Haunt #6 Review
- Published on Wednesday, 07 April 2010 00:42
- Written by Andrenn
Haunt has quickly become one of my most anticipated comics each month. After an excellent conclusion to the debut arc last month I was really excited to see the past events through the eyes of Kurt’s former lover Mirage. Even more exciting was the debut of Greg Capullo lending his pencil talents to Haunt from this day on as the regular artist taking over for Ryan Ottley. Very exciting. Can Kirkman make this trip down memory lane a good experience as the past issues have been? Let’s find out.
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Pencils: Greg Capullo
Inks: Todd McFarlane and Danny Miki
Colors: FCO Plansencia
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Mirage is asking Kurt if he’s serious about their plans. Kurt says he is and that he wants to be with Mirage, explaining their plan to steal away the notebook, leave the agency and leave Amanda then be with Mirage. He says he’s got to get ready for the mission tomorrow and leaves. We cut to Mirage flying into the jungle as Kurt escapes the body bag. Mirage takes out the guards as Kurt escapes the massive grave.
Mirage is climbing through the ventilation shafts when she hears Kurt killing Dr. Shillinger. She is over him when she finds him, horrified at what he did but after he storms out she lowers from the vents and grabs the notebook. Later on Kurt is outside Daniel’s church talking to Mirage on the cell phone explaining how everything’s going to work out. Daniel then shows up so Kurt goes inside.
Mirage later sees Kurt being abducted and she confronts the woman who lead to the abduction. When the woman doesn’t tell her what she wants to know she stabs her in public then walks away. We see Mirage then talking to her mom and her mom asking about her job. Suddenly she sees the announcement of Kurt’s death made to look like an accident on TV and says she has to go. We later see her in the distance from Kurt’s funeral, watching the ceremony as well as Daniel talking to himself in car.
Mirage later goes to talk to a mole about what’s going on right now. When the mention of Shillinger’s notes comes up she bolts. Later we see her attack Cobra after he fled from Daniel’s church. She confronts him about what he’s doing and once he brings up the notes again she bolts once again. (I’m sensing a pattern here) we then see her in her apartment crying in front of a mirror, naked, she then punches it. (I get why she’s crying, but why is she naked while crying?)
We then see Mirage watching over Amanda as the agency is taking her away. She says to herself that she owes Kurt keeping Amanda safe. Then we see as Amanda is captured she tries to shoot down the kidnappers but fails. Then we see her going to a safe location and calling Hurg to sell the notebook to him.
We then shift to when Hurg and the Agency collided in the mall, Haunt telling Mirage to go. She thinks to herself how the agency have the notebook like they should and she’s well off now. We then see her crying to herself and talking to someone, apologizing for Kurt’s death, saying it was her fault and that this person deserved better. We then pan out and see she’s talking to Amanda, giving her half of the money she got form Hurg.
The Good: Haunt #6 was a rollercoaster of good and bad. While it had some great moments and developed Mirage nicely, it jumped around way too much. This comic jumped around more than a jack rabbit on a pogo stick full of Mexican jumping beans. Never finding a coherent plot of it’s own in the mess of moments and plot points from the first 5 issues.
Still this issue was not without plenty of merits, mostly in how Kirkman takes the time to develop Mirage. Up until this point we only knew Mirage for her affair with Kurt, other than that she was a mystery. But Kirkman utilized this time well to develop her character and establish her well as not your typical love interest.
I was glad that it was finally cleared up that Mirage is in no way a villain. The first arc left it up in the air if she was good or not. Her abandoning the notebook to Hurgg implied she was a villain but now it’s cleared up that she is indeed a hero of sorts, even if she’s not all that good.
Kirkman did a great job developing Mirage beyond her bland uninteresting character and made her a worthwhile character that I’m really looking forward to seeing later on. She clearly has a vested deep important relationship to Haunt now and she’s going to lead to big things later on I’m sure and I’m excited as all hell for when that happens.
While this issue did a very sloppy job of jumping from plot to plot, it was nice seeing a few specific moments from Mirage’s view point. Mostly the mission that ended up getting Kurt killed which was pretty cool giving us more insight into it all. Seeing her right behind him and get upset with him for killing Shillinger.
I did like the first page, how it was obviously a parallel to Haunt #1’s first page with Daneil and the prostitute. Only this time with Kurt and Mirage. It was an obvious homage but I found it to be pretty funny and I liked it a lot.
The best moment by far came from the final 2 pages with Mirage “confronting” Amanda. It was a really powerful moment to see her pour her soul out to this woman she clearly hates. You really got a feel for Mirage’s character, how she acts and thinks and it was even more heartbreaking to see how torn up she was over all this.
Also this moment was a great follow up to Mirage at the mall earlier. Seeing that what she did next was not go and blow the money on herself or get drunk but rather give the money to Amanda and confess to her what happened even though Amanda was asleep. Kirkman really hit an emotional core there with me as a reader and for that he ended this issue off with a great moment.
The scene with Mirage at home crying over Kurt’s death was a strong scene and a testament to the old idea of not all stories need words. Sometimes the power of a moment doesn’t need a cheesy narration or hammy inspirational dialogue. The art conveyed the emotions perfectly and you honestly felt Mirage’s pain and torment over losing someone she loved. And not a word needed be said.
Of course I have to mention Greg Capullo, returning to a regular monthly gig for the first time in about 10 years. For those who aren’t longtime Spawn fans like myself, you’re all probably not too excited about Capullo taking over for Ottley and I can’t really blame you since he hasn’t drawn a comic on a regular basis for so long, he’s stuck to the sidelines at TMP doing covers and designing toys.
With Capullo’s return in Haunt I was incredibly excited, but I’ll admit while most of the art was strong, it was far from Capullo’s usual greatness. I’ll get to the faults of the art later but for now the praise comes first and damn there is a good amount of praise earned for Haunt #6’s art. Capullo is such an energetic artist and his style always pops and bursts at the seams with strength and energy.
It is nice that despite Ottley being gone, the style change is far from jarring with Capullo’s work. Sure Ottley’s style was very animated but he was going off of Capullo’s lay outs so the style of how the pages are presented and how the book is designed still is there and that strong design work is as amazing as ever.
Capullo really conveys both action and emotion amazingly well and I’d have to say he has Spawn to thank for that. Most people think Spawn has always been dumb 90’s action but there was a huge emotional core for Spawn and Capullo utilized that very well and brought it to life amazingly on his run on Spawn and that powerful emotion still carries with the badass action.
As I’d mentioned the scene with Mirage crying and her confession to Amanda where brilliantly written but the art really conveyed it best. Seeing Mirage’s tears turn to rage, then seeing a close up later of her tear stained eyes was all so great. Capullo is a modern master and all these years haven’t changed that one bit.
The Bad: As I said earlier, Haunt #6 can’t decide on what it wants to do, jumping from story to story each and every other page it seems to some new moment in the past 5 issues. It’s incredibly jarring and really hard to find if this issue had any real plot to it. Because other then some key moments with Mirage here and there, this issue felt pointless.
The scene with Mirage talking to the mole? Pointless. The scene with Mirage intercepting Cobra? Pointless. The scene with Mirage trying to save Amanda? Again, absolutely pointless. For every good moment there was a throwaway “what was the point?” moment. It feels like Kirkman just edited in Mirage to these plot points for no other reason then to have her in them to make it seem like she was more integral to the main plot then she really was. Randomly inserting her in moments she added nothing too and was forced in there.
Kirkman should have given Mirage her own storyline alongside the main storyline of Haunt, that would have worked so much better and been much more effective. He could have still hit the same beats, Mirage and Kurt’s last time together, Mirage’s confession to Amanda, and it would have been so much better and more effective rather then this clusterfuck of constant jumping around.
Also this issue is supposed to be new reader friendly, right? You wouldn’t know it. I feel bad for new readers who jumped on with this issue because it’s literally impossible to tell what the hell is going on. Unless you read the first 5 issues you’ll be absolutely lost as to what’s going on, who’s who and why they are doing what they are doing.
Kirkman told a messy incoherent story that while it had some great moments just felt really out of place and forced. Kirkman is a great storyteller and I expect better than this from him. Haunt #1 had the exact same problems of constant jumping from plot point to plot point but at least it was still somewhat coherent, Haunt #6 is just moment after moment and it never really gelling all that well.
I was rather disappointed that Haunt was only in one panel, I’m dying to see Capullo cut loose and draw our main hero in action and while he drew Mirage well and handled the action nicely I really was hoping for more then just one minor panel that barely had Haunt in it.
I get it, Kirkman. Mirage thinks Amanda is a bitch. Did she have to say it 50 times? Okay I’m exaggerating but damn Kirkman really drove home the fact that Mirage doesn’t like Amanda when she tried to save her. Again it makes the moment feels all the more pointless.
I’m not sure if this was a full printing error or something, but there was some weird blurry pages with my copy of Haunt #6, the inking and coloring looking really out of focus and muddy at times like in the silent scene with Mirage crying over Kurt. I’m chopping it up to a printing error though.
Now we come to Haunt #6’s second biggest issue: Todd McFarlane’s inks. I’m not sure why he’s still inking, I guess trying to make sure Haunt looks consistent, but we’ve got a better and more suited inker on board with Danny Miki so let’s ditch McFarlane. I get that he wants to feel like an important part of Haunt still, but he already is, no need to drive that home with the inks.
I could easily tell what pages where inked by McFarlane and what pages where inked by Miki. McFarlane’s where much dirtier and very invasive of Capullo’s pencils. Miki’s where much cleaner and flowed well with Capullo’s rough powerful pencil work. Miki has been inking Capullo for years, they have a great team with these 2, McFarlane doesn’t need to ruin a good thing here.
I think it’s mostly just that McFarlane is desperate for you to recognize his inks. He wants you to know he had a big part in this process but that’s a big issue. It really gets in the way. It’s so invasive of Capullo’s strong pencil work that it makes it hard to just enjoy the art when it’s so much rougher and cluttered then it needs to be.
So I’m just going to say this, McFarlane needs to leave the inks to Miki. McFarlane is a strong artist and his inks have worked well in the past especially on Spawn right now but I think it’s best that he step back and let Capullo and Miki do their thing because while the art was mostly great, I wanted to absolutely loved it, the inks nearly killed it for me.
Overall: I really have been loving Haunt, but this was the weakest issue of Haunt since it’s weak first issue. But I still really recommend this series to anyone. Pick up the first volume and I think you’ll find something to love in there. This issue was a sign of the weaker side to Haunt that hopefully Kirkman is going to be able to fix in future issues. Still not a bad read but it could have been so much better.