Welcome, foolish mortals! Marvel Comics’ latest entry in their Disney Kingdoms line of theme park attraction-based titles takes place in the world-famous Haunted Mansion, home to 999 grim grinning ghosts. Read the review, after the jump!
Previously in HAUNTED MANSION: Years before Disney bought Marvel, a Haunted Mansion title was published by Slave Labor Graphics. An anthology title with black and white art, the SLG book definitely had peaks and valleys throughout its run. Many years later, and we’re finally looking at a new Haunted Mansion book. The preview art is gorgeous, Williamson’s a terrific writer, and the other Disney properties Marvel released have been wonderful…all signs that this is going to be the definitive take on Master Gracey’s mansion…
WHEN YOU HEAR THE KNELL OF A REQUIEM BELL…
Let me just get this out of the way: The Haunted Mansion #1 was a fantastic debut issue. Wasting no time in getting the story going, the first few pages of the book introduce the mansion, our teenaged protagonist, as well as the boy’s loving, adventurer grandfather who quickly shuffles off his mortal coils (by the way, the grandfather bites the big one on another Disney property!). Getting all of this backstory and exposition out of the way in the first four pages allows Williamson to spend more time in the Haunted Mansion properly, giving readers introductions to both friendly and vile spirits. Our hero of the tale is a typical teenage loner, who is summoned to the mansion to save the spirit of his father. While some plot holes are overlooked (most glaringly, why did the grandfather’s spirit go to the Haunted Mansion?), I would assume these will be answered in time. For now, I was happy enough to lean back, pretend I was in a Doom Buggy, and enjoy the ride.
WEIRD GLOWS GLEAM WHERE SPIRITS DWELL
The art on this book keeps an exaggerated style, approaching a more realistic take on the human characters and ghostly denizens of the mansion. Coelho does a great job of paying attention to the details of every scene. Backgrounds are fully realized, making spooky scenes a little more unsettling and grounding the whole series in reality. At the same time, he gives the cast of the book slightly caricaturized features, ensuring the book remains friendly and accessible for the younger crowd. The art is the perfect fit for what anyone would expect to see in a Haunted Mansion book. I especially enjoyed seeing the takes on the famous portrait monsters, and can’t wait to see Coelho’s representation of some of the other well-known ghosts of the mansion.
BOTTOM LINE: HURRY BACK, BE SURE TO BRING YOUR DEATH CERTIFICATE
There’s a lot of fun in this book for fans of lighthearted ghost stories, and even more excitement for fans of the Haunted Mansion. It’s a great all-ages story with call-outs to Haunted Mansion history. The book felt like it was over way too quickly, leaving this fan eagerly awaiting the next issue.