The first story line of “Ghosted” ends here, with Joshua Williamson writing a script that sticks the metaphorical landing. All of the pieces that he’s set up for the last four issues play their parts perfectly, with one or two final surprises along the way.
It’s the height of tension in the series. After a lot of near misses and big teases, the team that set out on the ultimate paranormal heist mission — steal a ghost from a haunted house — are now in the one place they never wanted to be: inside the haunted house after dark. But all is not what it seems, of course. The ghosts are real, but the real reason for the hunt comes to the surface and turns everything on its head. Plus, readers learn the secret of that ill-fated Vegas heist that landed Winters in jail. The pieces fit together neatly. The only odd thing thrown into the mix is Anderson’s motivation for sticking with the money man, Markus. It fills in a character motivation piece, but it comes a little too far out of left field. Everything else in this issue has been nicely teased at to the point where a creative reader might have figured it out, but this bit with Anderson comes off a bit too randomly.
That’s a minor nit to pick, though, for a storyline that concludes so solidly. Jackson Winters is a strong lead character for the series, with a twinkle in his eye and a smirk that lets you know he’s come up with the perfect angle on something. I look forward to seeing where he goes next, which is also hinted at in the coda to this issue.
Artist Goran Sudzuka is a great match to this story. You might recognize his work best from the “Girl on Girl” storyline from the middle of “Y: The Last Man,” and it’s a perfect fit here. There’s a lot going on in this book from an artistic point of view. There’s grand old architecture, ghostly figures, talking heads, and plenty of action scenes. Sudzuka handles them all cleanly, with black gutters and neat rectangular panels. His use of a crayon/charcoal black shading is a perfect match to the atmosphere of the book in addition to being a neat effect all too little seen in comics today. When the issue changes gears in the end, he changes his art style to something completely different, but which still works.
Special credit also goes to the colorist, Miroslav Mrva, who pulls off the neat trick of coloring an issue set in a haunted house at night in dark colors without obscuring the art or making the book a muddy mess. The color choices here are clear, letting the art tell the story without trying too hard to be “realistic.” Mrva uses subtle texture effects and cut shadows to add dimension while choosing the appropriate shades to make everything legible.
“Ghosted” #5 is a strong ending to a story with lots of interesting pieces. It works well on is own, but the characters are interesting enough to make you want to learn more about them. I don’t know how many of them will show up in the next storyline, but they’re all welcome. I have a feeling there’s a lot more to learn about them.