Chills. That’s what this issue gave me. The concluding chapter Frank J. Barbiere has been building to is finally here, and it couldn’t be better. This is a book that is entirely deserving of your attention. The last five issues have told an expansive story with incredible pacing. In the hands of a lesser writer the book would feel muddled and nearly impenetrable but Barbiere makes it look easy. The first arc of “Five Ghosts” concludes with an overwhelmingly satisfying bang that is sure to leave readers wanting more from Fabian Gray.
WRITTEN BY: Frank J Barbiere
ART BY: Chris Mooneyham
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: July 31, 2013
The issue begins with a flashback into Fabian’s past. One of the saving graces of the series has been its ability to forego exposition in service of a compelling story. How Fabian came to acquire the dreamstone became one of the biggest mysteries of the book. The question is answered instantly in this issue, through a clean and clear flashback that doesn’t overdo things.
From that were thrown back into the action in the Forgotten City. Iago is tearing the place to pieces and Sebastian is on the verge of defeat. Fabian emerges from his subterranean think tank renewed. He approaches Iago and it is immediately clear that things are different. A climatic final battle takes place, and the stakes are higher than ever. Iago is jacked up and ready to destroy. Fabian is confident and in control. The renewed Fabian is one we want to root for.
Barbiere does an excellent job at making Fabian’s plight relatable. We’ve all gotten greedy and desperate. Forgiving ourselves is the key to ultimate power. Which is exactly what this issue is about. We find out what was holding Fabian back, and its nothing supernatural. It’s terrifically relatable.
The script here is masterfully put together. Everything has been building to this moment. Barbiere wastes no time on the page and its appreciated. The series has already been one of the best paced books on the stands, and this issue cements it.
Mooneyham’s art is once again something to behold. The flashback panels are wonderfully surreal and dramatic. Seeing Silvia pulled into the whirling abyss will show you the strength of Mooneyham’s pencils. The title page is incredible. The detail and pain in Fabian’s face is unparalleled and capable of transference onto the reader. Iago cutting his way through the Forgotten City is superb. His face says everything about the character. He is murdering people left and right and absolutely loving it.
Mooneyham’s depiction of the final confrontation is pure excellence. Fabian’s rise from the water will give any reader chills. Iago’s beastly form is demon like and imposing. I couldn’t turn away. The full page spread when Fabian uses the power of the samurai is so captivating and filled with energy that you feel the page is moving.
I was devastated to believe that this was the end of Fabian Gray. However, like any good pulp hero, Barbiere reminds us that Fabian isn’t done adventuring. “Five Ghosts” is a treasure. A truly incredible book that embraces the comic medium to its fullest. Wonderful characters, incredible art, and a one of a kind story make “Five Ghosts” the peak of the medium.
Reviewed by – Jimbus_Christ