One of the best decisions by the folks at Image Comics this past year was to turn the Five Ghosts mini-series into a monthly. This decision expanded the supernatural and sensational adventures of legendary relic hunter Fabian Gray and his dealings with five literary "ghosts" who are a byproduct of his encounter with a mystical Dreamstone. The "ghosts" inhabit Gray's person and render their special brand of powers to him when needed. Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham's epic story plays in a traditional serialized format similar to the movies of the 1950s and it has been nothing short of awesome in its early run. It has and continues to be one of my favorites every month. Issue #9 continues the ”Lost Coastlines" story arc as Fabian and his assembled group of thieves and pirates have hit the high seas in search of the Island of Dreams. Unfortunately, some acquaintances of Fabian's previous history have commandeered his vessel and now all seems lost as it looks like past sins are going to render present consequences. This issue plays back and forth in time and we get to see this legendary character in a much less legendary light. It really plays to the human level that is Fabian Gray and is a very nice touch. Of course, no cliffhanger would be complete without a surprise ending that has been teased all through the arc. Things are getting ready to get interesting.
I have commented on the writing of Frank J. Barbiere combined with the art of Chris Mooneyham as a perfect harmony. I don't know how it has happened, but I think in this issue that the harmony has become even better. It absolutely rocks and I think that Five Ghosts is taking another step into "must read" territory. It continues to get better and better and better. Barbiere's writing has grit and substance to all of the characters making them not only believable, but exciting. With Mooneyham's art, I can only describe it as a mixture of classic and contemporary at the same time. Action is depicted in the art that develop the story without a single word. And likewise, words are expressed by Barbiere where not a bit of art is needed. It is a true harmony. The closest thing to music in the comics world is what these issues represent.
The heroes are bold. The bad people are BAD. The women are exotic and beautiful. And the action is white knuckle. Five Ghosts is and continues to be a masterful piece of amazing with a side of awesome added in. If you are not reading it, you need to be because you are missing out. Barbiere and Mooneyham are making magic in this tale.
Writer: Frank J. Barbiere Artist: Chris Mooneyham Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 2/5/14