In Review: Spirit Hunters #10

An excellent change of pace as the youngest spirit hunter is on her own.

The covers: Five covers that require no otherworldly help to find. The A cover is by Harvey Tolibao and Mohan Sivakami. This looked so creepy, this was the image I had to use to accompany this review. A ghastly female ghost flashes its sharp teeth at the reader, a match for the nails on her claw-like hands. She’s wearing a Victorian dress that’s crimson, which is the same color as her eyes. Behind her — it! — is a creepy Victorian home. Sensational cover! The B by Ian Richardson and Jesse Heagy has a classically dressed theater usher unfortunately discover that something is in the theater; an angry spirit manifests out of the seats to do the poor lad harm. Nice idea for cover, though the usher’s hands are huge and the coloring is confusing, with that circle of light on the creature not being cast by his light due to its angle. This is okay, but not great. Next up is the C is by Gregbo Watson and Ceci de la Cruz featuring a beautiful blonde actress applying some lipstick before a mirror. The accoutrements on the desk and on the mirror are great, and the monster shown in the mirror that’s about to grab her is excellent. One can almost hear the line “Alas, poor Yorick” looking upon the D by Daniel Leister and Wes Hartman. An unfortunate theater goer has his head raised high by a veiny spirt. Nicely done, with the colors bringing this undead character to life. The final cover is the Rose City Comic Con Cosplay Exclusive (Limited to 350 copies) by Mike DeBalfo and Hedwin Zaldivar. Holy smokes! “I choose you!” A beautiful brunette, perhaps Ellen, is on her back, arched slightly, against a white background. She’s dressed like a sexy Pikachu. This horizontal cover image is beautiful and not for the kiddies! Overall grades: A A+, B B-, C A, D B+, and Rose City Comic Con Cosplay Exclusive A+

The story: Created by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini, and Pat Shand, this tale was ultimately written by Shand and features Ellen on a solo adventure. The book opens with Ellen in a long hallway populated with several of the spirits she’s encountered in earlier issues. They stand against the walls until hearing someone calling her name causes her to turn around, which causes the spooks to turn as well. She sees a teen in a red hoodie and jeans kneeling before a bed, the character’s back is to her. It turns around to reveal a pasty white face, a shock of long black hair, and a mouth that’s barely able to contain its sharp teeth. She gasps as the creature says, “I got a secret. Shhhh. Do you wanna know what this nice lady told me?” Ellen moves closer to see a body of a young woman covered in bite marks in a pool of blood. “She said you did this to her.” She wakes from her nightmare and visits Michael Chase the next day. She asks for a week off from joining the group as they seek specters. Michael says she he understands and Ellen goes off to visit her friend Kara. The two go to see a fellow thespian perform in a play. Kara thinks Aubrey is cute, and he’s not hard on eyes. Unfortunately, as Ellen watches the performance she sees two giant ebony hands appear behind the performers, ultimately turning into a knife wielding spirit with a noose around his neck. Ellen’s quiet week away from ghosts is not to be. This story gives Ellen opportunity to shine without her friends and in the process shows that she’s more than capable of taking care of herself when it comes to those from beyond the grave. She does a good bit of detective work to find out why the poltergeist is in the theater, ending with a confrontation that shows she’s got the chops to battle ghosts on her own. Overall grade: A

The art: Renzo Rodriguez is the artist on this issue and his work is stellar. Ellen looks very young in this issue, like she’s under twenty, and that gives her a much more vulnerable feeling with what she has to deal with. The opening nightmare is creepy, with the reveal of the body a good shock. The exterior of the university building on Page 2 is outstanding. Michael looks much older than usual in this book and I prefer him to be this old. Kara is a great looking character, appearing to be the same age as Ellen, and her outfit makes her the visual Veronica to Ellen’s Betty. Both women have sensational close-ups on 4, with the center panel on the page perfection. The reveal of the knife bearing ghost on 5 is a full-paged splash and Rodriguez does a terrific job on this. Making the spirit look grotesque is how oblivious the kissing actors are to its appearance. There’s a great nine panel sequence on 8 that shows how well Rodriguez can create different characters and have them emote. The first panel that follows this page shows Ellen on a computer and I swear I’ve seen my own daughters in this same pose. The battle with the spirit is great stuff, with the action conveyed excellently. I especially like the work on the characters’ hands throughout this fight, with them looking outstanding. The full page splash on 19 is wonderful for the power and grotesqueness created. Another element of Rodriguez’s work worthy of praise are the settings. Shown from a variety of point of views and incredibly detailed, the settings of this book make the conflicts the characters are encountering all the more real. I hope Rodriguez gets to do more work for Zenescope. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The lighting effects on this book bring a heightened state of reality to the already incredible visuals. Fran Gamboa with J.C. Ruiz (Pages 1 – 11) and Valentina Cuomo (Pages 12 – 22) are responsible for the outstanding colors. The opening dream sequence is very dark, yet Gamboa and Ruiz make things bright enough so no detail in the horror is missed. The reds are especially bright. The theater where Ellen watches the play returns to crimsons, foreshadowing danger. When the spirit appears it uses some delightfully deadly blues that make it completely otherworldly. When Ellen sits before her computer, there’s a terrific glow cast upon her and her surroundings. When Ellen decides to confront the spirit, note how she no longer is colored in the blues of the ghost, but has bright colors, showing she is not in the shadow of this creature. With the spirit presumably bested, the colors of the book become bold and bright, signifying the danger has passed. This is great work. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios creates this book’s ghostly dialogue, scene settings, dialogue, a marquee, yells, computer text, and the tease for next issue. Esposito’s dialogue is always easy to read, and changing the style of font for the spirits makes them sound unholy. The scene setting for the university is appropriately academic, making the reader believe he or she is surrounded by academia. There are several sounds in the book’s conclusion that make the action exciting, such as SLUMP and SHRP. Overall grade: A

The final line: An excellent change of pace as the youngest spirit hunter is on her own. Ellen shows she’s grown in the past nine issues, through an excellent story and superior visuals. Overall grade: A

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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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