In Review: Spirit Hunters #6

A packed and entertaining story that has some solid surprises.

The covers: A supernatural six to pick up if one is a completist for this series. The first cover, the A, is shown from inside a racer’s car. The driver is frantically spinning the wheel trying to avoid the horrific ghost before him or her. The design of the monster is good, but there’s too much space devoted to the interior of the car to make this look truly chilling. The art by Harvey Tolibao is good, but I need to see more of the ghost. The colors by Grostieta are equally well done, though the interior of the car is really, really dark. The B is by Daniel Leister and Ceci de la Cruz. This features a car flipped over at a race track. The vehicle is engulfed in flames as the other cars speed past it. The flames resemble a demonic skull, making this wreck seem anything but natural. Fire is tough to draw, and this looks really rough. The coloring seems to be filling in most of the work on this image. This is okay, but it’s not fantastic. The C cover by Alfredo Reyes and Ceci de la Cruz features one of the gorgeous girls at countless races posing before a car for a photo shoot. She grins at the reader, unaware that there’s a ghost in the vehicle that looks ready to start the engine and run her over. Good execution from Reyes, with the girl catching the reader’s eye before falling upon the spirit. The colors are also stellar, with the highlights on her skin looking good, the car looking sleek, and the ghost eerie in blue. The final regular cover is they D by Anthony Spay and Jorge Cortes. This is the image I chose to accompany this review because it was so cool. Ellen’s enjoyment of a race is interrupted by the spirit that has appeared beside her. Only she can see the entity in the crowd. She looks shocked, the spirit creepy, and the crowd focused on the race before them. The colors on this are also excellent. This is the one to track down. C2E2 Exclusive cover (limited to 500 copies) is by Paul Green with colors by Ula Mos. This has Ellen wearing a crop top that’s barely restraining her cleavage as well as a thong. The clothing is in Chicago Cub blues, previewing where she’s going — Wrigley Field, which is just to her right. Great cover with another outstanding Green girl featuring Mos’s superb colors. I couldn’t find a copy of the Spring ZenBOX Exclusive cover (limited to 200 copies online), which is also by Green and Mos. Good luck tracking that one down! Overall grade: A C, B C, C B+, D A, and C2E2 Exclusive A+

The story: Late at night, overlooking the Los Angeles skyline, a couple park their car. They exit the vehicle to kiss, but the boy quickly pulls away screaming, “My face is on fire!” He begins to scratch at his face frantically and falls over the cliff. The girl screams after her boyfriend, noticing too late that a gaunt specter has appeared behind her out of a green mist. The ghost reaches out to her, grabbing her face, burning it as though it was composed of acid. She joins her boyfriend, falling over the cliff. Days later at LAX the Spirit Hunters crew arrives in the city. The five of them take a shuttle to a parking garage after Curtis gets shot down trying to pick up the first attractive women he sees. This story was conceived by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Pat Shand, Dave Franchini, and Marty Scott, with the latter actually writing the issue. The characters split into two groups, boys and girls, to investigate what happened to the couple. There’s a lot of ground covered in this book and Scott tells it very neatly. No scene seems rushed or fluff, every element of the story is given enough time to move the plot forward and everything is important to solving this poltergeist problem. Some neat scenes occur on 7, with Ellen getting a touch of the trouble, 8, with another innocent dying, and on 11, which features a creepy, violent death. Page 15 has a neat twist with who the killer could be. Pages 19 – 21 have a strong action sequence with one character doing something drastic, which will strengthen the bond with another for the remainder of this series. A good ghost story with some creepy moments, a good mystery, and a strong conclusion. Overall grade: A

The art: Jason Muhr is the sole artist on this issue and the book looks good. The opening page sets the stage for trouble nicely, with the emotion on both characters’ faces saying much more than their dialogue. The ghost that attacks the pair looks great, with his full appearance on the top of Page 3 looking great with the classic dangling hand reaching for the girl. The setting on 6 is great, looking like the busy and full setting that it should be. The action that occurs on 7 is really well done in the third panel. The last panel on 12 is terrific, giving the character a cool sense of motion. The action on 13 is great, resembling a storyboard. Muhr really does a good job in placing details into his panels, with 13 looking good, the top of 14 excellent, and look at the bottom of that same page: he really didn’t need to put that background material behind the characters, but it makes the book seem all the more real. The new setting on 15 also looks really good, with the smell of the location coming through clearly due to the work he puts on the page. 19 – 21 are also well done, but there’s a completely unnecessary computer blur done to give a car a motion effect. It looks terrible. I know that this is often done by the colorists, but I don’t know if that was the case here. Muhr’s work has been fine on every page before this, and having this blur draws unnecessary attention to it that brought me out of the reading experience. Muhr does good work on this book. Overall grade: A 

The colors: The opening sequence has Robby Bevard doing a great job in creating night, but allowing the artwork to be clearly seen. However, a little more cheating could have been done with the large panel on Page 2: it’s too difficult to see the damage that Gabe’s doing to his face. Bright red would have worked, plus is would have foreshadowed by the bright red that’s used for the border around Gabe’s outbursts. There is no denying, however, that the greens Bevard uses for the spirit’s appearances looks exceptional. Seeing this color reused for when it touches people’s faces is also a good visual for the reader to realize the ghost has made contact with the living. On Page 4, the colors go bright, providing a transition of time and location for the story, as the protagonists appear. The browns used on 6 emphasize the dirty people in the setting. The light purples used on 16 are also good, with those in the bottom panel looking great on Ellen. The coloring that really stands out is the panel that crosses Pages 20 and 21, which is a perfect match for the explosive content of the panel. Overall grade: A-

The letters: Two different scene settings, dialogue, screams, yells, signage, sounds, poster text, and the tease for next issue are created by Ghost Glyph Studio’s own Taylor Esposito. There are no missteps in his work, with his screams on the second page echoing in the reader’s head long after the issue has finished. Seeing differentiation in yells allows the reader hear the character’s exclamations clearer. Also impressive are the two different types of scene settings, with the first one appearing on Page 1 and the second on Page 6. Esposito could have used the same font, but he uses a different one for a nonspecific location. Esposito never fails to bring his A game. Overall grade: A

The final line: A packed and entertaining story that has some solid surprises. Plus, the visuals deliver some good scares. Worth checking out. 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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