Warren Ellis’ Strange Killings: Necromancer

Any recent Avatar Press releases sell-out before you could get to them or just slip under your radar? Here are some reviews by industry critics to help you to decide which titles you wish to catch up on (first)…


The thing I love about the Warren Ellis material put out by Avatar Press is that it is so raw, so visceral. Unfettered by the kind of constraints he may have working for Marvel or DC, Ellis is free to assault the senses of his readers with stories filled with violence, gore, and profanity. Now that’s not to say that he is glorifying those things or even that he’s excessive. I’ve frankly always admired Ellis’ use of these tools both in subtle and extreme ways.

If anything, “Strange Killings: Necromancer” may be the most tame of his works for Avatar. It’s certainly is the least fantastic of his stories; a mix of adventure and zombie horror similar to many of the recent zombie films. Setting it apart from being just another mundane zombie story is the main character William Gravel, a British S.A.S. agent who just also happens to be a combat magician. Gravel is briefed by his superiors on a scientist who sanctioned by the British government to conduct experiments in chemical weaponry on a Philippine Island. The doctor has gone rogue and intends to sell his work to the highest bidder. Already several covert-ops units have gone missing trying to find the doctor, but that’s not what Gravell is assigned to do…His job is to locate an American journalist who has been snooping around the island and kill him before he can reveal his story in the media.

Gravell’s mission is quickly compromised when he finds the journalist is not a man, but a beautiful woman, trapped on this island with a horde of zombies, created by the doctor’s serum in hopes of creating a disposable fighting force. Gravell will have to use all of his physical and magical skills just to survive…but will he complete his mission?

“Strange Killings: Necromancer” is a solid action/horror yarn. Ellis quickly jumpstarts the story and rarely lets off the accelerator. These zombies are among the most foul, rotting things, virtually dripping with ooze but have insatiable appetites. Gravell is like James Bond meets Doctor Strange and a wonderfully colorful character. My only real complaint is that the art of Mike Wolfer is only average, decent but nothing special. I’d really like to have seen what a top-notch artist could have done with the story.

Reviewed by Tim Janson

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