Jackson T. Winters was a criminal mastermind until one poorly executed job robbed him of his friends, his freedom, and his will to live. But in GHOSTED #1, a rich collector busts him out of prison and offers him a job. Winters must now bring a team of specialists together to pull off one last score: enter a haunted mansion and steal a ghost.
Didn’t you hear me? Enough said, I said.
Oh fine. But really, that description was the thing that induced me into purchasing GHOSTED #1, and it’s a description that says it all. A wealthy collector of occult objects busts criminal genius Jackson T. Winters out of the slammer in order to steal a ghost. No particular ghost, just any ghost. Quite reasonably, Winters thinks the job is nuts like a Hundred Grand bar, but his new benefactor makes it clear there isn’t an option to refuse. If Winters backs off, he goes back to prison; Winters would much rather not go back to prison.
What follows, in the words of the comic itself, a combination of Oceans Eleven and The Shining, though personally I would compare it to Stephen King’s Rose Red more than The Shining. Winters brings together a team of “specialists” in the field of the paranormal: an aging stage magician, an expert in “detecting bullshit”, two brothers and their crew of reality television ghost hunters, and an apparently legitimate psychic medium with questionable motivations. Their goal is to sneak into a mansion with a heavy history of occultism and mass death, and try to bluff their way into catching a ghost. It’s obvious almost no one actually knows what they’re doing – none of them are Ghostbusters or even Ghost Busters – but there’s no harm in winging it.
Right? This couldn’t possibly result in some or all of them being horribly killed…right?
This series doesn’t take itself all that seriously, although it’s got a lot of darker elements as well. The first page shows (thankfully not in great detail) one of Winters’ fellow inmates being prison raped. The second page has a prisoner (possibly the same guy as before) being stabbed in a shower. This is not a happy story.
It is a very well drawn story, though. I think my favorite part is a beautiful two page spread of the mansion itself. It’s simply breathtaking. The whole book has a sort of Gothic aesthetic, when it’s not looking like a crime thriller. Which it is. Kudos to Goran Sudzuka and Miroslav Mrva for their excellent work.
Honestly if the concept sounds intriguing to you or you like either supernatural or heist stories, you already know if you’re going to like this story. GHOSTED #1 presents itself as a genre comic, albeit one that mashes two disparate kinds together. Really, it’s kind of like Sharknado: the high concept alone is why anyone reads it.