In Review: Spirit Hunters #7

An excellent self-contained horror story with impressive visuals.

The covers: A freaky five frontpieces to find for this frightening issue of Spirit Hunters. The A cover is by Harvey Tolibao and Ivan Nunes that shows one of the book’s leads in a previous occupation. Jerome Ferguson is a police officer investigating a suspicious call about a poltergeist. There’s a slight smile on his face as he looking around the home, with only his flashlight to guide his way. He does not see the many limbed specter that’s above him, nor does he see the hand reaching from below for his light. Good, detailed image with excellent coloring — the brightest being on Ferguson, with the backgrounds being much lighter, allowing the spirits to blend in. Well done, all around. Anthony Spay and Jorge Cortes do the B cover, placing Ferguson in greater peril. He’s being pulled down a stony corridor, reaching out for help from Ellen, who can only watch. This cover is perfectly framed to allow the text at the top and to the right; good layout from Spay. I also really like the look of the ghost, especially the hand over Ferguson’s head. The C by Alfredo Reyes and Ceci de la Cruz is the image I chose to accompany this review because it’s beautiful. A ghostly maid makes her way down a hall and it’s exceptional. I love the look of the character, but the strands of mist coming off her are incredible. The coloring is also beautiful, with every shade of blue employed to give her a supernatural feel. Really well done! The D by Daniel Leister and Hedwin Zaldivar is the spookiest cover. The focus is a photo of a family, broken on a desk. The shattered family is overpowered by a wailing spook that is ghastly. I’m a fan of broken pictures on comics, because they’re so symbolic, but it also is an excellent opportunity for an artist to show his or her skill, and Leister certainly does on this. The photo is great, the ghost fantastic, and the details on the desk outstanding. The coloring by Zaldivar is also top notch. Look at the work he does with the broken glass, the subtle greens used for the spirit, and the lighter colors used on the desk and how sunlight effects everything. Excellent! The final cover is the Cosplay Exclusive cover (limited to 350) is by Michael Dooney, with colors by Ula Mos. This has Ellen in charcoal shorts and boots, with a metallic red crop top, and brown gloves. Her back is to the reader, but she’s turning around to face them. She has a familiar pistol in her right hand, while her left rests on Star-Lord’s mask. The circular window before her shows a solid space vista, and Rocket Raccoon peeks up at her from the bottom left. Nice Guardians of the Galaxy cosplay. Overall grades: A A, B A-, C A+, D A+, and Cosplay Variant B+

The story: “Haunted Past” was conceived by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Pat Shand, and Dave Franchini, with Tedesco doing the writing. The book opens with a major action scene as a man is thrown from an upper story window to his death. A woman’s figure looks down upon him. In West Chester, PA, Curtis is eating a burger in the sloppiest possible way, while Vera’s on her computer. Ferguson walks in and asks what’s up. Vera says they’re waiting for a case from Michael, which preceeds Jerome noticing a missed call. He listens to the message and then bolts from the room. In New York, Jerome is at Debra’s apartment, where she tears up as she begins to tell him her tale. Back in his motel, Ferguson looks at an old photograph of his family. A knock at the door announces that Michael, Ellen, Vera, and Curtis have come to help their friend. In fact, Curtis has a Hawaiian pizza, which breaks the tension and has Ferguson say, “I think we got our next case.” What follows is a retelling of what got Ferg involved with the supernatural, and it’s a good creeper. His past ties into the events of the first page and shows Debra’s son doing something unexpected. Naturally, Ellen goes into the spirit world to see what’s occurring and it’s great. The mystery of what’s behind the hauntings/violence is good and Ellen’s second trip to confront the spirit is better than the first time. How the creature is thwarted is very clever, with one character fishing for that validation from others. This is a solid self-contained creeper. Overall grade: A

The art: Joe Sanchez Diaz needs to get on a monthly book as soon as possible. His artwork is great. He is able to capture the realism that this story requires, as well as the supernatural elements. I also like the way he composes a page. For example, the first page is a full paged splash, tilted, showing the husband falling out the window, but a panel is inserted in the bottom, showing the ominous woman watching where he lands. Take note of how the man’s shoulder overlaps the panel with the woman, guiding the reader to look at the panel, plus it gives his fall a three dimensional effect. Very smart! His settings are also well done, with the building where Debra lives looking sharp and the interior of her apartment on 3 looking lush. There’s also a really good setting on Page 17. The actions within the flashback require very little text or sounds, the visuals show the reader exactly what’s going on. The visuals for Ellen’s trips look great. There are some great teases of larger structures and the characters within this realm look good. Ferg and Ellen have the most dramatic scenes in this issue and Diaz does a solid job in making them emote: Pages 4, 7, 13, 20, and 24. The top panel on the last page is a hero shot of the team, but I have to admit that the final two panels are more toward my liking. I would more than welcome Diaz doing other books. Overall grade: A+

The colors: This book has some very dark settings, yet Jorge Cortes makes every bit of the visuals easily seen. Look at the first page, which has the father thrown from a building at night. It’s a brick structure and should be incredibly dark, but Cortes allows every brick to be seen in the evening setting. I also like the work done on the man’s shirt, giving it some excellent depth. The sound that introduces the action on the page is gloriously bright in yellow, outlined in red. The second page has Cortes putting a nice glow from the computer screen onto Vera. The flashback has some really strong coloring, with the colors resembling black and white images to age it. The spirit world is great in deep blues that instantly create a supernatural world. I’m liking what Cortes is doing. Overall grade: A

The letters: Sounds, scene settings, dialogue, ghostly speech, yells, and the tease for next issue are brought to life by Kurt Hathaway. The sounds on this are the perfect match for the actions on the page, and the first page opens with a huge one. There’s also a few whispers in this book that up the creepy factor considerably. The stand out text from Hathaway is the spirit’s speech. The construction of the letters is enough to put a reader on edge. Overall grade: A

The final line: An excellent self-contained horror story with impressive visuals. What will it take to make this a monthly book, Zenescope? I want these adventures to never end. Overall grade: A

To purchase a print copy go to https://shop.zenescope.com/products/spirit-hunters-7

To purchase a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Spirit-Hunters-7-of-12/digital-comic/487527?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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