We have reached the penultimate issue of the current story arc and things just have not let up for Fabian Gray and his “Ghosts”. Currently, he and they find themselves trapped at the hands of a mad scientist with quite a familiar name in regard to monster lore, preparing to do some exploratory surgery on our hero and remove the mystical Dream Stones that are imbedded in Fabian’s chest. Elsewhere, Fabian’s friend Sebastian who was abducted by this mad scientist, gains a cellmate in the one and only Abraham Van Helsing who was captured along with Fabian in the last issue after a heavyweight scrap. Things are looking pretty bleak (Cue music…Dom Dom Dooooooooooom). But as this issue plays out in complete and utter action packed detail, you can bet for sure that all of our imprisoned and trapped heroes have a plan to make their break to freedom. What we get are some brutal fisticuffs, Fabian going all out ghost mode, and a big bomb drop in the end to prep us for the dramatic conclusion of this intense story arc (Cue music…Dom Dom Dooooooooooooom).
I keep thinking that writer Frank J. Barbiere and artist Chris Mooneyham will one day drop a modest issue out that doesn’t quite live up to the legend that they have made in Fabian Gray. They have yet to do so with their previous arcs. Surely, this will be the one?
NOT A FREAKING CHANCE!!!
Barbiere and Mooneyham work together like two peddlers on a tandem bike, writing and drawing in as perfect a unison as about any comic that is out there. I am continually amazed at how these two ebb and flow with each other, yielding when the art needs to tell the story or bulking up the writing when it needs to be the focus. It is so magnificently done that it’s like they are tapped into each other’s brains. Quite impressive to say the least.
The flow and pace of this issue works in a mixture of dream sequences, flashbacks, and action sequences that make these pages practically turn themselves. When our mad scientist reveals his history, things fall into great place and the use of the inking is particularly impressive during his little Third Reich origins. Likewise, when Fabian unleashes his fury, we erupt into a powerful color display that conveys the intensity of the sequences. Big props go to Lauren Affe for the intensity. Fabian’s Dream Stones are rocking as is his fury.
I know something might let up one day (maybe). But as for now, the released 16 issues of Five Ghosts has been as close to perfection as any sixteen issues that I have seen. I view it as a great change of pace from your standard comic fare returning to those thrilling days of yesteryear and the old cliffhanger reels. When reading this comic, you see the old films come to life and know that Barbiere and Mooneyham have done their homework as they have created one super spectacular read. My only real knock on it at all is that I wish it could be longer. I simply don’t wish it to end.