"Haunted #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Red 5 Comics
Written by Scott Chitwood
Illustrated by Danny Luckert
2014, 24 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on April 30th, 2014
There's a big fear regarding the Large Hadron Collider out in Europe. Most of it is because people don't really know what it does and think it will open up a black hole and suck the world into it or something. In Haunted, Scott Chitwood has one idea that's as good as some of the other, crazier ones out there. When the LHC is used for a new experiment to test a radical theory, a rift is torn open between our dimension and the next one. A horde of ghosts flood in and overrun the world. You know that part in Ghostbusters where Peck shuts off the containment unit and all the ghosts fly out? That's what Haunted looks like except instead of eating hot dogs and driving cabs, the spirits are brutally murdering or possessing people they come across.
The first issue picks up in Atlantic City with Sarah McAllister, a young woman living on her own and struggling to survive in whatever's left of the world. After unsuccessfully scavenging for supplies, she finds herself trapped outside after dark, when the ghosts come out in force. She bumps into a scientist and a priest who are searching for a way to end this whole spirit problem, and thus the adventure begins. They don't have proton packs. Instead they're armed with a cricket bat wrapped in electrified wire that packs a helluva punch.
Sarah is instantly relatable. You're sympathetic for her from the get-go as she remembers the first day of the invasion of the afterlife and how her mother pushed her to safety, losing her life in the process. She's spent her teenage years alone and surviving near death on a regular basis. Things like zits and who she'd go to the prom with were the least of her concerns.
The other characters, Dr. Adrien Montagu and Pastor Rupert Wallingford, provide an interesting context to the overall situation. Science caused the problem to begin with, yet it was not ready to face what came through the hole in space; but theology can. The pair get into some interesting arguments, especially since there's no real consensus as to what these beings are or where they came from. If they really are ghosts, then that opens up a whole other set of questions.
Artist Danny Luckert did a great job with the design for the ghosts. The creatures themselves are varied. There are a few different types featured in this issue. The first is a shriek or banshee, a hooded figure with razor sharp teeth and a scream that literally shatters glass. It can pass through solid objects and generally looks insanely scary. There are also White Ladies which fall under the harmless category. It seems that when the mean ghosts see the harmless ones floating around, they assume that humans aren't nearby. This is used in a really cool way in Sarah's life and shows just how smart she is. The gentle spirits are more wisp-like and just hover around in the air.
Haunted sets up a post-apocalyptic road trip. This is a great origin story. You get everything you need to jump right into the story. This first issue gets the group together and provides them with a destination in New York City. You can imagine the level of utter madness that a city of millions of people must be like after ghosts have invaded the world. While their technology is not nearly as advanced as that of the Ghostbusters, I have a feeling that Sarah and the gang could hold their own against Egon and company.