"Ghosted #16" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Joshua Williamson
Illustrated by Juan Jose Ryp
2014, 32 Pages, $2.99
Comic released on January 14th, 2014
Markus Schrecken is alive. He's horrifically scarred and hellbent on revenge against Jackson Winters, but he's alive. He survived the ghost bomb that Jackson set off in his house and now he's working on a trap filled with all kinds of spirits. This issue of Ghosted is split in two, with the first half focused on Markus and the second picking up with Jackson.
It's been awhile since Markus' presence has been felt in Ghosted. He was always a creepy old man, but now that he's missing an eye and half of his face has been burnt off, he looks like an absolute villain. This is expertly rendered by artist Juan Jose Ryp. There is a maniacal quality to the character from the first moment he appears on the page. You can't trust him. He's up to something and it is bound to be evil. He's brought Miss Rusnak along for a trip to a small town in Germany where they are crashing a wedding. Markus' true intentions aren't revealed for a bit, but when they are, it's like an explosion of hate energy.
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This plays tremendously to Ryp's talents as an artist. His work has vigor, like it's ready to leap right off the page. Each panel is filled with emotion, whether that's passion or vitriol, it's still bursting at the seams with it. When the shit finally hits the fan, it's chaos. It's a new level of all out violence with Markus sitting contentedly at the center.
The backdrop of the wedding is a nice touch for Markus' evil. Writer Joshua Williamson takes what should be the happiest day in the lives of not only the bride and groom, but this entire small town, and turns it into a horror story. Tension builds from the moment that Markus shows up, growing and intensifying as you're trying to figure out his endgame. Then it snaps and the results are terrifying.
Dan Panosian's cover for this issue helps frame the wedding bloodbath perfectly. It's a simple shot with a knife cutting through a wedding cake and blood pouring out like from an open wound, but it says so much with it.
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The latter half of the issue deals with Jackson finding what passes for a purpose in his strange life. He's been floating around since the Trask Mansion case, but now there's a pull to Markus after he's found out that the old man is still alive. That pull is even stronger after the stunt that Markus pulls. There's a realization here as to how closely linked the two men are. They're like two sides of the same coin, but it's kind of like that scarred coin that Two Face uses.
This issue of Ghosted provides a bit more backstory to the character of Markus Schrecken and really frames him as Jackson's nemesis. His new look is gruesome, making the argument that his outside appearance now matches his hideous insides. Williamson is building up to a big showdown between these two forces that was set in motion with the first story arc. It's clear that things are going to get very bloody very soon.