After a one-issue hiatus on art from Chris Mooneyham, writer Frank J. Barbiere and colorist Lauren Affe join him in their return to "Five Ghosts #7." In the aftermath of his Japan adventure in issue #6, Fabian Gray now recognized the benefit of searching for more dreamstone. His research and acquisitions could be the key to bringing back his sister Silva. She continues to lie a coma as a result of the event that caused Gray's own curious predicament. The powers and abilities that he now possesses are both a blessing and curse; for he himself is also possessed. Though he is haunted by the five literary ghosts trapped in the dreamstone embedded in his chest, Gray is able to use their special attributes to his advantage. Barbiere and Mooneyham effectively demonstrate this in each issue via a narrative device where Gray's actions are illustrated in tandem with the figment to which those actions are connected. For example, readers were made aware of his skill for deductive reasoning by the ghostly image of the "Detective" drawn in-panel with Gray as he conducted his investigation.
Chris Mooneyham really knows how to illustrate a story, and his art is well complimented by Lauren Jaffe's colors. Readers were re-introduced to love interest and thief Jezebel who appeared in issue #1. I've been reading "Five Ghosts" from the beginning. So it was a pleasant surprise to see Jezebel alive after the explosion at her Barcelona shop. In issue #7, Mooneyham captured her moonlight break-in into a Herrerian-styled residence in Barcelona with the sound of autumn silence. Without the help of dialogue or narration, Jez was revealed to be agile, stealthy, strong and intelligent. I especially liked the panels on page 11 where she took down a security guard, knocking a flashlight out of his hand. Each panel displayed the "tink, tink, tink" of the torch falling across the ground. Panels like these require both good script-writing and artistic freedom. By far, these pages were the most fun in the book along with the map provided in the opening pages.
Barbiere sneaked in a nice Easter egg reference to "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." Gray's best friend Sebastian received a package stamped "India." Inside of the box was a stone resembling the Simba Linga Jones was encouraged to "bring back" in the movie. This was really neat.
I have an observation and a couple of questions. The prologue was a little vague and perhaps unnecessary. Readers were introduced to a bearded Fabian Gray who seemed lost on a raft ala Tom Hanks in "Castaway." Was this an event from the past? Was this a view into the near future? Time will tell. There were flashbacks in previous issues of "Five Ghosts" in which we witnessed Fabian Gray and his sister Silva on the deck of a ship swashbuckling their way through a crew of pirates. How are these scenes connected with the introduction of the captain of the Screaming Squid, Asif Quintano? Looking forward to reading more to find out.
I enjoyed reading "Five Ghosts #7." Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham have created a pulp hero who has a burden to bear and his own demons to overcome. Perhaps a lost Fabian Gray will one day be found. I'll come along for the voyage.
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