When I caught the early view of the cover of Five Ghosts #14, my excitement meter was peaked. This title has been an exceptional entry into my monthly reading that always seems to entertain and never disappoints. It brings back an old school cliffhanger element echoing back to the heroes of yore presented on the silver screen in weekly episodic formats. The only big difference between those gems of the past and this gem of the present is that our hero, Fabian Gray, has something inside of him that enhances his ability and his action modes. That “something” is that within his spirit, he houses the power of five literary "ghosts" of whom he utilizes when needed to make it through his adventures. The first five issue arc last year was one of my favorites of all of 2013. The second arc, “Lost Coastlines” was epic in just about every way. We have now entered into the second issue of the “Monsters and Men” arc, appropriately titled “Night of the Hunter”. And the best thing I can say is that all is well from writer Frank J. Barbiere and artist Chris Mooneyham. This issue is bringing some serious hell hot style heat just like the previous issues. And within the pages of this issue. I believe that the line of the series has been rendered. As Fabian ventures into dense Romanian woods in search of his friend and aid Sebastian, a local warns our hero of the woods and he describes it as “darkness” Fabian, not sweating it a bit, ventures into the wood wondering to himself if maybe the “darkness” should fear him instead of him fearing it. Now that is some serious swagger that perfectly sums up not only the whole title, but the essence of Barbiere’s writing style as well. Barbiere’s writing is bold and full of swagger which mixes with the grainy art of Mooneyham to make for some super reading.
So, what awaits old Fabian in the “darkness”? How about some evil demonic hybrid beasts that seem intent on taking some chunks out of our hero? Along the way, we also discover the fate of Fabian’s friend Sebastian, and we get to meet legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing who likewise is in the “darkness” on the hunt. As things progress, Fabian must make a decision to relinquish his authority to one of the “ghosts” that may have an adverse effect on him in the near future. We shall see. But in reading Issue #14 we have another smash mouth hit on our hands.
The one common thread that appears in issue after issue is the incredible combination of Barbiere’s writing and Mooneyham’s art. Both move perfectly with one another like a dancing tandem as one will drop back in the shadows while the other will inhabit the dominant part of the frame. There are parts here where solely the visual is necessary. While still other parts, draw into the writing aspect of the frame. All of it adds up to a killer combination that is a pleasure to read and view. It fascinates me to watch it in motion.
Of the many titles that I read from month to month, there are few that I will follow religiously. Of those select few, Five Ghosts sits right there. It has all the elements of what makes comics good, wrapped up in a pleasing artistic package. If you are looking for something that will wow you, then I wholly suggest this title. It will do that and more.
Writer: Frank J. Barbeiere Artist: Chris Mooneyham Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 12/3/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital