Let me tell you right now that if I wasn’t dealing with a server change at the same time as new comic book day was happening I would have been shouting to the heavens about the newest issue of The Ghost Fleet. How this isn’t grabbing more attention from people is beyond me because it’s the second best thing coming out of Dark Horse right now. That’s right, The Ghost Fleet is second only to Mind MGMT. There I said it. I want to tell you everything about this issue. I might do that I don’t know, but my goodness does this series just get better and better with each issue. Maybe it was the issue I missed that already alluded to what’s going on in the series, but I really think that it all comes from right here and fuck is it good. It’s really fucking good.
It’s so good that if Michael “Blow’em Up” Bay read this he would blow his load just from the opening. I mean if he loaded up on cocaine and Viagra first because there’s no way that guy gets it up by normal means of blood flow.
The issue kicks off on the plane with the big rig loaded on the back. Trace and Ward are having a reunion of sorts while Mickey explains what the Ghost Fleet is to our undercover agent. The kicker comes when Mickey gets a phone call and jumps out the back of the plane after wishing the trio the best of luck… Yes he is the coolest supporting character ever! What happens next the plane is shot down and the trio load up into the big rig and jump it out the back just before impact. That’s when Bay would have blown his load if he could still get it up, but if you see that in Transformers 9 then you know he stole it from Donny Cates and Daniel Warren Johnson.
Now usually creators and publishers don’t like spoilers in reviews, but since I feel like a lot of you aren’t reading this book I’m going to slap a big ole’ SPOILER WARNING on this next part so I can talk about the story freely and maybe then you’ll see why you should be reading The Ghost Fleet.
The cargo is fully revealed in this issue and it’s fucking incredible. Just before that though Roland is revealed to be a mother fucking demon! He begins quoting revelations which is appropriate because the cargo is Death and it’s picked Trace to be its new host. That’s when the story really gets nuts and I know you’re like, “its nuts already”, but nah… it’s not.
Daniel Warren Johnson might just be the closest thing to another Tradd Moore as there is in comics. Johnson produces some incredible action sequences and really just some inventive action shots like punching a goddamn tank into the air… multiple times. It’s like a fucking video game and Trace just got a power up and now he can clear the “tank level” with just his fists. The fact that Johnson was found on social media blows my mind because his work here is so much better than the vast majority of comics on the market. It’s not just his action, it’s his continued use of facial expressions to convey the story especially when Donny Cates drops the dialogue and the art takes over on the storytelling. This could easily be a movie, a cartoon or a video game, but there’s something really special about it being a comic book.
Cates’ story is brilliant. It really is. He’s taken all of these simple over used elements and constructed them into a complex and layered story. At the end of the day it’s still a bromance between Ward and Trace. That’s why it’s so brilliant! That chapter may be over after this issue, but with everything that’s been going on in this story, all the action and everything, to think that it’s really just a story about friends is actually quite remarkable. Mark my words, Cates is the creator everyone will be pissing themselves over in five years max. Hopefully he’ll stick to creator owned projects like this because he’s two for two in my book, Buzzkill being the other title he knocked out of the park.
I wish that this book was still being printed monthly. I mean it’s great that people can still read it digitally, but man on man that cover deserves a print cover. That and I think if Dark Horse had held on one more story arc people would have been rushing to the stores to grab this series and the back issues along with it.
I feel like an asshole saying this, but this is the best issue in the series thus far and I feel that way because I’m pretty sure I continue to say that with each issue. But it’s so true. Even if you’re still somehow not reading digital comics you should check this series out. If it continues past Mind MGMT’s conclusion it will become the best book at Dark Horse, until then it’s doing alright in second and that’s no small feat.