The GeeksverseHaunted City #0

Haunted City #0
Published on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 by

Written by: Chap Taylor & Peter Johnson
Illustrated by: Michael Ryan
Colored by: Peter Steigerwald w/ Beth Sotelo
Cover Art: A- Michael Ryan w/ Peter Steigerwald; B- Micah Gunnell w/ John Starr; C- Alex Konat w/ Beth Sotelo; D- Micah Gunnell w/ Peter Steigerwald
Assistant Editor: Josh Reed
Editor: Frank Mastromauro, Vince Hernandez

Aspen’s done a pretty smart thing lately with their new releases. They’re releasing alot of new books and they premiere them as a 0 issue to give fans a chance to check out the book. The zero issues work good as an introduction to the world of the new book. Alot of these books come from Hollywood folks that we only recognize the names because of the projects attached to them.

Haunted City is one such book.

I’ll be honest and say that the reason I picked this up was because of Michael Ryan’s art. I’ve always been a big fan of his work ever since his Wildstorm days. So that is what led me to this and I’m undecided if it’ll be enough to make me want to buy the rest of the series when it comes out.

Taylor and Johnson do make excellant use of the zero issue, in that regards this book deserves high marks. It opens with a sequance setting the stage and tone, explaining how New York is the most haunted city in the world and how the many immigrants brought their myths and fears to these shores.

It then veers off a bit introducing us to Tom Whalen, who’s a coked out drunk. He walks into a bar and is apparently trying to back out of some illegal deal and the other people decide he’s better off dead.

The story breaks down at this point, with the action getting very confusing. It appears as if Tom jumps out of the window, but then we see Tom chasing someone else. The problem is that we don’t understand why Tom would be chasing one of the people that just tried to kill him. Wouldn’t he just leave and get out of dodge? It’s an odd sequance and hard to follow.

The narrative is also hard to follow once it gets to the main story. It works good for the flashback and setting up, but doesn’t flow as good for the main part.

There’s also no hook to make us want to get into the series. Taylor does a good job setting up the haunted city but by the end of the issue we don’t see how Whalen is involved. There’s a ghost that warns him before he gets shot and that’s it. Is it enough to make someone buy the next issue? Possibly but it’s thin. The premise works nicely but the opening sequance isn’t supported by the last half of the zero issue.

Ryan’s art is good. The linework and style are as good as ever but the panel work isn’t as strong as I’ve seen. Most of the book looks good and flows well but there’s a couple instances in the second half, the Whalen half, where it breaks down. I’m inclined to think that it’s a problem with the script as thats where the story starts to break down as well.

Haunted City #0 receives
3 out of 5

The opening is interesting but the second half fails to connect to the opening in a way that makes the story one to follow.

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