Review: Haunt #13

Published on February 14th, 2011

Robert Kirkman is one of the most prolific and talented writers in the comic book industry today.  He has brought us a large catalog oforiginal, creator owned titles such as Invincible, Battle Pope, Tech Jacket, The Astounding Wolf-Man and The Walking Dead, which has been adapted into an incredibly successful AMC TV series.  One of his newer series’, which has blossomed into a very interesting read, is Haunt.

Written by Kirkman with pencils by Greg Capullo, inks by Jonathan Glapion and co-created by Todd McFarlane (who also contributes additional inks to Haunt #13), Haunt is about “unsaintly” Catholic priest Daniel Kilgore whose brother Kurt, an operative in a secret government agency, is killed on a mission and comes back in spirit form to haunt Daniel.  When Kurt’s soul merges with Daniel’s body they form Haunt, who has enhanced speed, strength, durability, fighting skills and is able to create simple constructs using the ectoplasmic substance that covers his body, much like Venom or Carnage from Spider-Man.  Daniel eventually becomes an agent for the government agency that Kurt worked for, successfully convincing them of his ability to communicate with Kurt, thanks to the classified information Kurt communicates to him.

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Haunt #13 starts a new story arc that introduces a new antagonist named Apparition.  Throughout issue #13 (and briefly in previous issues), Kurt sees strange eyes appearing in various shadows.  He doesn’t know what they are and is surprised to find that Daniel can’t see them.  Issue #13 starts off with Daniel completing a mission in Rio De Janeiro with a new agent named Agent Park.  Afterward, they head back to the U.S. and are briefed on a new mission to stop a group called The Arc Light Group who are developing a method to transport plutonium without detection.  During the meeting, Kurt sees the ominous eyes again and is ultimately swallowed up when the eyes become a huge, reddish, black, tarry creature that only he can see.  Daniel becomes curious when his spectral brother disappears, but makes little of it at first.

Later, Daniel, Agent Park and a new agent named Weathers set off on the new mission to stop the Arc Light Group.  Shortly after landing, they are attacked by men with guns.  Agent Park tells Daniel to let Haunt out, but since Kurt still hasn’t returned, Daniel is unable to do anything.

Haunt has really proven to be an interesting series.  It manages to meld creepy, paranormal sci-fi with espionage and superheroes.  It’s fairly reminiscent of McFarlane’s Spawn, but very much its own animal.  Even with McFarlane’s involvement, credit really has to be given to Kirkman.  For example, he has created a very interesting dynamic between the two brothers.  One of the interesting plot points is that Kurt (before he died) married Daniel’s girlfriend Amanda, which left him heartbroken and directionless and is also why Daniel became a priest.  After Kurt’s death, Daniel is furious at his brother when he finds out that Kurt had been cheating on Amanda leading up to his death.  Kirkman puts a lot of focus on character development before he starts working on the superhero action.

Capullo’s art is very energetic and also reminiscent of McFarlane’s older Spawn and Spider-Man work.  It’s good at being dark and gritty but stylized and superhero at the same time.  It’s also amazingly gory.  Kirkman adds tons of blood and gore to all of his work for Image Comics, but Haunt has to be the worst offender.  If you have a weak stomach, you may want to keep your distance.  But, if you’re like me and you think that the gore is awesome, this is definitely a book for you.  Capullo (and FCO Plascencia on colors) really goes for the gory gold.

Though it’s only 13 issues deep, Haunt is proving to be a really great series.  Do yourself a favor and pick up the first two trades.  Volume two just came out a week or two ago and volume one is only $9.99!  What a deal!  Speaking of deals, check out the $1.99 price tag on Haunt #13!  Thanks Image!

Ian Candish
Ian@ComicImpact.com