It’s hard to believe that it has been about three months since we last encountered Fabian Gray with his “Ghosts” doing battle and building on his legend. It sure hasn’t seemed that long (mercifully). But with the release of Issue #17, we have finally reached the conclusion of the “Monsters and Men” arc. An arc that has stretched the boundaries of Fabian Gray’s powers, his friendships, and even his own survival as those closest to him are being used against him for no other reason than for who he is and what he has within him. Yes, the “Monsters and Men” arc has been one spectacular cliffhanger after another in build up to this finale featuring the likes of classic literary characters in their own right in the form of Abraham Van Helsing and the dreaded Dr. Moreau. As Issue #17 ends, all bets are off as Moreau has saved his biggest and most nasty monstrous creation for Fabian in the form of his best friend and advisor Sebastian Windsor. Now, Fabian must deal with stopping this hideous beast, yet saving his friend at the same time.
Issue #17 delivers the thrills you would expect as we get a wonderfully choreographed battle between Gray, Van Helsing and the Sebastian beast with Moreau lurking close, eyeing an escape. We likewise get the backstory with Sebastian and Fabian’s partnership which extends further along the family lines than we once knew.
But like with every Five Ghosts episode/issue, the best is saved for last as Dr. Moreau, with nothing left to lose, goes for broke and makes another creature that makes the Sebastian beast look like a muppet. Do our heroes survive? Does Sebastian get saved? Who is the real enemy behind these dread experiments? All these and more are answered within the pages of this issue.
I like to say that Five Ghosts is an episode/issue, as each story is played out in traditional movie cliffhanger fashion taken straight from the weekly cinema serials of the 1930s and 40s. Writer Frank Barbiere and artist Chris Mooneyham have played the cliffhanger serial format from the very beginning evolving Five Ghosts from a miniseries to a full- fledged monthly. This has been no accident as Barbiere and Mooneyham have created a diverse, devoted, and full on excitement laden title that never fails to disappoint.
I have had very little bad to say regarding nearly any issue of Five Ghosts. Issue #17 is no exception to that. Barbiere’s words with Mooneyham’s art ebb and flow like the tides of the ocean, ceding to the other as the need be. But working together also to leave the reader with a most wonderful comic reading experience.
Sometimes, you can just sit there in awe of the art, as Mooneyham tells a visual story that conveys the action perfectly. Barbiere likewise brings the writing along, taking a relatively simple concept of a guy with a lot of special guys within him used to assist him in his adventures. And turning it into a complete and epic spectacle making Fabian Gray into a legendary character on par with the five literary characters that are a part of him. It continues to be the stuff of mystery, magic, and majesty.
Adding to this issue’s overall pleasing read, Fabian apparently has had some side effects to the experimentation of Moreau, giving him enhanced ability with his characters, of which the wizard plays a huge role. Hell, they all do. But it was pretty cool seeing the wizard unleash some hardcore fury within these pages.
All in all, Five Ghosts #17 is and continues to be a must for me each release date. I don’t know when things will end. But I do know that I plan to be there. I am looking forward to our next arc as the “personal” nature of Fabian’s battles continue to increase.