War Is Brewing In Wizards #3, But Not The One You Think

by Brendan M. Allen

As Eliot Ness works to bring down Al Capone’s illegal magic ring, dark wizards begin invading the dreams of the Untouchables and Ness’ own family. Meanwhile, Ness discovers that something worse than Capone is behind the whole operation.

First off, ugh. This trademark nonsense pops back up again with Dark Horse Comics’ Tommy Gun Wizards, now re-branded as “Machine Gun Wizards.”
Back in 2013, Saeilo Enterprises filed suit against against the Alphonse Capone liquor company, forcing the Illinois distillery to stop using the “Tommy Gun” name and image on their labeling. Before that, they sued Buzz Bee Toys for similar reasons. I’m going to go out on a limb and say something similar happened here, especially since the “Tommy Gun” bit is the part of the Wizards logo that is being obscured on future printings of the first three chapters.
So… Machine Gun Wizards it is. I wonder if Saeilo Enterprises, Inc. also owns “Chicago Typewriter,” “Chicago Piano,” “Chicago Organ Grinder,” and “Drum Gun.” Drum Gun Wizards could have been cool. Chopper Wizards? M1921 Wizards.

Wizards #3 opens up with the aftermath of The Untouchables’ last melee with Capone’s goons. With one of their brothers in arms laid up in a hospital bed, and wondering if they can even trust Ness, three of the lads plan a covert bust at an unlikely location. Meanwhile Capone’s motivation and shocking weaknesses are laid bare. Turns out Scarface may not be holding as many cards as he appears to be…yet.

Christian Ward continues to deliver a well balanced, genre bending narrative. This is only the third installment, but it feels like we’ve been doing this for much longer. Ward set up this penultimate chapter brilliantly with the previous two by cleverly piggybacking common knowledge and deeply rooted misconceptions about this particular time in American history and then jumping off when he needs to tweak the facts and timeline.

I love the artwork by Sami Kivela and colors by Ward and Dee Cunniffe. Kivela nails down the aesthetic of Depression-era Chicago and almost seamlessly blends in the urban fantasy elements of Ward’s script. Ward and Cunniffe use a bleak, period, cinematic palette for the mundane scenes, and then blow the thing wide open with vibrant purples and pinks any time magic rears up.

I said before it’s hard to believe Wizards is only in it’s third installment. Harder to believe is that this thing completely wraps with next month’s chapter. This limited series has been an absolute pleasure to read and review.

Wizards #3, Dark Horse Comics, released 23 October 2019.  Written by Christian Ward, art by Sami Kivela, color by Christian Ward w/ Dee Cunniffe, letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, backup story written and illustrated by Christian Ward. Variant Cover by Ian Bertram w/ Christian Ward. Published by Mike RIchardson, edited by Daniel Chabon assisted by Chuck Howitt, design by Anita Magana, digital art by Allyson Haller.

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