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Gravel, Volume 1: Bloody Liars

(Gravel #7)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  373 ratings  ·  29 reviews
A former soldier and current combat magician, William Gravel returns to England to exterminate the corrupt occult hierarchy.

Magic... the kind of magic that can strip the skin from a screaming man's skull, or direct the path of a shrieking bullet through a maze of city streets. This is not just magic. This is Combat Magic. Sergeant Major William Gravel, Warren Ellis' cult-h
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 26th 2005 by Avatar Press
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  373 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Sam Quixote
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Combat magician and occult detective, Bill Gravel, returns to Blighty after a year spent killing terrorists in Afghanistan - only to discover that he’s believed to be dead, his place in the Minor Seven (an elite group of magicians) has been filled and his most treasured magical item, the Sigsand Manuscript, has been divided up among its members! Gravel doesn’t like that and sets out to get back what’s his - with lethal force!

Warren Ellis and Mike Wolfer’s Gravel, Volume 1: Bloody Liars is incon
Dec 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Now this is the kind of gritty, tension-filled, long-haul tale I've been waiting to read about Gravel. The little books were a nice taste, but they're throwaway episodes compared to this, where Gravel actually struggles against forces bigger than his innate talents, where he actually struggles to wrest his goals from defeat.

This is the meaty writing I've come to expect from Ellis. It's tight, no pointless meanderings and just enough detailed exposition (well-placed, not ham-handed) balanced agai
JL Shioshita
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you like neo-noir, military gore, occult horror stories (and who doesn't) then you'll love Gravel. It's dark, grim, violent, and a lot of fun. This is what would have happened if Harry Potter joined the military after graduation.
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've said it before and I will say it again; GOD I LOVE WARREN ELLIS.

Gravel Vol 1 came in, I believe, 2009, but I just picked it up at the New York Comic Con last weekend at the Avatar Press booth. I picked it up because #1 I fucking love Warren Ellis's books, and #2 I heard it had been the next of his many books to have been optioned for a movie or show. Like most of his material, I flipped through it real quick, got super excited, and dropped some coin.

Gravel is the story of an old soldier (W
John Shaw
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
if you will
instead of John Constantine
Bastard Mage
we have instead
abusive psychotic
who rather than
being clever and
his way out of
just shot and punched the fuck
out of it.
and when that didn't work
he used his special
brand of magic
that ripped your face off.

A Sargent Major in the SAS
(Special Air Service)
think Mosaad but, pissed off)

Gravel is a mage in the Minor Seven
tasked with policing
the magical comunity
they have actually become
the exact sort of
threat they w
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics-thriller
The first story arc of the series has a much more mature Gravel, better dialogue, a better feel of the grand scale of things, a complex magical universe, all of which add up to a Hellblazer style, but with better fight scenes. Unlike in the previous books, Gravel evolves here and is challenged by increasingly difficult circumstances. You get a feel like all his work can crumble in a heartbeat because of the whim of a higher power. I'm very curious how far he will get.

Gravel needs to recover the
Matt Kelland
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
This felt like Andy McNab's Hellblazer. The idea of an SAS-trained combat magician taking down other magicians is wonderful, and the story's entertaining. The twist at the end was predictable (I think I predicted it about halfway through the second chapter), but that didn't matter, as it was still fun to read. I didn't care too much for the epic wordless fight scenes - they seemed lackluster by comparison to the rest of the story.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Why do so many great British comic authors turn into cheerleaders for the SAS? Gravel is about a thoroughly unlikable 'combat magician'/SAS thug killing his old partners. They're all evil and upper-class, and Gravel makes sure to point that out before killing them. Imagine Hellblazer, but with most of the wit and charm removed.

Still, perhaps that's intentional, and I just don't read enough of these 'Men's Adventure' type books to appreciate it.
Aug 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
Once again I gravitate to Mr. Ellis. This is a cool book involving modern day magic, deception, and the always detrimental fault of underestimating. The writing is very clever, and the art is fantastic. Some great battles are performed on these pagesusing a variety of powerful magics. Double thumbs up.
One Flew
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
I've always liked Warren's combat magician concept and here we get a long run at it. A highly entertaining romp, interested to see where this one is going. The change in artwork part way through is unsettling, but it doesn't matter too much. Overall, great light reading.
Quentin Wallace
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Not sure what happened here, but wow! It's almost like the early black and white volumes of the Gravel series were just Warren Ellis playing around, and then when his book got upgraded to color he got serious. I enjoyed the early stories, but with this volume it took a huge jump up in quality.

This is the first volume in color and the art is gorgeous. I like black and white just fine, but the colors were really well done in this volume. And the story also took a jump. The early stories felt like
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
First impressions might turn people off to this one. The description on the back cover sounds pretty silly I admit, but I had heard good things and it's Ellis. There probably isn't another writer out there that impresses me more.

Gravel is an old, crotchety SOB that can still kick ass with "combat magic". When he's unceremoniously kicked out of a group of occult detectives, he sets out to reclaim what's his.....and maybe a little more. It's very well-written, feels pretty original, and many of t
Elizabeth Tabler
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I have read a lot of Ellis over the years. Next to Gaiman he is my favorite graphic novelist and Frankly transmetropolitan is absolute genius. That being said this was just eh for me. His writing is always good, and graphically this is well done. So it isn’t those things, but the story arc felt so flat. It felt flat and combat magician is kind of a thing in urban fantasy right now and sorry to say they did it better. Gravel reminds me of Dresden and John Constantine but without Dresden’s heart o ...more
Vittorio Rainone
La prima domanda che viene in mente: c'era proprio bisogno di Gravel? Parliamo di magia, il protagonista è un mago guerriero inglese che tanto per cominciare è guerriero perché usa le pistole. Le sue pistole sono speciali, sono imbevute di magia. Tutti sono contro di lui perchè, guarda un po', è un tipo difficilmente controllabile. E' davvero una storia originale, nel 2012? Ma se lasciamo stare questa domanda, che si potrebbe porre per molti altri fumetti, quello che rimane è una storia esagerat ...more
তানজীম Rahman)
Rereading this made me realize how much my tastes have changed. The first time I read Gravel I was blown away, thinking it was an under-appreciated gem. I still think it's underrated, but also kind of...shallow? The pacing is excellent and the plot is fairly serviceable, but overall the story felt very by-the-numbers. Only a couple of characters get more than a few pages of development, and most of the ideas are rehashes of things previously seen. Ellis is still a master of the comic book form o ...more
Tobin Elliott
I've pretty much come to the conclusion that Warren Ellis can do no wrong. Or, at least, very little wrong.

I read some of Gravel's adventures back when this was a monthly comic, but it was hit-or-miss, so I finally decided to knuckle down and get the trades and pound through them. And, at least for this first one, I'm damn glad I have.

Yes, I know Ellis and Wolfer share the scripting duties, and Jimenez is the primary artist here, not Wolfer. And you know what? Right now, I don't care who's doing
Jun 19, 2020 rated it liked it
For a time, Avatar was the place that good writers but mediocre ideas out to die.

You often hired them to do a plot outline and then had another writer flesh it out (also Annie's Crossed and Hickmans God is Dead).

Gravel is basically an upped stakes version of Strange Killings/Kisses. Those started out as very gritty one and done, Hellblazer esque tales (possibly what Ellis had intended for his aborted run).

This story is a very tropey "killing the ascended masters". It also reminds me of Neil Gai
Kite Johnson
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In anticipation of Avatar’s planned relaunch of Warren Ellis’s Gravel, there was an entire series to go through first. Consisting of twenty-one issues, the first volume of Gravel presented three story arcs about Gravel’s rise to the top of all magicians in Britain to his eventual downfall and resumption of his role as a combat magician. It would take Gravel outside of his comfort zone sometimes, but in the end, would advance the character like he had never been before. Featuring art by Mike Wolf ...more
Greg Trosclair
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love the Gravel series. From his first story in Strange Kisses all the was to Gravel Combat Magician. I enjoyed Warren Ellis' stories and characters. I love Gravel's battle versus the Minor Seven Magicians in this volume. This is crazy comic adult storytelling at it's finest.
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Exciting, funny, and incredibly violent. Gravel kills a bunch of magicians in a series of creative and mind-bending battles. One of the best and most fun things I've read in the past few months.
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I just finished it for the same week and i really enjoyed it. I loved how at first the story lines didn't seem to have anything to do with each other but slowly details were revealed to show how they are all connected.
Jennifer Juffer
This isn’t quite what I was expecting. That’s the downfall of any reader.
I believe most reviews and synopsis on the back of books are drivel drummed up hype.

The book was good. Written in a harsh, blunt style with the lead protagonist’s accent still ringing in my ears, I’m left with the impression of a cross between Cthulhu, a Constantine type character and an evil Warehouse 13.

I can’t help it, it’s been over a week since I read the book and these are the impressions still in my head.

It is a pret
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel, horror
Warren Ellis is just plain excellent are writing this type of comic. Lots of British lore and mythology. Grim main character who smokes, drinks, and doesn't a care what people think about him. And a bit of the super violence.

This was a reread for me. I originally read this volume several years ago and was underwhelmed. But I picked up the second and third volumes on sale and decided to reread the first volume to reacquaint myself with the series. I have never read Strange Killings or Strange Kis
Artur Coelho
Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Regressado de uma missão sangrenta no Afeganistão, Gravel descobre que foi indevidamente substituído no círculo de magos conhecido como sete menores: sete indivíduos de grande poder com autorização para intervir no mundo real. Ao insulto da expulsão indevida junta-se a ameaça de um manuscrito secreto, dividido entre os sete magos, cujo poder oculto ameaça a estrutura da realidade. Sem outra escolha, o mago de combate elimina sistematicamente os magos restantes, um por um, sem piedade por um grup ...more
Dec 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
this one took a few issues to win me over. admittedly, it is my first experience with the Gravel character, though this is technically the 7th book. my first impressions were of curiosity- why do another magician book, ala Hellblazer? i still don't have an answer for that, but i do know Gravel stands on its own two feet; its a totally different character. Darker, more visceral, violent. and the writing is actually damn good. it is interesting to see a storyline that has so little in common with ...more
May 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics-manga
Ugh..."combat magician". [facepalm]
Mar 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Ambiguous main character not necessarily driven by "good" makes for a compelling read. What's a combat magician? It's just plain awesome!
Feb 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
OMG!! I love, Love, LOVE Warren Ellis!!! This book is CRAZY!! and of course fabulous. :)
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-fiction
Sergeant Major William Gravel, late of the SAS, eliminates the Minor Seven, a group of magicians long fallen into corruption.
rated it it was amazing
Oct 08, 2014
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Warren Ellis is the award-winning writer of graphic novels like TRANSMETROPOLITAN, FELL, MINISTRY OF SPACE and PLANETARY, and the author of the NYT-bestselling GUN MACHINE and the “underground classic” novel CROOKED LITTLE VEIN, as well as the digital short-story single DEAD PIG COLLECTOR. His newest book is the novella NORMAL, from FSG Originals, listed as one of Amazon’s Best 100 Books Of 2016.


Other books in the series

Gravel (10 books)
  • Strange Kiss (Gravel, #1)
  • Stranger Kisses (Gravel, #2)
  • Strange Killings (Gravel, #3)
  • Strange Killings: Body Orchard (Gravel, #4)
  • Strange Killings: Strong Medicine (Gravel, #5)
  • Strange Killings: Necromancer (Gravel, #6)
  • Gravel Volume 2: The Major Seven
  • Gravel Volume 3: The Last King of England
  • Gravel Volume 4: Combat Magician

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