"The Ghost Fleet #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson
2014, 24 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on November 5th, 2014
When you're passed by an 18-wheeler on the highway, do you ever wonder what it's hauling? It could be hamburger buns or human organs. You really don't know. What if the truck was carrying something deadly? That's sort of the idea with The Ghost Fleet from writer Donny Cates and artist Daniel Warren Johnson. Cates has described it as the group that transports the stuff found in the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. That tends to be the kind of stuff that criminals want to get their hands on.
The debut issue features one such big rig as some folks try to hijack it. The driver doesn't even know what's inside and neither does his security detail, Ward and Trace. When the action heats up, bullets are flying and people are dying. Ward and Trace go to great lengths to keep the cargo safe by any means necessary. That includes decapitating a guy for pulling a rocket launcher.
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The Ghost Fleet begins like a Michael Bay movie spiraling into one of the best chase scenes I've ever seen in comics. Johnson's artwork is fast-paced and filled with action. You can practically hear the pumping soundtrack as the truck careens down the highway in an effort to escape the attackers. The sound effects are used well within each panel to make them look like part of the art. They weren't just slapped on top of the pencils. Instead, it's included right next to the characters and the truck. When the aforementioned decapitation occurs, there's a huge "CHOOOM!" as the truck slams into an SUV with a big "CRUNCH" that is shown squished together as the car is turned into scrap metal.
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Sticking with this beheading shot for a moment, holy crap, is it brutal. This guy basically explodes upon impact with the big rig's grill. His head flies off, leaving a trail of blood spiraling through the air. Blood and gore are all that remains of his left arm. This is the level of violence I'd expect from a Grindhouse comic and that's just one shot. There are several others filled with just as much splatter.
This all leads up to a fantastic cliffhanger ending. If you're not hooked with the last page reveal, you're an idiot. It instantly vaults The Ghost Fleet from an all-out action comic to an epic mystery / conspiracy book filled with a thirst for vengeance. You'll be left with more questions than answers, and you'll be begging for the next issue.