Anyone who knows me fairly well knows I love ghost stories. There’s something about creepy tales and beings from beyond the grave that’s always held my imagination since a young age. Sadly, however, I feel like a lot of modern supernatural comics devolve into gore for gore’s sake or fall back on other tired tropes. That’s why I was so excited to find Ghosted, a series about a master thief tasked with stealing a ghost. What makes this independent comic so great? Read on to find out!
Ghosted follows a man named Jackson T. Winters, once one of the greatest thieves and con-men on the planet, now reduced to a bored, depressed prisoner who spends each day ticking off time until his inevitable end. One day, Jackson’s life changes forever when a mysterious stranger breaks him out of prison and brings him before her boss who offers Jackson a deal: steal a ghost from a nearby haunted house and, in exchange, be provided with a massive amount of money and ownership of a private tropical island. While initially skeptical, Jackson takes the job and assembles a crack team of specialists for this uncanny caper. But when the pasts dark secrets rear their ugly head, do any of these masters of the criminal arts have a prayer at surviving the forces of the occult?
Ghosted is the sort of comic that draws you right in from page one and keeps your interest with each turn of the page. This masterful storytelling quality is equal parts writing and artwork, which is the mark of a well-crafted comic. Joshua Williamson developed a clever concept for this title and makes sure to use it to the fullest extent possible. Every time I thought I could predict the next scene in the story, something happened that surprised me and fit perfectly in the world of Ghosted. The cast of characters is especially interesting, particularly convict magician Robby Trick who has now joined my list of favorite comic book characters. The interaction between the diverse cast is great, with enough pathos to give you a comic that makes you think, but enough humor to avoid the doom-and-gloom attitude that too often pervades horror comics.
As I mentioned previously, Ghosted’s artwork strengthens the story just as much as Williamson’s writing. Goran Sudzuka holds pencilling duties for this volume and does masterful work drawing the seedy and creepy scenes that transpire. I’d seen Sudzuka’s work previously in Y: The Last Man and loved it then, but if anything his work has grown even stronger in the intervening years. I especially love the sketchy, almost hollow appearance of the mansion’s ghosts. Miroslav Mrva, the colorist for Ghosted, deserves great praise too. Mrva’s use of occasional bright tones, especially reds, to contrast with the earth tones of the manor are absolutely gorgeous. I really can’t complain whatsoever about the artwork.
Though Ghosted is very near perfect, there are a few minor shortcomings. One is the background given to Anderson Lake; it’s explained rather rapidly, but still it’s an all-too-common back story for female characters and I feel has been done to death (no pun intended). Furthermore, I felt the build-up to the final act was great, but the first half of the final issue felt rushed. It’s likely this was because Williamson’s initial pitch was only approved for five issues, and thus it’s hard to fault him for having to hasten the story a little bit to guarantee a completed arc.
Overall, I loved Ghosted Volume 1: Haunted Heist. It’s one of the more interesting concepts for a comic I’ve ever heard of, and it’s execution is elegant. I highly recommend this comic to anyone who’s a fan of ghost stories, heist stories, or if you’re just in the mood for something a little different. I’m glad to hear Ghosted has been approved as an ongoing, and look forward to the upcoming installments of the story. Seriously, you cannot go wrong with this comic.
-great concept for a story with great execution
-intriguing cast of characters
-Anderson Lake’s back story is an overused trope
-final issue’s opening feels rushed
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He’s off to go ghost hunting in an abandoned mansion.
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