Saturday, March 23, 2013

Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray #1

Written by Frank J. Barbiere
Art by Chris Mooneyham

I figured that it was an easy bet to take a chance on Five Ghosts, a new Image mini-series.  The writer, Frank J. Barbiere has caught my eye with his 'White Suits' stories in Dark Horse Presents, which deal with a mysterious Russian mafia.  The artist, Chris Mooneyham is new to me, but he has a style that reminds me a little of a cross between John Watkiss and Francesco Francavilla, with a little Frank Robbins tossed in, which is an interesting mix, giving this book a bit of a retro look to it.

The story is about Fabian Gray, a 'treasure hunter' who was somehow possessed by five 'literary ghosts' after touching an artifact.  Now, how exactly literary characters can exist as ghosts (outside of Mike Carey and Peter Gross's Unwritten) is not very clear, but it does give Gray the ability to tap into the knowledge and special skill sets of Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, some wizard (Merlin?) and a samurai (that one stumped me).

The story is set in the Second World War, and after an Indiana Jones-like opening sequence in a Nazi castle, followed by a little canoodling with his client, Gray hangs out with his advisor, before getting all possessed and crazy.  We learn that there are forces coming for Gray, and then he and his friend get shot down in Africa by spider-eyed Zulu warriors, or something like that.

I don't have a great handle on this book right now.  I like the art a lot, but am having some problems in following the story.  Perhaps a second read would help.  As it stands, I'm not all that sure if I'm going to stick with the title, but I would like to give it a second chance to impress me.  I think I was expecting something a little more literary (and yes, I know that Iago is in it), and maybe read this in the wrong mindstate.  I'll give it another go before the second issue comes out and see how I feel about it then.

If you're looking for an interesting adventure, you could do worse.

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