Gravel

January 7th, 2008 by NDA

Gravel Issue #0

Like US politics, comics today feel like a two party system. Between the two waring factions lies the independent parties. Today’s review is a comic from an independent that I have grown to trust with my vote. Avatar Press has something the popular guys don’t have. Freedom. The writers and artists are offered the right to indulge in limitless expression. No creative restrictions. This means writers like Warren Ellis are allowed to shine.

Today’s review is over issue #0 of Warren Ellis’s new ongoing series, Gravel. Now before buying this, I had no idea that this new series is actually based on a previous mini-series that Ellis worked on previously, Strange Kiss. So here’s my warning. While you don’t need to read Strange Kiss or any other spin-off related to it, it does seem like it would be very handy. The issue just sorta crams the character’s rough and tough personality down the reader’s throat. I had to use wikipedia just to see what kind of shady past the main character, William Gravel the combat magician, has. Since we are on the topic of story… Overall, it’s a quick start for an issue #0. Just like Ellis’s summer event Black Summer, the story jump kicks you in the face and rocks your world from then on. In this instance though, it seems a little to rushed for new readers. Maybe as the series progresses, us noobies will get some more back story. In terms of plot, the sole purpose of this issue is to set up the first major story arc. Nothing more, nothing less. Basically it’s a 12 page cock tease.

Time for the art… Raulo Caceres does a great job of delivering the goods. He has a keen eye for details and can puts surprisingly decent work on violence. The coloring is nice and clean. My biggest gripe is the dude that looks like a lady. It really did take me a moment to figure that one out. Maybe it’s just me.I really don’t have much else to say about the art. It’s neither eye candy nor garbage. It’s just there.

Overall it’s a good start to a interesting ongoing monthly series. Fans of Warren Ellis shouldn’t be disappointed. Fans of Black Summer will enjoy it’s familiarity. For people looking for a gateway title for independent publishers, this is a fine place to give it a try. It’s decent all around with strong writers running the ship, not to mention the great price of $1.99. Grab it while you can though, because these things never stay in stores for long.

Long story short, Gravel earned itself 3 combat magicians.

***

Here’s the wrap around cover variant. Which, I like much better.

Issue #0 Wrap Around Cover

Buy from Amazon.com : Gravel
Buy from Amazon.ca : Gravel

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