Review - Haunted City #0

For all the appeal and draw, New York City isn't without its dark side. The history is one of the oldest in the country and one of the most important cities in the modern world. The city definitely has its legacy, but not all of that legacy is necessarily steeped in big city goodness. Haunted City #0 is a new series from Aspen Comics and McG's Wonderland Sound and Vision that presents a look at New York City's transformation from a quiet hamlet to a city breathing evil.

The zero issue is, like other zero issues, something of a prologue to the series that's going to follow. It spans the centuries of the city's growth, showing zombies, Jewish golems, witch doctors and even the Son of Sam. At the core of the tales is an evil inherent in the city pushing them in the direction of darkness.

The jaunt through history brings the reader to present day city and Detective Tom Whalen, a young man with a penchant for more modern ills. His decision making leaves something to be desired and it's only at the end of the issue that he realizes as such. Seeing a ghost tends to have that effect on you when you're faced with death.

The writing by Chip Taylor and Peter Johnson is pretty brisk and moves the issue along quite fast. Granted, it's a zero issue, but not a lot at all really happens in it, other than get the reader up to speed with what the story will be about. There's a cliffhanger ending which I suppose will hook readers to at least check out the first issue.

The art by Michael Ryan has a contrasting feel, with characters standing out from the background by sharp black lines. There's also a muted effect on the illustrations, no doubt owing the colors by Peter Steigerwald. The lettering by Josh Reed is a tad on the small side and I had to really squint to make out some of the text.

Overall, Haunted City #0 takes the concept of a haunted New York City and explores it. A city that storied no doubtedly has a number of skeletons in its closet and they're all on display here. What the creative team may have trouble with is focusing in on one particular evil to have Detective Whalen deal with. Haunted City could easily turn into a "monster of the week" premise with future issues.

Haunted City #0 should be in stores tomorrow. Interiors below.