Image Comics heavy hitters come together as Invincible’s Robert Kirkman and Spawn’s Todd McFarlane create a new anti-hero mystery title: Haunt.
The story centers on the two brothers – Daniel and Kurt Kilgore. Daniel is a priest and Kurt is a badass black-ops agent. First off, Kilgore? Really? It’s an incredible stereotypical and fitting name for the hardcore soldier character that Kurt is, yet it’s the complete opposite of what you would think for a priest.
This is just the start of what are central themes in this issue – the contrast of the brothers and the opposite of expectations. One is the hardened soldier, and one is the godly priest. However, they both act against their professions. The hardened soldier is the married, religious family man who genuinely wants to help people. The priest smokes, curses, regularly sleeps with hookers and outcasts himself from his loved ones. These contradictions make the brothers themselves interesting. The contrasting careers and personalities combined with a shared history with Kurt’s wife Amanda lead to a conflicting relationship between the two, leading to a tenuous relationship.
So then we get to the nominal Haunt. The two brothers are forced to worth together in Haunt. Putting these radically different characters together in such a way is fascinating, but it doesn’t happen until the end of the book. Even then, it’s almost too random, with no build up or sign to make this make sense. No clue that there’s something especially strange to make a connection to Haunt happening. It just happens.
It’s not all a story of brotherly love (or lack thereof). The book also throws in murder mystery. Of course thanks to Kurt’s profession, there’s a spy story mixed to the murder as well. While figuring out the mysteries behind the murder and of Haunt seems to be the main goal of the title for the moment, it doesn’t overshadow the focus of these two different brothers having to work together despite their personal feelings.
The dialog is well written and natural. Kurt’s dialog with an interrogator is humorously collegial. Daniel’s quick-tempered and frank personality comes out in his interruptions and his use of cursing, which was impressively not overdone. Speaking of which, curse words are spelled out instead of censored with random characters, so obviously that is why you should lock this up from the kiddies.
Also from Invincible is penciler Ryan Ottley. This is a darker and grittier art. The characters are more detailed with more facial creases and more wrinkles and whiskers set off on bodies. It definitely adds to the more grounded feel of the book over Kirkman and Ottley’s work on the more superhero-oriented Invincible. However, it still carries over some of the exaggerated features, like an extremely opened mouth and wide eyes that almost seem out of place.
Todd McFarlane himself comes in to add the inks, and he does a good job. The blacks never overpower the rest of the images. McFarlane does well to bring out the extra detail Ottley brings in here, going over those extra little marks. It’s a more dull black that blends in quite well with the colors by FCO Plascencia, which works a thin balance of not too dark yet not too bright.
Now let’s get to Haunt’s design. McFarlane’s touch is all over it, because if there’s anything he knows how to do, it’s organic, amorphous super suits. With that, the overall look isn’t too unique or special, except that that the lower jaw is uncovered. It doesn’t seem to be a coloring mistake either. The suit’s colors are white and black, with their contrast obviously symbolizing the brothers’ own contrast. The spiral symbol on the chest, a symbol shown earlier elsewhere in the book, is probably the two brothers mixing into one. Given, this isn’t incredibly deep thought going into the design. There isn’t enough to differentiate it from the Spawns and the Venoms of the world, except for maybe that weird exposed lower jaw.
Haunt looks to be off to a good start. The two brothers already at odds are being forced together by mysteries they must solve. The book makes the characters interesting enough to follow them along, while the plot leaves enough intrigue to continue until more is uncovered.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10