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I stay in New York to bargain for power.
My gran'mere taught me to negotiate for smalls and ways in the unlit parts of the city; she taught me that there were things that lived in New York, that were New York, who could be treated with and flattered or threatened or spoken to over a cup of chocolate or a mug of beer.—First lines
Michel Wibert is a French-American man who lives in New York. Raised by his grandmother, he's the CEO of a financial services firm, is independently wealthy, and likes to dress well.
He spends his spare time being a magician.
Michel's grandmother was the first person to teach him how to See and Hear the invisible denizens of New York City. He uses these powers to make deals for the benefit of himself and others, and, naturally, gets pulled into something much bigger than him. The series is best described as The Dresden Files meets American Gods meets, well, Batman.
This series contains examples of:
- Affably Evil: Malsumis.
- All Myths Are True
- Anthropomorphic Personification: From the god of the Nile to Michel himself (sort of), there are quite a few of these.
- Badass Longcoat: Michel's Burberry.
- Big Applesauce: Mostly Manhattan, to be precise.
- Blue and Orange Morality: The Elders.
Michel: "Wait, you're saying you had me kidnapped, knocked out, tied up in a basement and dropped here on this bench because you wanted me to know how it feels when I turn to you on the fucking subway and say 'hi?'"
- Celebrity Paradox: Discussed when Michel meets Cthulhu. He's sitting in a bar later, more than a little disturbed, and points out to the djinn with whom he's discussing the incident that said Elder is supposed to be fictional. The djinn's response is basically, "That doesn't mean he isn't real."
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Up to and including Cthulhu, though no tea was involved.
- Eldritch Abomination: Hiya, Cthulhu.
- Equivalent Exchange: Michel has to use energy from things like fired bullets and flashbulb capacitors to power his magic. One favorite trick is to fire one bullet, and use the energy from that to do magic to the next one he fires. Then there's the automatic summoning spell running off an old IRT substation.
- Everything 2: This is where it's hosted.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Functional Magic: Seems to be a blend of Device Magic, Theurgy, Force Magic, Transmutation, Summoning, White Magic, Black Magic, and most importantly Equivalent Exchange.
- Gods Need Prayer Badly
- Golem: Michel meets and kills one.
- Hammerspace: Michel is able to summon a magical flintlock pistol whenever he wants by raising his arm like he's hailing a cab. Once he aims it toward the ground at the proper angle, it will return to wherever it came from.
- Immune to Bullets: A lot of the magical denizens of the city can stand up to even Michel's Desert Eagle. So he sometimes has to get...creative.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Michel sure likes his Burberry (later London Fog) coat, which is resistant to harm.
- I Never Said It Was Poison: In one chapter, Michel confronts a suspect in a girl's disappearance. Every word out of the man's mouth somehow gets him into more trouble.
- Invisibility Cloak: Michel's watch can generate "slips", which are basically this, barring magical people and beings who can see through them.
- Killed Off for Real: Raymond
- Law of Inverse Recoil: Averted; Michel mentions at least once that firing his Desert Eagle, despite his extensive training with it, has still made his wrist hurt.
- Lovecraft Lite
Michel: Your boss is a squid.
- Magic Realism / Urban Fantasy: It takes place in a modern New York with a Masquerade. What do you think?
- Magic A Is Magic A
- Magnificent Bastard: Malsumis.
- Masquerade: Unless they can See or Hear, people simply can't notice the supernatural events around them. Interestingly, when mundane people find out about the magical world, they usually take a very short time before coming to grips with it.
- Monster of the Week: Not many (as there aren't that many stories, all told), but they definitely have this vibe.
- Posthumous Character: Eventually, Michel's grandma.
- Rich Idiot With No Day Job: Played with. Michel's job both makes him very wealthy and lets him take lots of time off, but he's smart and very good at it, even without magical assistance.
- Shown Their Work: Frequently. There's one arc that opens with a detailed account of firefighters fighting a gas fire. Instead of just "they pour water on it", Michel's narration notes the use of foam as a suppressor, and using water mainly to douse any flames that escape the foam. This does beg the question of why a financial guy would even know so much about firefighting, but one can presume he simply looked it up between the end of that story arc and writing it down.
- Spiritual Successor: Compare the writer's earlier Park Ethereal series, which also features magical elements in an otherwise normal New York, along with some Urban Exploration influence. However, the protagonists are very different; Michel is an rich man experienced at all this magic stuff, while the narrator of PE is a broke homeless guy who can't remember his name or past and has no real idea what's going on.
- Our Genies Are Different
- Our Gods Are Greater
- Playing with Fire: Melooch and his rider.
- The Drifter: The Djinn.
- Tear Jerker: The death of Michel's grandmother.
- Time Master: the chronomancer ... until Michel shows him why Muggles Do It Better.
- Too Much Information: When Michel asks Kevin how the latter knew his Nana.
"Ahh." He smiled, creasing into a grin. "What a woman yer nan was, boy."
"Okay, that's already told me way more than I wanted to know about that part."
- Utility Belt: Wibert's bandolier. Interestingly enough, it only has a few, precisely defined, very useful items in it. Strangely, Michel can apparently get away with openly wearing a bandolier in a major city in the 21st centur-oh, right, it's New York.
- Walking the Earth: Seems to be the djinn's fate. Well, walking New York, anyways.
- Weirdness Censor: Lampshaded repeatedly; most New Yorkers people won't notice unless something really incredible is happening. In fact, Michel muses that it's easier for him to get away with using magic in public than it is to get away with waving a gun around; people rationalize magic, but they call the cops for guns.
- What an Idiot!: After a building on fire partly collapses on him, Michel takes himself to task for not getting magical head protection, or protection against environmental hazards.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Part of the reason Michel hurls Malsumis off a building is because he's pissed off about Mal's cavalier attitude towards his minion's deaths, and the mortality of humans in general, culminating in "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- Wild Card: Raymond. Cthulhu. Michel's grandmother. Michel himself (as seen by everyone else). Baba Yaga- is it possible to have a whole cast of wildcards?
- Wreathed in Flames: How Michel saw Melooch and his rider.
- Yiddish as a Second Language: It's New York.
- You All Meet in An Inn: Most of Michel's escapades start in bars.