“Gravel” is one of Avatar Press’ longest running series, with multiple mini-series dating back to 1999 and an ongoing series that lasted for 21 issues. The character was created by writer Warren Ellis and with artist Mike Wolfer. Gravel is a British secret operative that handles all the cases that involve the supernatural and arcane arts. Gravel himself has magical abilities that he uses to his advantage whenever needed including telekinesis, pyrokinesis, levitation and invisibility amongst other.
WRITTEN BY: Mike Wolfer
ART BY: Gabriel Rearte
PUBLISHER: Avatar Press
RELEASE: February 12, 2014
With the launch of Avatar’s new ongoing, “Gravel: Combat Magician”, Mike Wolfer makes the transition from artist to writer and he’s made the shift appear seamless with his confident and commanding grasp of the character. Wolfer does a great job of making the book accessible to new readers without bogging it down with years of continuity. This first issue isn’t weighted down by dialogue either, as new threats are introduced in the first few pages, and it works as a motivation for William Gravel to return to active duty as a government Combat Magician.
Joining Wolfer on the book is artist Gabriel Rearte, who has a simple but slick style that perfectly complements the artwork from previous issues. Rearte does a great job of illustrating the tension and fright that the SWAT members feel as they investigate the horrors contained inside the Tokyo subway lines. When we finally do get introduced to the living dead at the end of the issue, Rearte makes them grotesque and repulsive for the readers to drive home the intensity of the sequence.
The comic book market has always depicted magicians and books about magic are typically trapped within the confines a PG-13 superhero world. With DC Comics cancelling “Hellblazer” in favor of their castrated New 52 “Constantine” version, “Gravel: Combat Magician” gives fans the hard R-rated version that they’ve have been clamoring for. “Gravel: Combat Magician” peels back the curtain on magic to reveal a grotesque look at the arcane arts that’s been desperately missing from comics for quite some time.