Writer: Frank J. Barbiere
Art: Chris Mooneyham
Colour Assists: S.M. Vidaurri
Logo and Graphic Design: Dylan Todd
Publisher: Image Comics
$3 is a lot of money. On its own, it seems like a perfectly tangible amount, something you may find in your couch cushions, or on the floor of your car. But what happens when you spend $3 every Wednesday for a whole year. That works out to roughly $144 out of your pocket. It adds up and let’s be honest, $3 is the minimum a typical comic book reader will spend per week. Point being, it takes a lot to earn over a reader’s hard earned cash. Comic books need something fresh, so when Image Comics takes a chance on a brand-new series, you can bet, it’s got something new to offer. Luckily for them, and even more so for us, Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray is as fresh as it gets.
Fabian Gray, our titular hero, is a treasure hunter who is possessed by five literary ghosts; the Wizard, the Archer, the Detective, the Samurai and the Vampire. After suffering from a tragic loss, Fabian is determined to use his new found abilities to right his wrongs and save the women he loves. But the power that Fabian holds is a hot commodity, and there’s a group of evil demons out to destroy him and harness his powers for themselves.
If you’ve ever watched Indiana Jones and thought to yourself ‘gee, wouldn’t it be cool if Dr. Jones had super powers?’ then you’re going to love the heck out of this book. This is a globetrotting epic that utilizes the positive aspects of treasure hunter serials and mashes them up with super heroics. The result is an original love letter to all those great adventure books you may have read growing up, and all those dusty old classics you had to do book reports on.
Barbiere is a relative new comer yet he is quite the gifted storyteller. Five Ghosts never misses a beat. From the opening heist to the obligatory bi-plane trip to Africa, Barbiere hits all the right notes, while at the same time, avoiding any feelings of a re-tread. The supernatural elements, mainly the five ghosts themselves, add a twist to the proceedings that makes every page fun and more importantly, fresh.
Mooneyham’s art complement’s the story perfectly. The serialized aspects of the art are reminiscent of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy universe. Each panel feels as if an old movie is unfolding on screen before our eyes. The character design is great though the faces are not as emotive as they should be, with some expressions coming off as wooden. However, this is a minor gripe and not easily noticeable, especially given the clever paneling of the flashback scenes and that spectacular plane crash near the end of the book.
Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray is a great new series with a fresh and clever twist. This is what comic books are supposed to be; fun, action packed and dripping with cool. So make sure you check the couch cushions this week, because Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray is worth every penny. Oh, and next issue, Fabian battles giant spiders. Seems almost too perfect, right?