In Review: Spirit Hunters #12

This series ends well, though leaves the reader wanting to see more of this group's exploits.

The covers: Four different frontpieces to pick up for this final issue. The A is by Sheldon Goh and Sanju Nivangune and shows Ellen standing her ground against several ghastly ghosts that are coming out the walls and floor. Ellen looks outstanding with her fists out to strike any specter that attacks her. The spirits look creepy, especially that woman behind Ellen, to goofy, which would be the one by her front arm. This somewhat diminishes its power, but it still works. The colors are tops, though, with Ellen really standing out well against the creeps. My heart soared on the B by Daniel Leister and Jesse Heagy. It’s an image of a cadaverous hand coming out of a grave. Behind the bony hand is a marker that bears the name WRIGHTSON, with a smaller tombstone in the background saying IN LOVING MEMORY. This is obviously a tribute to icon Bernie Wrightson who passed away. This is a fitting tribute. The colors are soft rose for the scary hand and gray and darker gray for the headstones and the house. I really like this. The “Good Girl” cover this time out is the C by Andrea Meloni and Jorge Cortes. This shows Vera surrounded by several lit candles and a cauldron. She stands with her hands out at her sides and her eyes have turned a glowing blue, showing her to be possessed. The colors are great with the light blue-greens behind her giving this a subterranean feel. The final cover is the D by Harvey Tolibao and Mohan Sivakami. The evil Morgan sits on a swing in a foggy graveyard. The smile on the villain is great and the character stands out well in a bright red hoodie and matching hightops. The graveyard looks to be in disarray with several of the tombstone crosses tilted at angles. Nicely done. Overall grades: A B, B A, C A+, and D B+

The story: This final issue opens with the entire gang in a car driving somewhere. Ellen looks lost in her thoughts, Vera is on her phone, Curtis looks nervous, Ferguson cannot be clearly seen, and Michael looks upset. The story, conceived by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, & Dave Franchini, with the latter writing this issue, then moves to the past where Ellen confronts Michael about a place where she’s getting the spirit vibe. He doesn’t want to go there because it’s where he lost his Jenny years ago. Ellen convinces him that if they go there she can get answers to her ability to enter the spirit world. He’s not thrilled, but relents. Back in the present, Curtis is on his laptop and says, “Hey, have you guys looked up some of the stories on this place? It’s been around forever. There have been more paranormal occurrences reported here than anywhere in the world. Some claim it’s a gateway to Hell.” Pulling up to the house, his comments are justified: the two story house is a wreck, though a family does live there. Having contacted the family to allow them come in for the night, the Kralles leave with the father saying, “Do what’s needed, if the house lets ya.” Ellen makes straight for the door as the others recount some of their previous adventures from earlier issues. One inside the door slams shut and the villainous Morgan appears and everyone passes out and hits the floor. What then follows are the characters being trapped in their own private hells as Ellen fights the spectral baddie. The ending has got a terrific twist. I was really happy with this series’ conclusion, as it goes against the grain for complete closure and everyone living happily ever after. Ending this series in this way makes its conclusion a little more realistic. Overall grade: A

The art: Renzo Rodriguez’s artwork is great. He’s got a terrific handle on his characters, making them look unique and able to emote excellently. This is evident in the first panel given everyone’s particular mood as they drive to the haunted house. Michael’s reactions in the flashback explain his agitated face in the first panel. Curtis’s visage on the second page begins humorously as he finds information about the house online before ultimately becoming a fright when he spies the home. The house is a full-paged splash and lives up to his description — I wouldn’t want to live there. The first panel that establishes the interior of the house is decorated with all the trappings one would expect and they look great. The fifth panel on Page 5 creates a ghostly atmosphere by showing all but one of the characters in silhouette. The tease of Morgan in the last panel of the page is accomplished by a wisp of smoke that appears behind Ellen. Morgan’s first appearance is terrific and what’s done to Ellen is done very well. This is followed by the other four members of the team having a reaction to the spirit’s actions. Page 7 is another full-paged splash showing where all the characters are while Ellen and Morgan tussle. I like how the five make a pentagram on the floor with their positions — very, very cool. The horrors shown on Page 10 are exceptionally well done, with the three characters looking absolutely horrific. The threat on Page 12 is much more comical, but given whose hell this is, a comical bent to the spook is appropriate. I’m impressed by the amount of equipment on 13 that’s executed well, as the angle of any one of the devices shown could have thrown the reality of the situation off. The reveal on 16 is outstanding, giving me exactly what I want to have terrorize one of the characters. The action on 21 is also great, with the coloring making what’s done believable. The hidden character on 22 is a great way to make the reader get through this page quickly to see whom this individual is and the payoff is shown on 23. The last two panels on this page rock. The final image of the book is the perfect way to close out this series. My hat’s off to Rodriguez for doing such a good job. Overall grade: A

The colors: The colors on this book are wonderful. The first panel of the book is beautiful in blues from Jorge Cortes, which starts the book with a mournful mood. The second page has some great color work with the windows of the car fading the characters and contents within the vehicle. The yellow lights within the house shown on Page 3 give the dwelling an otherworldly feel. Once inside the haunted house, the colors become dark and the sounds become bright. Morgan’s dialogue has got a great dark blue to strengthen the character’s supernatural nature. When Morgan appears the character is easily seen due to its bright red hoodie, while the smoke that follows it is a delightfully eerie green. The colors for the second character’s personal hell are fantastic in orange to accentuate a fire. Just great! This color is countered by some sensational and appropriate antiseptic greens. Cortes is on fire this issue. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios also does a stellar job on this issue with scene settings, dialogue, sounds, screams, moans, spirit speech, Jenny’s speech, and the final four words of the series. I really like the spirit speech that resembles something unearthly in a wicked scrawl. Jenny’s opening dialogue is terrific in a hypnotic font that visual caresses one of the protagonists and the reader. The sounds, screams, and moans are shocks on every page, increasing the tension and shocks each time they appear. The final four words are what one would expect to see at the end of a film, though they almost seem to have some venomous sarcasm in their design. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This series ends well, though leaves the reader wanting to see more of this group’s exploits. I like how every character got a spotlight and the realistic ending. The visuals are terrific, creating a wonderful realism and plenty of scares. Well done job, Zenescope, but you have to keep this going. 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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