Ghosts #1 is a highly enjoyable horror anthology that brings in together a creative nine memorable tales. By playing around with themes of the supernatural and the paranormal, readers have a collection of ghost tales that focus on the fear of the dark. This roundup of bone-chilling tales features a space heist on a ghost ship, a ghost-for-hire haunting agency, and a pair of ghost private detectives. Just reading one of these tales will put you right back in the Halloween spirit. The book also includes Joe Kubert’s last story, which alone makes it worth a purchase.
WRITTEN BY: Geoff Johns, Joe Kubert, Gilbert Hernandez, Paul Pope, Cecil Castellucci, Mary H.K.
Choi, Al Ewing, Neil Kleid
ART BY: Rufus Dayglo, Gilbert Hernandez, Phil Jimenez, Joe Kubert, Jeff Lemire, John McCrea,
Amy Reeder Hadley
PUBLISHER: Vertigo Comics
RELEASE: October 31, 2012
The most entertaining piece in the collection is Toby Litt, Mark Buckingham, and Victor Santos’ “Dead Detectives: Run Ragged (Part One: Isle Of Dogs).” In their clubhouse at the top of a tree, the Rowland and Paine Detective Agency has just been hired to find a missing cat. What makes this cat, Twinkle, a special individual is that she is already dead. As Charles and Edwin search the London streets for a ghost cat, their investigation is suddenly put to a halt by an angry ghost professor, who has been kidnapping innocent children. In a story within a story, “Twinkle’s Tale,” is a naive and violent tale about the missing cat getting into fights with humans and dogs. You will either laugh or squirm when Buckingham and Santos show you how the cat gouges a dog’s eyes out. With minimal lighting, the streets of London are eerily atmospheric as they are cloaked in shadows.
The most visually disturbing short tale in the collection is Neil Kleid/John McCrea’s “A Bowl of Red.” The finest chili in Texas is actually a taste-test into Hell. The special ingredient, the “ghost” pepper surpasses the burning taste of jalapeno and habanero. One taste of this particular pepper caused a food junkie to spontaneously combust. McCrea provides the horrific imagery as a man’s flesh is burnt to a crisp after tasting the perfect chili. Even as his face is melting, the skinless man begs to given another bowl.
David Lapham/Paul Pope’s sci-fi tale, “Treasure Lost,” is an incredibly visually stunning short that you wish the story could continue even longer. A ghost ship, run by space pirates, is off to steal the riches of the Steven Clan. Pope depicts the ghost ship as a giant whale, with a skull on its surface. In the midst of an epic battle, the Steven Clan fly around in their triangular-shaped spaceships, attacking the ghost ship. With all its power depleted, the ghost ship is falling through space, as fiery explosions tear open its insides.
My favorite among the tales is Joe Kubert’s mesmerizing last contribution, “The Boy and The Old Man.” Before passing away this past August, Kubert had almost completed this unforgettable tale about death and salvation. Lost in the forest, a tribal grandfather must save his young grandson from a demonic warrior. Kubert’s illustrations range from loosely pencilled to fully detailed. Even with just a sketch, readers can totally see how Kubert was a true master to his craft.
From a variety of writers and artists, each twisted tale in “Ghosts” #1 gets better and better. Each ghost story encourages the reader to keep going, never giving them a chance to put the comic down. A great step in quality and quantity, there’s lots of great stuff in here.
Rating: 4.5/5 skulls
Reviewed by Jorge Solis