REVIEW: Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray #1

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Pulp comic series seem to be a hot commodity for publishers other than the Big Two these days. Image Comics already has one hit pulp comic on its hands with Fatale and is looking to repeat that success with their latest book, Five Ghosts. Is this title destined for literary greatness or will it be lost amongst the hundreds of other books published each month? Find out now in this Major Spoilers review of Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray #1!


five_ghost-CoverFive Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray #1
Writer: Frank J. Barbiere
Artist: Chris Mooneyham
Color Assists: S.M. Vidaurri
Logo and Graphic Design: Dylan Todd
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

 

Previously in Five Ghosts: Treasure hunter Fabian Gray tragically enouncter an artifact known as “The Dreamstone.” From that moment on he has been possessed by five literary ghosts and can access each on of their unique abilities.

PULPY WITH A FRESH KICK

The opening pages of Five Ghosts has elements that every good pulp story is filled with: treasure, fighting, Nazis, and a pretty lady. We open on our hero, Fabian Gray, as he makes his way into an ominous castle to steal the Augusta Family Jewels. As he maneuvers toward his goal we see that Gray is no ordinary man as he is being granted extraordinary abilities from five ghosts from the literary realm. In the comic they are referred to as The Magician, The Detective, The Vampire, The Samurai, and The Archer, but we all know them as Merlin, Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, Miyamoto Musashi, and Robin Hood.

As the issue progresses we see that this great possession of spirits isn’t all positive as Gray is prone to debilitating take overs that drain his body and force him to sleep for days. Upon waking from his latest episode, Gray is given an envelope from his unnamed friend that provokes a new adventure Africa that promises “a strange stone, spider gods, and the like.” Before leaving though, Gray must pay a visit to the woman he has been having nightmares about. It is because of her that he deals with the spirits and adventure because he longs to find a cure to fix her.

The character of Fabian Gray is seemingly the prototypical hurt hero, but in no way feels like a transplant from another story. Most likely this is because of his particular “power” set that is used fantastically throughout the issue. And speaking of that, it appears that touching this “Dreamstone” may have done more than cause Fabian to be possessed, but you will have to read the issue to learn about that reveal.

THE ART, OH THE MARVELOUS ART

If you are familiar with the style of Francesco Francavilla or David Aja you can start to picture what Five Ghosts looks like on the inside. Chris Mooneyham’s art style fits wonderfully inside the world that is being created in the issue and enhances the story in every aspect. His lines have a rough feel to them but the image never becomes muddled to the point where objects become unrecognizable. One of my favorite parts of the art were the page layouts. One in particular was simply a splash page divided into different segments to show the passage of time. I marveled at this single page for, what felt like, 15 minutes on my first read through.

BOTTOM LINE: I’D BUY THE FULL ARC NOW IF I COULD

I have tried out a few different pulp comics, each with varying degrees of enjoyment, but none of those have grabbed me like Five Ghosts #1 has. Individually, the writing and art are above average, so when placed together a read can expect to be drawn completely into the story. I’m expecting great things from this series and eagerly await the second issue.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Reader Rating

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