First off, I need to apologize for the lack of review last week, I recently started working full-time again and let my fun responsibilities get away from me. And this week’s review is all fun! I’ve long been a sucker for heist stories (hence my irrepressible love for Ed Brubaker’s writing) and I’m started to discover that Joshua Williamson has a remarkable ability to combine genres in an intriguing and entertaining manner. This week, I’m taking a look at a recent series of his which combines all the excitement of a criminal masterminded heist story and the spooky paranormal ghost atmosphere to create something unique. The series is called Ghosted, written by Williamson and illustrated by a team of various artists including Goran Sudzuka, Miroslav Mrva and Davide Gianfelice among others. Originally published by Image Comics as a twenty issue run from 2013-2015, it has since been collected into four volumes that can be read in a single sitting.
As mentioned previously, Ghosted is a story that mixes elements of both crime noir and the horror of the paranormal to create something rather new. At the start of the series, we are introduced to a criminal mastermind by the name of Jackson T. Winters who is currently rotting in a jail cell after failing to get his last big score. Jackson is clever and witty but not exactly the luckiest man in the world so it comes as a rather large surprise when a wealthy and presumeably incredibly bored collector breaks him out of jail to plan a particularly challenging heist: steal a ghost from one of the most haunted houses in the United States! Jackson must put together a team of criminals and paranormal experts for this impossible task or face going back behind bars. The series follows the paranormal exploits of Jackson and his team in the haunted house and beyond, with Death stalking Jackson’s every move. Can Jackson pull it off or will Death finally get His chance at the master thief?
I tend to be an easy sell for both crime noir and the paranormal as I find them both highly entertaining, but even if you’re not as predisposed to it as myself, Ghosted is a fun little romp. Williamson has created an amusing leading man in Jackson Winters, who feels a bit like your standard clever heist mastermind. While he’s not exactly what I would consider a new take on the character, he does pull off the crime noir feel remarkably well and he’s likeable if not the kind of character that I fall in love with. I honestly think that the biggest downfall of the series is that it isn’t particularly remarkable in any way. It’s fun, made me laugh at points and definitely hits the right paranormal notes, but it never quite knocks it out of the park. The ending seemed a bit too tidy to me but at least it didn’t leave any loose ends.
I enjoyed the art and was impressed by Sudzuka’s ability to create some pretty gory sequences that didn’t distract from the more fun nature of the story. And I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t absolutely love that Sean Phillips does the covers for the series. Phillips’ background with both crime noir and paranormal in his work with Brubaker in Fatale and Criminal lend a more experienced air to the art than you’d get from Sudzuka and Co alone.
Ghosted is one of those series that I have a hard time describing my feels about exactly. It’s better than “meh” but not quite a series that I will enthusiastically recommend to anyone who will sit still long enough. I like that Williamson is willing to throw together genres and see what happens and I think the creative team works well together to create an entertaining story. If you like heist stories and ghosts and don’t mind a bit of silliness and tropes, Ghosted is a fun little romp. Certainly worth reading despite not being the most amazing story that I’ve read this year or even just by Williamson.