"Ghosted: Volume 1" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Originally published as Ghosted #1 - #5
Written by Joshua Williamson
Illustrated by Goran Sudzuka
2013, 144 Pages
Trade Paperback released on December 17th, 2013
Who doesn't love a good heist movie? There's something about the thrill of an elaborate plan to steal something that doesn't belong to you that makes a great story. I haven't seen many heist tales involving the supernatural though. That's where Ghosted by Joshua Williamson comes in. Jackson T. Winters is broken out of jail by a rich, eccentric old man named Markus Schrecken and given a shot at the score of a lifetime. He'll be able to live out the rest of his days on the geezer's personal island with all the cash he'll ever need as long as he successfully steals something. It's not a priceless artifact or family jewels. Jackson has been hired to steal a ghost from an old mansion known to be haunted thanks to years of murder and mayhem.
The concept is intriguing. Most everything I've read about ghosts up until now has them as pretty stationary. Don't they haunt a particular location for a reason? How can Jackson take one and bring it to Shrecken for his personal collection? He's not entirely sure at first, but he puts together a team to help him achieve his goal. He's got a skeptic, a black-market-dealing magician, a pair of TV ghost hunters, a medium, and some muscle. As long as they all follow the rules, it shouldn't be a problem. Of course, they don't follow the rules. You didn't think it would be easy, did you?
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Jackson is an instantly likable character. He would make Danny Ocean cry. Tough as nails and not ready to take shit from anyone, he looks at this like any other job. Plus, it's not like he has much of a choice. If he doesn't go through with this, he'll go back to jail. The old man is giving him an opportunity. While Jackson is dealing with ghosts in the present, he's haunted by some in his past. He's the only surviving member of his last crew as they were all brutally murdered during a botched robbery that turned out to be on an ancient burial ground. I guess this could be therapy for him in a way.
Like any good heist story, you're not entirely sure how everything is going to work out. Williamson plays things very close to the vest, revealing some key details about the plan at cliffhanger moments. It works very well and makes it difficult to put the book down. The plot's twists and turns will keep you guessing until the very end.
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Goran Sudzuka's artwork brings a classic look to Ghosted. It's a clean cut style that's grounded in reality. This makes the ghosts appear all the more frightening. Sudzuka's design for the spirits is so creepy. They're not your basic floating sheets. Instead, they're twisted wisps of creatures that were once human but have long since been deformed by the madness of this house.
Sudzuka also provides a slightly different look for flashback scenes, such as Jackson's failed heist. They're a little brighter, like they're from a simpler time before he became corrupted by the world around him. It's such a different style that I had to double check to make sure it wasn't from a different artist.
This first volume of Ghosted tells a complete story but leaves it open to continue Jackson's tale in later issues. This would be a great heist comic without the supernatural angle, but it amplifies the tension of the entire plan. The overall idea is brilliant and I'm looking forward to where it goes next.