Ghosted 20 (May 2015)

Ghosted #20

Ghosted ends. Rather abruptly. While Williamson does discuss ending the series in the back matter–and he pretty much brings back every slightly sympathetic character for a farewell of sorts–the pacing doesn’t feel right. Even if he meant to work towards a reveal and then go another route… it’s not a successful destination.

Some of the problem is Goran Sudzuka trying a different style for his brief return to the comic. And then Laci and Williamson pretending they’re doing a desperately romantic Vertigo comic from the nineties. The tone is just off.

Still, even if it’s not a compelling read, the final issue of Ghosted is a pleasing one. Williamson doesn’t take enough time with the characters but he gives them all fine farewells. The ties back to the series’s first arc just show how constrained Williamson envisioned the comic, which is too bad.

Ghosted finishes acceptably, nothing more.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artists, Goran Sudžuka and Vladimir Krstic Laci; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooten; editors, Michael Williamson and Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 19 (April 2015)

Ghosted #19

Okay, Laci’s art isn’t working out for Ghosted, especially not this issue. It’s talking heads–with one important bit of unexpected actions and one hinted one; so it’s mostly talking. And Laci can’t do it. His art works on a macro creepy level, but he doesn’t get into expressions enough for the characters to “perform” their fear and discomfort.

Williamson has quite a bit of fun with the script. He starts off with something entirely unexpected, then sort of avoids it. The issue takes place over twenty minutes at the most, following two and then three sets of characters. If the issue didn’t have such a surprising (though maybe it shouldn’t have been) development, it would have been fine with five or six pages.

And being able to make something a big deal is one of Williamson’s strengths. He does the character work to make his big plot developments succeed.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Vladimir Krstic Laci; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooten; editors, Michael Williamson and Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 18 (March 2015)

Ghosted #18

Very unexpected turns in this issue. Williamson almost seems to be getting to a place where he might wind Ghosted down. Soon. I hope not.

This issue–this arc–is the greatest hits of the series so far. He brings back the first villain, he brings back cast members from subsequent arcs. The interplay between these characters, who came into the series in its wholly different phases, is great. Even when it’s a little aside or a character talking under his or her breath, it’s great. Williamson’s got a vision for how the comic plays out.

Again, hope it’s not winding down.

But this issue, which has the characters tasked with getting from point A to point B (albeit through a field of angry ghosts), goes somewhere unexpected. It’s a nice, gentle move from Williamson.

It’s Ghosted so it’s not gentle in action, just in how he gets to it.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Vladimir Krstic Laci; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooten; editors, Helen Leigh and Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 17 (February 2015)

Ghosted #17

Ghosted feels like a much different comic book with Vladimir Krstic Laci on art. It feels like a seventies ghost comic, slick in a classical sense, not a hip sense. It works against a bunch of the book’s concepts and makes Ghosted a much more entertaining read this month. Just the way Laci breaks out the action alone changes the experience.

The issue has Jackson going over to the ghost town to fight his nemesis. It’s a lot of great talking heads because Laci makes everything feel a little uneasy and Williamson’s ominous dialogue is strong. When the supernatural does come in, Williamson and Laci handle it really well too.

I’m not sure if Laci’s the best fit for the book, which doesn’t have to be homage to seventies horror comics, but it’s a nice approach to this particular story line. It fits it better. Realistic fantastical stuff going on.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Vladimir Krstic Laci; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooten; editors, Helen Leigh and Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 16 (January 2015)

Ghosted #16

It’s a done-in-one setting up the next story arc, with Williamson following the villain through his evil plans in a small German town. Juan Jose Ryp does the art, which leads to some crazy riot scenes, but the best moments of Ryp’s art are actually the kids playing. It’s a strange thing to see from Ryp (and in Ghosted) and it’s rather nice.

Actually, Ryp now does a lot of points for shading on faces and it gets annoying fast. Like it’s a Photoshop filter or something.

The story’s decent. Williamson has a lot of fun not just with the villain but setting up the situation in the town. When Jackson finally does appear towards the end of the comic to get the set up going, he’s out of place.

Williamson doesn’t just have fun with the issue, he crafts it very well. It feels enthusiastic and finished.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Juan Jose Ryp; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooten; editors, Helen Leigh and Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 15 (November 2014)

Ghosted #15

Gianfelice has some great expressions this issue. Wonderful moments with the characters mid-thought. These moments occasionally make Ghosted seem to light while also making it more accessible. Williamson goes for a lot of exposition this issue. There’s so much talking, the word balloons obscure important visual details (the pacing of the big action scene is all off because of them). It’s too much to digest, especially since most of it’s fluff.

There are some excellent moments throughout the issue but almost as many mundane ones. Williamson tries way too hard to make callous protagonist Jackson lovable. Gianfelice does it in the art already, far more discreetly. Though, to be fair, Williamson doesn’t exercise any restraint. He goes overboard.

The excesses hurt the issue. It reads like Williamson’s asking the reader to come back next time instead of being confident. Bad kind of excess. But it’s still more than adequate.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Davide Gianfelice; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooten; editors, Helen Leigh and Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 14 (October 2014)

Ghosted #14

Williamson finally finds a great cliffhanger for Ghosted. What’s so strange about it is how it continues the trend of somehow being either too intimate or too grandiose; but maybe for the first time he’s got his lead in real, scary danger. Ghosted is a supernatural heist story and Jackson is the mastermind and Williamson has spent the series setting him up as being smarter than everyone else.

So finally putting him in an impossible situation and having it work? Great cliffhanger.

The rest of the comic is excellent, opening with various action sequences–Anderson in angry ghost form is awesome–before getting into some character level arguing. There’s not a lot of room for character development this issue, but Williamson does at least acknowledge it a little in the dialogue asides. There’s no time for a break.

And then the conclusion… starts quiet, gets loud. It’s one of Williamson’s best issues.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Goran Sudzuka; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooten; editors, Helen Leigh and Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 13 (September 2014)

Ghosted #13

Williamson keeps this issue in constant motion. Even the expository scenes are in motion–with both Williamson and Gianfelice putting the emphasis on keeping things moving. The pace is important because Williamson needs to get in an unexpected turn regarding the villain of the arc before the cliffhanger.

On the way to that cliffhanger, there’s time for Jackson to bond with his new crew, the old witch who gives them information and the ghost hanging over his shoulder. Williamson maintains a certain level of danger throughout, but it’s always relatively funny… if dangerous. The issue does open, after all, with Jackson basically revealed as doubly impervious to physical and magical threats.

Given the reveals in the last few pages, the issue probably qualifies as a bridging issue but Williamson does such a good job with the trip across said bridge, it never feels like it.

Ghosted is a sturdy read.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Goran Sudzuka; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooten; editors, Helen Leigh and Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 12 (August 2014)

Ghosted #12

I’m having a little trouble counting the reveals in this issue. It’s either three or four. Two of the biggest ones come before the end of the issue and then the cliffhanger reveal doesn’t even have the inkling of context. Williamson is having some fun.

This issue is setup for the next arc–with Goran Sudzuka continuing on art–and Williamson goes all out. There isn’t just a little setup, it’s the entire issue. He opens with a ghost event out in the world and follows up on it, ties it into the discussion, for the end of the issue. It’s not cliffhanger material, just interesting material.

But while he’s doing all this setup, Williamson is moving his protagonists forward. It calls back to previous issues, but the comic is essentially a soft boot. It works out rather well.

Even the most hackneyed character comes off as charming and vibrant.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Goran Sudzuka; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooten; editors, Helen Leigh and Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 11 (July 2014)

Ghosted #11

It’s kind of a fill-in issue, with Williamson doing the origin of Agent Anderson (I think her name’s Anderson), only it has original artist Goran Sudzuka. So it’s not exactly a fill-in. It’s definitely filler, with Williamson spending most of the issue telling the story of an utterly unlikable character.

There are also some problems with Williamson’s first person female point of view. They might not stand out if the story itself were okay. But it isn’t. The series isn’t oriented well for this kind of issue; Williamson writes big, this issue is small and contrived–bikers who are human traffickers? How original.

Then the comic changes gear to reveal the context of Anderson’s monologue and I just realized it would have worked had Williamson really written it as a conversation. There’s something missing–the banter between her and the protagonist.

It’s a bad issue, but the series’s fine.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Goran Sudžuka; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Helen Leigh and Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 10 (May 2014)

Ghosted #10

Busy, busy issue. Very busy. So busy Williamson can kill people off without it resonating just because there’s so much other stuff going on. And a lot of it goes on at the end; this issue has two cliffhangers, one hard, one soft. Very busy.

But the rest of the issue is awesome as usual. And the busyness is just overkill, it’s not bad. Williamson does a whole lot of callbacks in the last few pages, even for the resolution to the story arc.

What remains to be seen–since Williamson hasn’t exactly established a cast outside Jackson and his ghost–is where Ghosted will go next. This arc certainly shows it can go unexpected places, but with the flashbacks shining light into Jackson’s unrevealed backstory, I hope Williamson doesn’t choose to dwell too much. Constantly looking backward is boring.

The series continues to be a lot of harsh fun.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Davide Gianfelice; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooton; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 9 (April 2014)

Ghosted #9

Williamson gets away with a lot of exposition. Jackson and the kidnapped, possessed girl are on the run through the jungle of ghost animals–which turns out to be somewhat cute, in an amusing turn–and the girl just talks and talks. But the way Williamson paces out the conversation, it works great. There’s danger and tension and the dialogue fits between. Very nicely done.

Also cool is the finish, when things are looking bad for the heroes. The first person narration is sparing and Williamson usually uses it for humor. Why overuse the acerbic wit, especially when the characters are in great danger. It’d be too jokey. There’s a lot of control with the script.

The ending–and the jungle–wouldn’t work without Gianfelice’s art. He’s got the expressions down, which is important, because so much of the characters’ motivations are unsaid.

The comic’s sturdy, reliably and very entertaining.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Davide Gianfelice; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooton; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 8 (March 2014)

Ghosted #8

Gianfelice’s art stands out this issue. Maybe it’s because everything Williamson does–Jackson is being held hostage–needs to be a surprise. There’s the villains taunting him so their taunts need to be visually rendered, there’s the allies doing a surprise attack, the surprise needs to be rendered. Even though there aren’t any huge set piece fights (I think they average three or four panels), the art’s essential.

Also essential is giving Jackson someone to talk with. Williamson can run him through the Bond henchmen and Bond villain–a comparison the comic itself raises–but giving him a chance to connect with a “regular” character is necessary to jump start the arc. Ghosted has been doing fine, but once Williamson unveils the damsel in distress’s secret, it improves.

While the flashback stuff is calculatedly compelling, Williamson hasn’t introduced complicated intrigue in the arc until now. It seems worth the wait.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Davide Gianfelice; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooton; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 7 (February 2014)

Ghosted #7

Trick is okay. I’m a little surprised, since he sort of ominously disappeared for a bit last issue. He’s in sidekick role, self-proclaimed dirty old man to Jackson’s more sympathetic narrator.

Williamson gives the issue a speedy pace. It’s maybe three or four different sequences set in the same night. But there’s something too speedy about it. Williamson forecasts the cliffhanger too early. Not the exact details of it, but how he’s going to use it. Hard cliffhanger, just after Jackson has discovered a big detail in the story arc.

It’s too bad the comic gets predictable for the last few pages, because, otherwise, Williamson’s pacing is good–pulp, ghosts and action all play a part. There’s even a flashback to some mystery woman. I’d forgotten Williamson might want to develop Jackson a bit more; even though the character narrates, he’s distant.

The issue meanders, which is a shame.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Davide Gianfelice; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooton; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 6 (January 2014)

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Oh, good, Davide Gianfelice is a new artist on Ghosted. I was a little confused as the style is so different from the first arc. I thought it could be the same guy, just because Williamson’s doing such different things right off with this issue.

He’s not trying to device the reader in the same way. The unanswered questions are for the protagonist too this time. Presumably there will be some kind of subterfuge; the series is going to need surprises again at some point. And there are a couple little ones. Returning cast members, the way the lead, Jackson, travels from the tropics to Las Vegas. But Williamson is clearly trying a different approach.

Jackson has a case, adventure, undertaking, whatever. Even with his baggage, he’s in control differently. It’s like a soft reboot–Williamson has the pilot arc out of the way.

It’s not earth shattering, but good.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Davide Gianfelice; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooton; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 5 (November 2013)

Ghosted 005

Williamson does the heist movie thing where he reveals all the double crosses and hidden machinations to allow the good guys to beat the mark. Because he’s doing it in a comic, it doesn’t work. There’s no way for him to do a smooth montage. Instead he’s got a lot of forced, awkward exposition.

Other than the big reveal, he paces the issue rather well. He gets through the cliffhanger resolution, gets through some plans of attack, makes one minor reveal, makes the major one, deals with fallout on scene, moves on to the next location–he really does get a lot done here. He never lets the issue slow down until the last scene,

Sadly, Sudzuka has some really weak panels in this issue. Something about the expressions escaped him. They’re so bad they can slow the reading.

Ghosted has its share of problems, but it’s a decent comic.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Goran Sudžuka; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooton; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 4 (October 2013)

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And now we get to the double-crosses; sort of. Williamson tries to make a big deal out of one character’s “out of character” actions, but she then proceeds to explain to the stunned cast why her actions make total sense.

So not much of a double-cross.

There are some surprises, however, and a handful of interesting implications about characters’ motives. All while there are finally ghosts in Ghosted, lots of them. While Williamson isn’t treading water as far as the story goes, he’s definitely dragging scenes out. He uses the ghosts as candy at the end of one long scene or another. It’s all buildup for the big reveals next issue; Williamson really could have done this story in three issues….

Especially since he reduces his characters to caricatures this issue.

Still, the series still has some leftover good will going.

And very nice art from Sudzžuka too.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Goran Sudžuka; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooton; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 3 (September 2013)

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Ghosted is back, which is nice, they only had a bad second issue. This one is a lot better.

There’s a great back and forth between the George Clooney guy (I’m not going to remember names, so I’ll just call him the George Clooney guy because he’s the lead–or should I call him Danny Ocean?) and the guy who sets up the project. There’s some very nice hints at the back story while the rest of the team steals some magical totem.

Then the issue moves to the haunted house and there are actual ghosts. Williamson figures out a very good reveal or two for introducing the ghosts. He and Sudžuka handle it very well.

Not to mention there’s actually a great cliffhanger. Very good issue, very good–even though Williamson has some problems keeping track of all the characters at the end.

Very glad the series’s working again.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Goran Sudžuka; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooton; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 2 (August 2013)

Ghosted02 cover

What the heck is this thing? I suppose the original material is good, but there’s not very much of it. Most of the issue reads like a recap of the last one. Williamson goes over all his characters and their particular skills, which is beyond redundant.

He’s got a great built in structure for the issue–the ghost hunters have to be out of the haunted house by sundown–and he doesn’t use it. He only has one scene with any character development. Then he throws little road blocks in the protagonist’s way and deals with them immediately afterwards. Little might not even be the right description. Minute.

The Sudzuka art keeps Ghosted worth a look, but Williamson doesn’t give him much to do. The haunted house stuff, the flashbacks, it’s all implied. Sudzuka can clearly draw people walking around. Don’t need to see it over and over.

It’s middling.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Goran Sudžuka; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooton; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 1 (July 2013)

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Joshua Williamson is one of those odd writers who are better with summary than are with actual scenes. It really shows when he’s doing a montage of his protagonist getting together a team of ghost hunters and thieves. They’re these little scenes, with just the right amount of information and personality.

He also does well with the protagonist narrating. The lead is a master thief. A rich guy breaks the lead out of prison to capture a ghost. The scenes where the rich guy lays out this scheme is painful. Williamson opens making Ghosted as real as possible–the unpleasantness of prison life–then brings in some supernatural ludicrousness.

The dialogue’s weak too, which doesn’t help the scenes.

Luckily, Goran Sudzuka’s strong art makes the whole thing pass. Even during the worst dialogue, Sudzuka’s doing something cool with the conversation.

Hopefully the writing gets better, but Sudzuka’s the essential here.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Goran Sudžuka; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooton; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

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