Review - Spirit Hunters #1 (@Zenescope)

"Twenty hours with no sleep...I'm getting jumpy."

There are some who will boldly proclaim that they "ain't afraid of no ghosts." Yet there are others who are terrified at merely the suggestion that there could be other entities walking the world beside us. It's a good bet that there would be reason to be scared of some of the aforementioned entities if they're evil and malicious as they are in Spirit Hunters #1 from Zenescope Comics. The issue is written by Ralph Tedesco and Joe Brusha, illustrated by Julius Abrera, colored by Jorge Cortes and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

Ghosts and spirits have been with us since man first started walking the earth. What are they and what do they want? Why do some haunt places and seem to only mean us harm? One team of paranormal investigators sets out to answer that question, hunting the vengeful spirits that cross over to into our world and facing the most terrifying hauntings man has ever known.

Tedesco and Brusha attempt to take a serial about ghost hunting and turn it into a comic with some success. The dialogue in the issue is very matter of fact and strongly expository at times, accurately informing the reader but seemingly devoid of much emotion. There seems to be a larger force at play in terms of who's funding the expeditions and maybe the writing duo will explore that in future issues. Spirit Hunters #1 does a good job of introducing all the characters and giving them each distinct--albeit somewhat cliche--personalities. The pacing is a little inconsistent as there are a series of happenings that work to set up the larger reveal as Tedesco and Brusha alternate between rapid-fire and slow-moving.

Abrera's artwork is pretty strong. The characters are cleanly defined and fit the establishing shots well as Abrera infuses each character with emotional expressions relevant to the action on page. A lot of the pages are packed full of panels and dialogue bubbles which doesn't really give Abrera much room to make the pages feel less crowded. The rendering of the spirits themselves is actually pretty terrifying as Abrera mixes together a couple of different horror concepts into the spirits. Cortes polishes the artwork with very rich colors that make things easy to follow despite the majority of the book taking place at a hospital overnight.

Spirit Hunters #1 plays out like a haunted whodunnit. Each of the main characters have their role to play in solving the mystery of the deaths at the hospital. Tedesco and Brusha write a pretty coherent tale that does suffer from some pacing issues only because they're starting and finishing an arc in one issue. Abrera's artwork is clear despite the seemingly hyperactive page layouts. Spirit Hunters #1 is an interesting first issue of a twelve issue series that will hopefully have a larger, overarching theme tying everything together.

Spirit Hunters #1 is in stores now.