Friday, October 9, 2009

Haunt #1

Wow, that's a lot of famous names at the top of this comic. Robert Kirkman, Todd McFarlane, Ryan Ottley, and Greg Capullo all worked together on this book and it kind of shows. The art seems to veer around from one artistic style to another. I can almost recognize which artist liked drawing what (Capullo liked the gore, I think, while McFarlane spent the most time on the actual costumed Haunt). The story has been bashed a bit online, but I actually liked it. Haunt is a combo of two brothers, one a hard drinking, jerkish Catholic priest and the other a skilled soldier. The soldier brother seems to have the stronger morals of the two, as he rebels against his orders and kills a scientist when he realizes that the scientist was performing experiments on children. He doesn't really think of the repercussions, because later in the issue, he is killed when he can't produce that scientist's notebook. He immediately starts "haunting" his brother, wanting the priest to look out for his wife. The priest and widow clearly have some sort of history, but we don't get much of it here. Her life is in danger though, since armed goons kick down her door and start shooting. The priest and his brother's ghost merge and become Haunt. It seems the dead brother is in the driver's seat while in super-hero form. I like the twist of very different guys sharing a heroic ID, and making them brothers adds to the drama. I actually found the whole cast fairly interesting. Not necessarily likeable, but interesting.

The comic is certainly violent and "adult," but it does subscribe to a little more tell than show, which I prefer. We know how horrific the soldier's death was based on dialogue, not because we saw every cut rendered in loving detail.

The guy doing the heavy lifting is Ryan Ottley. Most of the story-telling is done in his style, the people look like they stepped out from Invincible. There are some panel compositions where I think I see Greg Capullo's layouts, but for the most part, this looks like an Ottley book. McFarlane does get more involved in a few action sequences. I think he digs that over the blander panels, and his scratchy, detailed linework is visible more in the Haunt-filled pages. I actually think the look of the book is fine, since I like everyone involved. I'm not totally sure I'll follow this series though. How many issues is it again?


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