"The Ghost Fleet #7" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson
2015, 24 Pages
Comic released on May 6th, 2015
Trace once worked for the Ghost Fleet, a mysterious organization charged with transporting strange items in big rigs. That was before his partner, Ward, shot him in the face. Now he's pissed off and he's taking it out on the Fleet by stealing one of the trucks and causing all manner of chaos. At the onset of this issue, there were still several unanswered questions, most notably what's in the truck and how did Trace survive in the first place. Fortunately, the answer to both questions is revealed in this issue and it's friggin' incredible.
The Ghost Fleet was already a pretty amazing action book. The fight scenes are insane and the chase scenes are like something out of a movie. Writer Donny Cates and artist Daniel Warren Johnson take that action up to eleven and then break the knob right off with this issue. It's like Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich had a child and the result is The Ghost Fleet. I'm just going to throw this out there: There's a two-page spread featuring a big rig truck driving full speed out of a plane that's crash landing into a gigantic explosion. Eat your heart out, Fast and the Furious. Johnson absolutely kills it on this spread. The very next panel has a guy staring at this feat in shock and awe. Even he can't believe it. You can feel the excitement and tension fly off the page from that point on and Cates does not let up. There's never a moment to catch your breath. It's a non-stop ride to the end.
The big mystery as to the contents of the truck is finally revealed and it's done so in spectacular fashion. It's one of those moments where everything just kind of clicks and you're staring wide-eyed at this comic thinking “Did they just do what I think they just did?” It's this moment that takes The Ghost Fleet to a new level, bringing it from an intense action thriller to a supernatural slugfest. If you thought the aforementioned two-page spread was impressive, just wait until you see what Johnson does with what's in the truck. You should just read this on the toilet so you can save yourself the embarrassment of shitting your pants.
There is an energy to Johnson's artwork. It has this kinetic quality to it, like it's moving. It's filled with life. This is especially true in the last few pages when the truck's contents are let loose. The bloodshed that flows through those panels is excessive and breathtaking. It's something that you'll want to spend time on, studying them to see every minute detail, catching each dismemberment and beheading.
The sound effects are also a big part of the artwork. I'm not sure if Johnson handled those or letterer Chris Crank. In any case, they're pretty cool. Each doesn't just describe the sound that something is making. Instead, it flows with the action, often times going around the objects on the page. I'm also a fan of the non-traditional sound effects, such as “PUNCH” or “STAB”, which amplify the actions from the characters.
The Ghost Fleet really upped the ante with this issue. It was already an exciting, no-holds-barred comic, but now it's on a whole other level. Donny Cates and Daniel Warren Johnson left it all on the page here. It's a popcorn movie of a comic with substance and heart.