By Dustin Cabeal
I take no pleasure in writing bad reviews. It is the worst part of being a reviewer. Sure I could be like most sites and just either not review it or pretend that everything was great, but that’s never been our style. If you send a review to Comic Bastards, we’re going to give you an honest review, but you should prepare yourself for that before hitting send.
Haunted, as best as I can tell, is about hallucinating fire. Some druggies are attempting to make drugs, and their shit explodes. The rest of the issue is fire and one woman seeing the image of a burning man in the fire. She starts a second fire, and the dude reappears… the issue ends with her attempting to start a third fire, but the ending feels like getting cut off on a phone call. You just don’t know what they were going to say next.
There is sadly nothing else to the story. So many pages are spent showing the fire, showing the woman looking at the fire… running from the fire. Starting another fire. It’s a fast read because there’s so little happening and frankly I’m not even sure of the details that are happening. This is all my best guess because the dialogue and narration are insufficient. I can’t be sure in the least bit, and the artwork does very little to help the story. What’s worse is that because we don’t see which characters are talking in the beginning when we do go to the fire it’s hard to tell how many people were supposed to be there. Two? Three? Who was who? These are important details that were completely lost in an opening shot.
I wish there were a phrase for the visual storytelling, maybe there is, but it mostly just shows what the narration is telling us. It never leads the way which makes it all the more confusing when the narration stops and allows the art to take over. Perhaps that’s why we sit on the fire for so long. The artwork is rough, the characters are inconsistent and lack necessary details when on the page. The coloring is okay at times, but then things like a room get blown out when too much of the same color is used. The fire is okay looking, but eventually, it just looks like a yellowed page. There just needed to be more depth.
I have no idea of this story is supposed to continue. If it does, it is of no interest to me. The way it ends is confusing and unsatisfactory from a storytelling point of view. She may or may not be starting the third fire for a third failed attempt to save someone that she let burn in the fire… at this point, I don’t care and have zero sympathies for a drug maker that blew up her life and was never given a reason to care in the first place. In the end, it amounts to a bunch of stuff happening and being captured in comic form, but it’s far from a story to enjoy.
Haunted: Up In Smoke
Throw The Dice Productions