a lot of Abbott with historical fiction mixed with dark magic and fantastic art. Abbott ended way too soon, so I’m hoping Tommy Gun Wizards goes on a lot longer than the former did. Ward, Kivelä, and co. are on to something here that is as close to wizardry as it can get.