|I sat down and read FIVE GHOSTS VOLUME ONE: THE HAUNTING OF FABIAN GRAY this afternoon. This Image trade paperback collects the first five issues of the ongoing series, FIVE GHOSTS by Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham. I must confess, I'm not familiar with either of these creators. I got the book in a trade with a fellow comic book collector and figured, what the hell, I'll read it before I put it up for sale on eBay.|
Fabian Gray is a man possessed by five ghosts (isn't it neat how they work the title of the series into the dialogue?). The ghosts are literary in nature and come from the infinite source of all of mankind's dreams, a place where all of our stories are made manifest. The ghosts reside in a Dreamstone gem that is attached to Fabian's chest (any one remember the old Bloodstone character from Marvel Comics back in the '70s?). Three of the ghosts are clearly identified (but never outright named due to copyright and royalty issues, I suppose) as Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes and Dracula. The other two are a wizard/magician (Merlin?) and a ronin/samurai.
Fabian Gray's wardrobe consists of Johnny (Ghost Rider) Blaze's original leather biker jacket. He has a bespectacled companion named Sebastian and his first story arc concerns his quest to free his sister from a coma induced by exposure to the Dreamstone. He encounters an oriental mystic in Shangri-La no less and the villain of the piece gives his name as Iago (from Shakespeare's OTHELLO). Oh, and H.P. Lovecraft himself along with two unidentified men (one of whom is a corpse like Nazi) appear in the final two page teaser.
There's not much story here as it's all set up for the ongoing series. We get bits and pieces of Fabian's origin and some secrets of the Dreamstone but it's clear that there are larger and darker forces at work pulling the strings. Those plot threads are (hopefully) developed and resolved in future issues of FIVE GHOSTS.
While the story didn't impress me,Chris Mooneyham's artwork was, for the most part, good (except for one two page spread whose layout and panel/caption flow was impossible to figure out for me). The artwork has subtle hints of John Buscema and Walt Simonson and not-so-subtle hints of Klaus Janson and Dennis Cowan. If you're going to swipe, swipe from the best.
FIVE GHOSTS isn't a hot mess but it's nothing to get excited about either.