By: Joe Casey (writer), Nathan Fox (artist), Ivan Plascencia (colors), Comicraft (letters)
The Story: You thought that the guy in Haunt was a Catholic priest???
Review [with SPOILERS]: How funny was that? When this comic debuted, everyone made fun of how the protagonist in Haunt was a cigarette-smoking, prostitute-visiting Catholic priest. It just seemed a little too cliche, ya know? Daniel Kilgore’s priestly ways ended up not having much to do with the story of Haunt as that story element was rapidly dropped, but that story element had some effect on this title having a hard time finding it’s feet as there was a lot of message board chatter about how “dumb” the priest angle was.
Flash forward a couple of years and we see a creative change on Haunt, with Joe Kelly and Nathan Fox coming aboard. They immediately introduced this weird church we saw this weird church storyline introduced. The weird church seemingly had nothing to do with the previous story as Kirkman and Capullo had mostly used Haunt as a “secret agent”. Thus, it was a hard to reconcile the mystical aspects of the weird church with the bad guys of the first ~20 issues who were more drug-kingpin/gun-runner types.
Well, now is all makes sense. The creators never said that Daniel Kilgore was a Catholic priest. We just kinda assumed “Catholic” when we saw the clerical collar. But, with a neat twist, we’ve now learned that Danny perhaps thought he was a priest in the Catholic church, but was really working for the weird-church! Ha! It makes pre-Haunt Daniel Kilgore even more pathetic: Not only was he screwing hookers, he didn’t even know that HIS church was doing all this secret, apocalyptic stuff. Clearly, this weird church is going to have something to do with Haunt and the connection with the afterlife. Perhaps they knew that Daniel was a likely medium for a Haunt-construct and kept him around for that reason?
Some devout Catholics could be offended by this angle, but the general public has always shown a healthy appetite for alternate versions of Christianity where they talk about stuff like all the books of the Bible that didn’t get used or the secret history of the church. It’s Da Vinci Code-type material.
It’s also interesting how much this title has changed since Kirkman and Capullo left. The change was drastic and sudden… And the first couple of issues were rough, not because the material was poor, but because it was such a big change. It didn’t even feel like the same comic book. But, much like jumping into a cold swimming pool, your body adapts and gets used to a new status quo. Haunt is different, but it is still interesting as Kelly has brought in this weird church and super-cool characters like the aging disco-agent Tubman. Readers should be in for a good ride.
The only negative with Haunt right now is that the story is bouncing off me. I enjoy reading it and when I sit down days later to write up a review, I remember that I enjoyed it, but I cannot remember the story details. When I flip through the issue again at review time, I think, “Oh yeah… That was cool… Aand that scene was neat… And this character was a nifty addition.” But for some reason, it never sticks the first time through.
I really love what Nathan Fox is doing. He’s a huge departure from Capullo and I almost wonder if he was aware of that in the first few issues. Or maybe he just needed a few issues to get comfortable with the characters? But he’s in a comfort zone now! A few things I like about Fox (explained as well as a non-artist can explain them)… One is how ripply and organic his Haunt or his demonic bug creatures look. Fox does this thing on the critters legs where he combines fluid, curvy wavy lines with sharp edges and corners. Lots of variations to his lines. It has a very confident look to it. The other thing that stands out is how cool his backgrounds and architecture are. I loved how he illustrated the interior of this weird church. It’s all tall and forboding (since he’s playing around with the perspective). Fox is a real treat and he’s on my short-list for artists I need to buy a page of original art from.
Conclusion: Haunt has found it’s second wind after the departure of Kirkman and Capullo. It isn’t the “greatest comic on the stands” but it’s enjoyable every month and Fox’s art is just tremendous. If only the story would stick in my brain after I close the book…
Follow Dean on Twitter.