Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray #1 Review
By: Rob Neil Gruszecki
An archer takes aim at a distant castle. The arrow lands on its mark with unparalleled precision and repelling down the rope attached to the projectile, a figure glides with ease into the Nazi stronghold. Now deep in the Austrian labyrinth a wizard pummels two soldiers under the weight of a giant conjured hand, smothering them into the cement. Later using keen detective skills of deduction this mysterious figure gains access into secret treasure rooms where spoils abound. Upon this intruder’s discovery the swift disposal with samurai finesse of oncoming troops is as effortless as the vampiric outburst soon to follow. Meet Fabian Gray, the one and only vessel of each of these spirits, absorbing and utilizing each skill and personality like his own personal inventory of weapons.
From Image comics and writer Frank J. Barbiere comes one of the most intense, eclectic adventure stories this year, chronicling the ongoing occupancy of Fabian and his quest to find a cure for a love he promised his help to. Cycling through each ghost imbedded in Fabian is achieved with a seamless transitory flair that Barbiere wields like his multifaceted hero in the mini-series. Jumping from one explosive sequence to the next keeping the beats flowing smoothly is done flawlessly. The book is hard to put down in between each page and you’ll reach the end both quicker than you wish and expected. So much story ground is covered in this first issue that by the midway point you’ve already forgotten that this is the introduction to the series at all and instead feel like this is a character and universe you are both familiar with and immensely fond of. The literary spirits that inhabit the body of Fabian are typical genre tropes yet their usage is very clever and fresh providing both the crux of the plot and the drive of all the action.
Chris Mooneyham has the daunting task of tackling this mostly quiet (word balloon wise) and diverse comic for its over 40 pages. His work is spectacular and the versatility he shows from the jungles of Africa to the dark storming of an enemy base in Austria are beautifully illustrated. Each character that is a part of the mosaic that is Fabian Gray fully takes hold of the main hero as he takes on their expansive gifts like interchangeable costumes and play with the appearance of the main character. Monsters, mayhem, explosions, sword fights, vampires, horrific possession, demonic ritual, solemn drama, airplane crashes, brutal decapitations, everything you could ask for from an adventure story is covered in Five Ghosts and Mooneyham knocks each challenge out of the park.
The first installment in the five issue mini-series of Five Ghosts is absolutely every comic fan’s dream, whether it be espionage, ninja battles, super-heroics, fantasy magic or sleuth detective and mystery tale, you will find a heap of each haunting Fabian Gray. Definitely one of the best examples of the comics medium this year. A perfectly well rounded and jam-packed thriller.
Rob Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior
Follow him on twitter @Ghost_Factory
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