Haunt #7 Review
- Published on Friday, 21 May 2010 00:44
- Written by Andrenn
Haunt has been a solid series but it has had plenty of ups and downs. The first arc was a success but last issue left a lot to be desired. But with a new story arc and the legendary Greg Capullo on as artist now things are looking up for Haunt. Is this series back to being a must have like it was a couple of months ago? Let’s find out.
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Greg Capullo
Inks: Todd McFarlane
Colors: FCO Plansencia
Story Rating: 7 Haunts out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Haunts out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Haunts out of 10
Synopsis: Daniel knocks at an apartment door, Kurt berating him that this is a bad idea. The hooker that Daniel has been seeing answers the door and is surprised to see him. Daniel says how he quit being a priest, that his life is getting back together and that he felt he really made a connection with her. Charity, the hooker, says she’s not available when her pimp opens the door. He tells Daniel to pay or leave. When the pimp tells Daniel to leave Daniel asks Charity if she wants him to leave, she says no.
Daniel forces his way past the pimp into the apartment where other men are armed and surprised to see him. They are about to open fire when Kurt and Daniel merge, taking out the lights and attacking the men. Kurt berates Daniel for being reckless as they tackle a man and push him out a window. After this Charity walks in to find all the men dead and thanks Daniel, she then runs off and Daneil leaves the apartment building.
Hurg is having dinner with the traitor to the agency. He mentions her meal choice isn’t healthy but she says she wants to enjoy life. He then brings up how the agency is in disarray right now and she asks if he has another mole in there. He smirks and says how that would be interesting. His scientists call him to tell them that the notes have everything that Shillinger did written down and that they can start to duplicate his work immediately. Hurg is happy so he orders a bowl of strawberries (what a party animal)
In a park Kurt is scolding Daniel for thinking that Charity would run off with him. Daniel replies how Kurt shouldn’t talk to him about women when he can’t be faithful to just one (OH SNAP! Kurt may be dead but that ain’t gonna stop him from getting burned!) Kurt mentions how Daniel wasn’t faithful to the church. Daniel says the reason he became a priest was that when they where kids and forced to go to church the priests always seemed so happy with their lives and after Amanda left him he wanted to be happy like that.
Amanda calls him up, covered in the money that Mirage dropped off last issue. Daniel arrives and sees the money, Kurt says it must have been Mirage (really? Honestly? You see a stack of money in your house and you think “oh, it must have been my super spy mistress, of course! That makes perfect sense” ugh. Great logic, Kurt) Kurt tells Daniel to tell Amanda about what he was. Daniel tells Amanda to press a button under the table.
She gets down and presses it and a door opens revealing a room full of knives and guns and ammo. Daniel confesses that Kurt was never a Data Analyst and tells her that he was a hired killer for the agency and that he was really killed on a mission. He knew this because he confessed all these things and he says he’s sorry. Amanda is a little stunned and says she’s going to need some time to adjust to learning this.
Kurt and Daniel are walking down the street and when Kurt is about to say something Daniel stops him and tells him that this isn’t his fault. That Amanda will be okay and that this all isn’t his fault (my god, character development, in my Image Comics? I thought Image where just violent “extreme” comics. That’s what you’d think if you read 80% of the negative Image Reviews) and he asks where are they meeting Beth.
Daniel shows up at the meeting place, and is introduced to his instructor. Daniel asks what are they going to do first, Knives, Guns, Kung-fu? The intrsuctor says he is going to use the most deadly weapon of all and pulls out a pencil. We see Daniel writing down on a sheet with the pencil and Kurt is laughing at him.
At Hurg’s lab the tests from Shillinger’s notes are going well to recreate skin cells. Hurg asks to see Cobra and his bandages are being removed. The doctors and Hurg is shocked to see Cobra’s deformed face and Cobra asks how bad is it. (No worse than John McCain, he looks fine by comparison)
The Good: Haunt #7 was a solid issue and definitely a step in the right direction for the series both with the characters and art. Sadly this issue greatly suffers from rather weak pacing which isn’t something I expect much from Robert Kirkman who is often great at making each issue feel like a worthwhile read even while in a larger story.
Kirkman’s great achievement with Haunt at this point is the character work. It’s amazing to see how far these characters have come and developed over the last 7 issues. With the first issue everyone sort of just fit one stereotype, Daniel as the jerk, Kurt as the super nice guy, etc. But as the series has continued the characters have evolved from their one-note archetypes.
Daniel has easily changed the most over time, and even then it’s not so much a character change as just seeing that Daniel really is a better guy then the first issue lead on. In issue #1 you hated Daniel, and for good reason, he came off as a scumbag. But as Kirkman has released more and more about him the more interesting and enjoyable a character is present rather than the jerk we saw early on.
Daniel’s moment with Kurt, someone who he has really been angry with and for good reason, really speaks for the character. Daniel shows a compassion and understanding of others that really isn’t as common as you’d think. He gets that while Kurt may hate himself for this it all really isn’t his fault and that sometimes circumstances lead people down this path. His ability to really see into Kurt’s guilt was great.
Mind you we still see bits and pieces of the jerk Daniel was early on. His sharp tongue about how Kurt cheated on his wife shows he’s not a complete super nice guy and he still isn’t one to avoid calling his brother out.
It’s kind of funny how the roles have been reversed for Daniel and Kurt. Daniel was the cold uncaring jerk and Kurt was the sweet guy with a heart of gold. Now we see the Daniel really is a nice guy deep down and that Kurt is a jerk as Daniel was. And I’m not talking about Kurt cheating on his wife, no, that’s not what makes him a jerk even if that was an asshole thing to do what really shows that Kurt isn’t so nice and sweet is his cynicism towards Daniel’s attempts to date Charity.
Speaking of Daniel reaching out to Charity, I was rather surprised to see this character return. She literally was in one page on the first issue and since then we haven’t seen her. I figured she was a 1 time character, not something Kirkman would be coming back to. It’s stuff like that where he surprises me and that is his ability to reach into the past of a comic and really turn it into something cool. He’s done this often with Invincible and doing it here on Haunt was great.
It was just nice seeing Daniel stick up for him and reaches out to someone. While it seems things backfired and now Charity won’t be showing up again it was still nice to see Kirkman thinking of past characters. Now all he needs to do is get the Cleaner back and we can start to build up an actual cast of characters around our 2 brothers finally.
It will be interesting to see where Kirkman takes Daniel’s love life. Right now it looks like it could go a few ways, Daniel and Charity, Daniel and some new woman or the one that would no doubt cause the most friction between Daniel and Kurt, Daniel and Amanda. Knowing Kirkman he’ll go the route of Daniel and Amanda since that will cause the most drama and interesting story reaction.
My favorite scene in this issue was Daniel and Kurt’s discussion in the park. Both sides where interesting to read and I really liked Daniel quipping about Kurt’s infidelity, that just seems like the perfect comeback right now. Kurt making the joke about not knowing anything about women also had me chuckling.
I really liked Daniel’s reason for becoming a priest. Now I may not be a religious person myself but Daniel’s reasoning seemed sound and I really liked how he said it in a very honest way. It didn’t feel like Kirkman shoe-horned Daniel’s reason in as if it where something that was only mildly worth reading. It was a touching character confession and it worked really well to make me connect more with Daniel as a character.
I touched on this in the synopsis but I wanted to quickly mention the stereotypical response to Haunt. “It’s an Image book, Todd McFarlane is involved, there’s violence, it sucks” ugh. While there are legitimate reasons not to like Haunt, like if you don’t like violence in your comics or aren’t into a dark series like this, I’m so sick of this bullshit stereotype that stifles Image comics.
I’ve already ranted about how stupid it is to judge Haunt on the name McFarlane being attached to it but I’ve seen some shops that actually refuse to order Haunt. Why? Some shop owners personal vendetta against Image I guess. I can see that some people don’t like Image for legitimate reasons, but this stigma that stems from comics and stories over 15 years ago is just childish.
Haunt is a violent comic, but Kirkman has created a complex hero and really is building up an interesting world around him like he has with past comics. But some people can’t see the good and refuse to look past old stories they didn’t like. If you don’t like Haunt for legitimate reasons that’s great but to condemn it without even really seeing the greatness it has is just sad.
Mini rant over, sorry about that folks. Now back to our regular review!
I continue to enjoy the villain Hurg. He is sort of our ultimate villain at this point and seeing him get farther is unsettling. I can’t help but wonder if these experiments will lead to Hurg making his own Haunt or something cool like that. So far we’re not sure what Shillinger’s experiments did that lead to Haunt’s creation but so far it’s obvious that something Shillinger did lead to Haunt.
I am curious if Hurg does have another mole in the agency. He didn’t flat out say he did but if he did that would be pretty freaky. Hurg has a bird’s eye view then on our hero and that could make him an even more formidable foe.
I hope Cobra can finally become a good villain with his new look, which I like by the way. Cobra has been a really poor villain so far but if he can improve and have a new vendetta against Haunt then that would be great. He’s got the villain look to him finally now he just needs to take that look and actually be a good villain with it.
I loved that scene with Daniel meeting his instructor, it was hilarious. Kurt’s reaction was my reaction, and I think Daniel was a little too excited for this.
Daniel revealing the truth to Amanda was another great scene. I wasn’t expecting Kirkman to ever go there even if Amanda where to evolve into a love interest for Daniel. I always thought she’d remain in the dark about what Kurt did but Daniel telling her was a great scene and I think this could lead to some awesome stuff in the future.
Capullo really kicked ass on art this issue. Last time his art was great but he had some bad spots, here it’s a huge step up and much closer to the amazing work I expect from him. Capullo posted on the Spawn message boards that he’s getting back into the groove of things which is fine, but if this is a taste of what’s to come then I think Haunt will be one of the best looking comics on the shelves.
Capullo’s attention to detail and design really impresses me. Even with smaller panels where there isn’t much call for detail or emotion he adds that extra layer and that really makes his art worth it. Yes this issue was delayed but for great Capullo art the wait is always worth it and this is no exception.
The Bad: Haunt’s biggest weakness has to be the poor pacing of the series. This series reads more like a “wait for the trade” kind of comic. Which is weird because as I said Kirkman really is good at making each issue feel important and interesting. With Haunt though this issue just felt like the first chapter of a Haunt graphic novel.
Kirkman excels at making each issue count. Destroyer is a perfect example of that, each issue told a larger story while in each issue was its own smaller satisfying story. From Destroyer fighting his brother to Destroyer fighting death each issue was part of a much larger story but each issue still felt like a self contained story within it. Kirkman is really good at doing the same over at Invincible, so I’m rather confused as to why he can’t do that with Haunt.
This issue just felt a little too short for me, like not enough happened. I think a little more could have been done to further this storyline but Kirkman just settled with what he gave us rather than pushing things forward a little more.
I was really disappointed that Haunt only shows up in one panel, one freaking panel, that is such a waste of Capullo’s great art. Capullo draws one hell of a Haunt and while that one panel was awesome, when it is just one panel it is rather sad. I really was hoping for a little more Haunt action then this and if we have to wait a bit I guess I can be patient but damn I’m ready for Capullo to kick his art into hyper drive and draw Haunt kicking some ass.
Some of the dialogue was a little off. Mostly Kurt during the opening. While I liked that he was being cynical and everything and scolding Daniel for rushing in I think Kirkman took it a little too far. At the bottom of page 1 Kurt says “this is too much” really? Here we have a trained assassin, but his brother confronting a woman is too much?
It just felt like Kirkman overdid it a little. Now mind you it doesn’t ever spill into bad territory but it doesn’t really make sense. If Kurt where cynical about Charity that would make sense but his outright statement that this is too much for him, when he’s spend the last few days fighting assasins, driving cars through walls and saving his wife multiple times, this is too much? I know Kurt has women issues but I think that’s a bit much.
I continue to worry about Haunt having a cast at all. So far it’s just our brothers, Beth and Amanda. Beth and Amanda are side characters so far and have yet to add too much to the real story. I liked the previous director but he’s dead now, so far Haunt is seriously lacking. Kirkman know how to build a strong cast of characters like in Invincible and The Walking Dead so hopefully he can start building up Haunt’s cast fast, preferably by bringing back the Cleaner.
Overall: Haunt really is coming along and turning into one of the best reads each month. There are still plenty of hurdles to jump over. The series needs to start building a cast and getting a tighter pace but I think that as the series progresses that this is going to continue to be one of the bet comics on the shelves. Kirkman is a masterful writer and I know he can turn this into great series it has the potential to be.
I definitely recommend you pick up this issue as it’s a decent start for the series. You may be confused as to exactly what’s going on since there is no recap page so with that you could pick up the first volume of the series and skip issue #6 and jump on with this issue. With things looking to heat up and what is sure to be astonishing art by Capullo each month I think this may just be one of the best comics to start reading.