Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Issue Review: Ghosted 2

Winters and his ghost-hunting team have split up, and while daylight remains, continue to investigate the supposedly-haunted Trask Mansion.  The Burns brothers are mainly scoping the place out for camera positions so they can film their TV show. King is trying to find ways to prove that there is no such thing as ghosts.  Edzia attempts, unsuccessfully, to commune with the ghosts.  And Trick, while looking for something to steal, finds his way past a secret door, down a long hallway, into what looks like another dimension -- but only for a minute. When he looks again it is an empty room.  As the team gathers and prepares to depart, a local cop comes by to investigate all the cars outside. The Burns brothers pretend to be scouting shooting locations (which they are doing, sort of), and the cop, a fan of the show, lets them be.  After he's gone, the team departs, just barely missing being attacked by the ghosts inside.  Edzia asks Trick to obtain some special items for her, most of which he can, but one of which is owned by Schrecken, their employer -- and they know he will never part with it. So Winters decides to steal it.  Meanwhile, at the cop's house, Anderson sneaks in and garrotes him, then calls Winters and says that the cop took a bribe and agreed to "forget" the whole incident.

This is another excellent installment of this combination of the pulp and horror genres.  The team is coming together quite well, with very good contrasts among the characters. King, the skeptic, is quickly becoming one of my favorites, and Winters is an excellent wise-ass as well as a great hard-boiled pulp type of character.  I can't yet figure out whether the other characters are frauds or not, especially Edzia. But given that the world presented here is one in which the supernatural is real, I suspect Edzia will turn out to be the real deal.

One thing I enjoyed was gaining some insight into the events of last issue, but not the complete picture. For example, at the end of last issue, we, as readers, saw a bunch of ghosts hovering around the team, but they clearly didn't, and Edzia said she did not either.  I had thought, upon reading the first issue, that she saw the ghosts but was lying. In this issue, however, she seems to honestly be unable to detect them.  Whether that means she actually is a fraud after all, or whether something else is going on -- including her possibly continuing to lie about what she is seeing -- will have to wait for a future issue.

I will admit that even though I knew Anderson was a secret-agent type, I was surprised at her ruthlessness.  The killing of the cop seemed completely unnecessary, and I'm quite certain Winters and the others would not have approved (and obviously Anderson is certain too, because she lied about it).  The cop clearly did not need to be killed -- he knew nothing.  Either Anderson is operating under orders from Schrecken, or else she is just overly zealous about her job.  Either way, I suspect we are being set up for an eventual conflict between Winters and Anderson once he learns her bloodthirsty methods.  I foresee one of two things happening in the long term. Either Anderson is going to end up off the team, or she's going to have to change her ways. But we shall see.

I also continue to appreciate the work of artist Goran Sudzuka.  He provides us with some wonderfully subtle evidence (as readers) of the house being truly haunted, but positions the evidence so the characters don't notice it. For example, there's a priceless scene where Winters and Anderson are walking across a hallway past a painting. In the last two panels, the woman in the painting turns to watch them pass by.  Sudzuka also does an excellent job with facial expressions.

Overall, this series has quickly impressed me, and in two fast issues has earned the distinction of being put on my in-shop pull list.  I'm still not sure if the basic premise has the legs to go the distance, or if the series will be short-lived, but however long it goes, I'm on board for the ride now.  What I have most enjoyed are the well-drawn characters and the interesting character interactions.  This book has what so many of the DC comics I've been reading lately have sorely lacked -- character development.  Williamson and Sudzuka have put together a really good team here, and I am already waiting impatiently to read the next installment.

My score: 9/10

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