This month Barbiere further diversifies his main character through a flashback to Fabian’s origins as a treasure hunter. Fabian Grey is a hero plagued by the demons of his past and we witness the birth of his outstanding moral compass that time and again carries him to higher means amongst a cavalcade of questionable characters. “Five Ghosts” # 9 offers a sharp and revealing chapter with character driven thrills.
“Lost Coastlines” peels through the layers of Fabian’s history with every chapter. His past is as complicated as his present. He hasn’t afforded the best life, but among his scummy and villainous associates he still proves to have a moral compass. Yet, Barbiere reminds us that there is no honor among thieves.
The chapter begins with Fabian as a prisoner. His captor is angered about the past and is determined to destroy our hero. This creates a wonderful backdrop for a trip into Fabian’s origins as a treasure hunter. We get to see the birth of the dashing rogue we know today.
Mooneyham embraces the flashback with a parchment scrawl approach to the story. You feel as if you’re looking at first hand accounts in wild energetic pencil lines of the past as it’s happening. The origin feels organic and brought to life effortlessly by his work. Mooneyham brings his all to the action, showcasing muzzle flashes with a certain ferocity that owns a panel along with an impromptu sword fight that ends in one of the best deaths in “Five Ghosts.”
So we take a step foreword by taking a step backward. The momentum of the “Lost Coastlines” story does momentarily hit a bump because of it. This short sideline manages to add further depth to a protagonist already dripping with allure. For me this chapter was an incredible journey to the origins of what makes Fabian a true hero. There is something special here that has come to define the character amongst everyone else we have encountered in the book.
It may have been something we’ve known already, but it is nice to see the birth of the trait. In doing so Barbiere reminds us just who Fabian is, and why we are rooting for him. It also shows that he is brash and sometimes careless. Which makes him all the more fun to share an adventure with.
Barbiere and Mooneyham don’t let up for a moment, and “Lost Coastlines” manages to keep up the thrills while telling us more about the characters we’ve come to love. This is a delicate balancing act that most comics don’t seem to understand or care about, but everything about “Five Ghosts” screams that the men behind it are the biggest fans of the story they’re telling. Which tells me we’re in good hands.
“Five Ghosts” blazes a trail through what I like to call a pulp revival. There are so few comics out there that take us to beautiful locales, treat us to engaging complicated characters, and have thrilling adventures with larger than life supernatural elements. If you’re not reading it, well shit, I really don’t know what you’re waiting for.
Rating: 3.5/5 Skulls.