Publisher: Image Comics
Story: Frank J. Barbiere
Illustration: Chris Mooneyham
Colours: Lauren Affe
With Five Ghosts #15, Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham continue to deliver everything that makes comic books great. Five Ghosts offers action, swashbuckling pulp adventure, a touch of the supernatural, and a throwback feel. In Five Ghosts #15, readers reach the third chapter of “Monsters and Men”, Fabian Gray’s quest in Romania to locate a lost friend. In this chapter, Fabian Gray teams up with Abraham Van Helsing. Consistent with comic book tradition, such a team up necessitates a battle between Gray, possessed by his vampire ghost, and vampire hunter Van Helsing.
To provide a bit of background, following an encounter with an ancient artifact called “the Dreamstone”, treasure hunter Fabian Gray is aided by five “ghosts” – the wizard, the archer, the detective, the samurai, and the vampire – whose creative energies have been trapped within his body. The five ghosts have been removed from their residence in the Dreaming and are not pleased to have their creative energy held hostage within Gray. After he attempted to tap into the power of the Dreamstome, Fabian’s sister, Silvia, was captured by a vampire and Fabian has thus far been unable to rescue her. The series addresses how Fabian deals with being the unwitting host for these energies while telling fantastic supernatural pulp tales.
Meanwhile, in Five Ghosts #15, Fabian’s friend and Silvia’s fiancé, Sebastian remains captured and is being tortured by a mysterious doctor. Sebastian’s visions of Silvia from last issue proved to be just that, and he faces a very unpleasant reality. The nature of his capture is something readers will have to learn for themselves.
Five Ghosts delivers cliffhanger pacing in the tradition of the best pulp serials. Frank J. Barbiere authors action paced stories that play to Chris Mooneyham’s strengths as an artist. Mooneyham is an impressive illustrator, who has already put the reviewer on the hunt for his original art. Mooneyham’s style evokes many of the masters, and is influenced by early Neal Adams, Frank Miller, and John Romita Jr. Lauren Affe’s washed out colours fit in extremely well with the moody script.
Five Ghosts #15 continues an incredibly enjoyable series mixing the adventure of Indiana Jones, with the pulp feel of the Shadow, and supernatural elements like those found in Hellboy. Few comic books fans could find a reason not to enjoy this series.