Comic Book Review: Five Ghosts #9

Written by: Frank Barbiere

Art by: Chris Mooneyham

Colors by: Lauren Affe


When a books main hook isn’t present in an issue and that issue still stands on its own… that’s quality.

I never read Five Ghosts before. I chose to read Five Ghosts #9 because of the great things I had heard about it online and its unique premise. I mean a story about a treasure hunter that becomes possessed by five literary ghosts? I’m sold.  This book touches two worlds I love; science fiction and literature. But this issue specifically is more than that.

What the ninth issue of the series brings to its readers is an action adventure tale that has our hero, Fabian Gray, in dire straits as we learn what fateful actions brought him to such a dismal place and time. But no literary ghosts. None. And while I was bummed to find out that this is one of those “depowered” hero issues, it didn’t matter, I was still thoroughly entertained.

From page one the art had me by the neck. Chris Mooneyham is a beast with his slick lines and heavy inks. A style that resembles works from the 70’s and 80’s, it transports the reader into the pages, asking them to believe in the moment and accept the world he’s creating. His pacing and art direction are seamless with the story and panel layouts guide the reader’s eyes effortlessly through the book. I found the flashback scenes stunning as it is just loose pencil on sepia toned backgrounds, something that could easily have come directly from a sketchbook.

Lauren Affe’s colors are soft and subtle, a perfect choice for Mooneyham’s art and the feel of this issue. The constant variations of aquamarine convey the feel of being in the bowels of a ship and the pink and blue hues of the sky help provoke the feeling of sea air on your face.

Frank Barbiere uses the captivity of Fabian as a way to reveal his past. In the aptly titled third part of the “Sins of the Past” arc he pulls the curtain back and shows the path that Fabian took and what kind of character he is. The majority of the issue is a flashback or told in the past tense. Not much happens in the “present” but it works. Barbiere delivers great characterization, smooth storytelling and squash buckling adventure. He does a fantastic job of presenting a tale that on the surface would seem like it belonged in decades past; to a simpler time- but still contains the grittiness and power of a modern day comic.

While I wish I would have gotten to experience how the five literary ghosts play into the story,
this issue had more than enough going on to keep my attention and make me want to come back for the next adventure.

Review Score: 6 (out of 7)

Thoughts? Comments? Drop a note or find me on Twitter @theprophetlen.

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