My most anticipated comic of 2009 is here! Yes with a lot of hype as the epic return of Todd McFarlane (even though he returned to comics a year ago with Spawn #185, whatever) Haunt debuts looking to impress. As a fan of McFarlane’s Spawn and Kirkman’s Invincible I was very excited to read this issue. Does it blow me away or is this a weak debut? Let’s find out!
Also check back tomorrow for the rest of my comic reviews to be posted. I’ve had a long tiring day so I’ll write them up and post them in a separate post tomorrow.
Written: Robert Kirkman and Todd McFarlane
Pencils: Ryan Ottley
Layouts: Greg Capullo
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Inks: Todd McFarlane
Opening Comments: Despite how excited I was for this issue I came in with the open mind that it very well could be a slow start. Not surprisingly this issue didn’t blow me away but I can definitely say it was an enjoyable start to what could be a great new series.
Story Comments: Our story basically introduces us to our 2 main protagonists. Daniel and Kurt Kilgore. Daniel is a priest who sleeps with hookers and is all around a major ass-hole. Kurt is a CIA killer but at the same time has morals and seems like a fairly nice guy.
I really love the dynamic between these two. Kirkman spares nothing in showing they do not like each other at all. Daniel is very much so hateful of Kurt and the second they meet you can tell there’s a deep history of hatred between them that I look forward to seeing as the series progresses.
Kurt is captured, killed, and after his funeral he’s haunting Daniel. I hated the transition from a mysterious woman saying “Kill him” to Daniel talking to Kurt’s ghost in a limo. It was very jarring and we got not scene of Kurt first showing up to talk to Daniel. A really bad transition that bugs me.
Daniel is convinced by Kurt to go comfort Kurt’s widow Amanda. I enjoyed this scene for how well the awkward tension builds. You can tell there is a history between these two. I’m guessing Daniel and he where lovers but Kurt stole her away or something. Though that’s a random guess.
My favorite part is the final 3 pages, Daniel is shot at as someone is coming to kill Amanda. Kurt jumps into Daniel, they become Haunt, Haunt rips the 2 killers’ heads off and we get a badass scene to end the issue. Definitely a great way to end the issue.
Though all around I really did enjoy this issue I can’t deny there wasn’t a lot there to it. It was just an enjoyable read. We got some solid character work but really not much else. Kirkman does well with what he can but really there isn’t a lot of extra substance other then the basics.
Now the flashback with Kurt when he goes and rescues the people was a nice scene. It gave us some cool action but really it was just an enjoyable but at the same time cryptic scene with some hints as to what happens in future issues. I’m guessing Kurt’s actions along with the doctor’s experiments are what lead to him becoming Haunt.
What little we did meet of the cast was fairly well done. Daniel is a jackass but at the same time he’s at least interesting. I liked the idea of Kurt having morals and I am curious to see what happened between the brothers and if Amanda has anything to do with it.
Though in the long run try as I might I just can’t really say this was a great read. It was a good read, very good, but not great. With some annoying transition such as Daniel and Amanda talking to suddenly Daniel sleeping on her couch. It’s all very annoying and moments like that take me out of the story.
I know we don’t have to show every moment of the conversation but a quick panel of Amanda going to bed and Daniel laying on the couch or something would have been nice. She just begs him to stay since she’s so sad and the next page she’s sleeping on the couch.
I was also annoyed that we didn’t get any build up to Kurt’s ghost. One minute Kurt is dead the next he’s talking to Daniel. Again, a little panel or even a solid page of Kurt haunting Daniel would have been appreciated as this jarring storytelling is very weak and frustrating to see coming from Kirkman. Even though he’s had similar problems in the past with Invincible.
All in all the character dynamic only goes so far. While I can handle that we don’t know everything about these characters I do think a little more fleshing out of Daniel could have helped. He’s pretty much just a solid jackass and we see no redeeming qualities to him at all.
Now I don’t think every hero needs to be a nice guy with a heart of gold. Even Spider-man and Batman have their bad moments or can do bad stupid things but in those actions we can see a glimmer of a good person. Daniel is just a hateful guy who doesn’t really interest me as much as Kurt does.
I am hopeful that this is more intentional so that as the series progresses Daniel becomes more interesting as the series goes on. For now he’s fairly one dimensional when compared to Kurt.
Overall the story was a good read but nothing that made me go “wow, that was awesome!” aside from the great final 3 pages. Those pages excited me and left me eager to read more next month. Exactly what any comic should do. So for all it’s problems it has a solid story and a great ending really.
Art Comments: When I heard Ryan Ottley was going to be doing the art for Haunt I was ecstatic. Ottley has been doing a great job on Invincible and seeing his art 2 times a month is a real treat for me. Even better is lay outs by Capullo.
Though I have some major criticisms for the art. Half the time it looks pretty good, with some great detail, emotion conveyed nicely and nice dark mood in the coloring. The other half is just…bad. While the layout designs by Capullo are distinct and work well I think the inking by McFarlane is the main culprit here.
Half the time the art looks overly lined. I think someone who works better with Ottley would have been a smart choice to Ink his work here. I love McFarlane’s art but his style of inks and Ottley’s style of pencils are like mixing oil and water.
Still for the most part the art never got terrible. It was just weak half the time. The coloring was still great. Though all around the art was messy and we need a new inker here ASAP.
Final Comments: Haunt #1 is a start to something that could be the next big Image comic along with Jersey Gods and Invincible. It’s got solid character work, great talent behind it. But it still needs to work out some kinks before it becomes the next big must have comic.
With that said I still give this a fairly strong recommendation if you are like me, a big fan of McFarlane and Kirkman. There’s a lot of dark sinister stuff to read and the art will hopefully get cleaned up sooner then later. All around making for a comic that I recommend.
Writing: 3 out of 5
Art: 3 out of 5
Overall: 3 out of 5