Comic Book Review: Haunt #2

Haunt did not blow me away with it’s debut issue. It was a good read but it had some choppy storytelling and it’s characters where interesting, but still lacked some of the depth I was hoping Kirkman would give them. It had a great final few pages and left me excited for more.

So with #2 out does the young series get the ball rolling or does it just stand still some more? Let’s find out.
Creative Team
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Ryan Ottley
Lay-Outs: Greg Capullo
Co-Creator/Inks: Todd McFarlane
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Haunt stares at his blood covered hands. Kurt tells Daniel to go limp and that he’s going to take over as he walks to a window. Daniel asks what is Kurt doing as Haunt jumps out the window. Good shoots from his finger tips and latches to a wall as he looks for a van where the radio transmission for the assassins is coming from.
One of the guys from the van gets out of the car only for a spiked line from Haunts’ hands to go through the back of his head. As the other guy shoots at him Haunt leaps out, Daniel says bullets don’t work as Kurt is confused as to why he talks. Haunt then kills the other man and Kurt tells Daniel that he needs to call a cleaner.
Later Daniel answers the door and the Cleaner is there. The cleaner soon grabs Daniel’s throat asking how he knew to call him. When Daniel tells him it was his brother, the man gets angrier but he tells him how he’s Kurt’s brother.
The cleaner soon hugs Daniel after saying Kurt was like a brother to him. After Daniel tells the Cleaner the situation the Cleaner tells him that he’ll have the bodies gone and the place cleaned up before Kurt’s wife wakes up and she’ll never know he was there.
The next day Amanda snaps at Daniel for smoking in doors. She quickly apologizes and thanks him for staying the night. There’s an awkward pause, she then goes to work and Daniel heads back to church. Kurt tells Daniel to stick with Amanda but she refuses, when Kurt keeps insisting Daniel tells him to stop telling him what to do.
After Daniel rants a bit about how he hates Kurt and Amanda he tells Kurt to stay away from him and that he wants out. When Kurt tries again to reach out to Daniel, Daniel shouts for him to leave him alone only for an old lady to walk up and ask if he’s okay. He walks into church and goes to see the main priest.
When he opens the door he sees the main priest dead, his stomach brutally cut open. A man called Cobra dressed in CIA type wear approaches him and tells Daniel to tell him everything he knows. When Cobra reaches at Daniel he gets his hand snapped away as Kurt and Daniel become Haunt again.
Kurt reveals that Cobra is a tough guy that even he will have trouble fighting him off. As they talk Cobra is confused since he can only hear Daniel’s half of the conversation. Haunt kicks Cobra in the face and takes away his poison laced knives but Cobra shoots at him to distract him as he escapes.
Daniel is then walking down the street (whoa, wait a minute. One minutes you’re in a blood covered room the next you’re just walking out? This is the one moment in the comic that was just….what the hell happened?) Daniel says he can’t handle what’s going on, but Kurt insists he knows where they should go.
They go to a rundown house. Two stoners are confused when Daniel walks in but they ignore him (they have a Spawn bong! I don’t do drugs, but damn I want a Spawn bong!) Daniel goes to a room and opens the closet. He puts his thumb to a spot on the clothes rack as Kurt uses his thumb imprint and suddenly a door in the closet opens and they both enter and it takes them to Kurt’s old HQ.
A man and a woman stand in front of Daniel as several soldiers point guns at him. The man says he has a lot of questions for him.
The Good: Haunt #2 was a big step up for the young series after the troubled debut issue and it renewed my faith in the young series and has me excited once more for it as we watch the tales unfold.
The biggest improvement was the art. Usually Ottley turns in absolutely gorgeous stuff over in Invincible and his art on Haunt #1, while it never got bad, was definitely far from his strong work on Invincible and I credited this mostly to the overly done line work that came with the inks.
Here it’s much smoother looking and it definitely looks a lot better. This is a much better blend of Ottley’s gorgeous pencil work and McFarlane’s strong inking. Of course I also continue to love the page lay outs by Capullo as he really gives the already great art an extra amount of uniqueness to it all.
Also the coloring was better as it helped give depth to the characters rather then just have them all looking gloomy in a dark place.
Overall the art was gorgeous this issue and much closer to the Ottley art I love.
Another thing I really liked was that Kirkman is doing a good ob of subtlety making Daniel a more likable guy. Sure he’s still a sour jerk but at the same time we see glimpses of a good guy beneath the pissed off priest exterior.
Probably the one moment I saw a nice guy in Daniel the most was when the Cleaner showed up. Daniel was obviously nervous about meeting a cleaner but once they got to know each other a little bit he seemed more comfortable around him and this showed he’s not such a stuck up jerk who looks down at everyone as it seemed from issue #1.
It was great seeing Haunt out and in action as he has some really cool moves and it’s actually a lot of fun to read Daniel and Kurt’s back and forth when they are fighting as Haunt. Kirkman has developed the dynamic nicely and is using it well here.
About Haunt sticking to the wall. Honestly I can’t see why so many people hate that he can do this. As if Spider-man is the only hero allowed to swing around or stick to walls and anyone else is just a rip off. Sure it’s not 100% original but is anything these days?
Even Batman, the hero everyone loves so much, was inspired by a movie called The Bat. It had a man in a Bat costume, using the Bat-signal and climbing up rope. Only real difference is the Bat was a killer and Batman is a hero. Everything is inspired or has similarities to something, so if you’re going to bitch about one thing why not bitch about the other? You don’t see people calling Bob Kane unoriginal.
Obviously there’s a hint of Spawn and a hint of Spider-man, but that doesn’t automatically make this character unoriginal or bad.
Another thing I hear a lot of people complain about is that it has the Image feel of being gritty and gory. Compared to Spawn or Cyberforce, Haunt really doesn’t feel like those books at all. Just because a book is gory or gritty doesn’t make it like these other books at all in my opinion.
Though to be fair I grew up with Image so maybe I’m a tad bias or I don’t notice the Image style. This feels like a completely different book from any of the classic Image books of the 90’s so I can’t see where the influence comes in.
Now as for the story I must say I’m really glad that Kirkman was able to give us a solid story that progressed fluidly (with the exception of a certain moment I’ll talk about)) last issue Kirkman jumped from scene to scene, here the way this issue’s story flowed felt much more natural and I liked it a lot for that.
I really liked the character of the Cleaner. It seems that for now he’s just a one shot character that appeared for only 2 pages but Kirkman did a good job showing there is an established connection between him and Kurt so seeing him return or be a regular character would be great and I’d love that. Maybe he could even be a character that helps Daniel whenever things get messy as Haunt. Just a thought.
Action was handled very nicely here. Maybe it was because of the lay outs by Capullo but either way I loved the action here. It was very cool to see Haunt move and twist about and use his powers as he fights.
I have never talked about lettering before, but I must say that Richard Starkings did a really good job here. I like the thought bubble type bubble we have to distinguish Kurt talking from Daniel.
I seriously want a Spawn bong. Make it had TMP! Make it happen!
I did like the cliff-hanger mostly for that it did a good job of leading is into next issue with a new plot twist and finishing up what’s happened so far with the Cobra fight, delaying it for now and I am really interested to see what Daniel can figure out from Kurt’s HQ.
Overall Haunt #2 was a good enjoyable read with some seriously gorgeous art. This series is on it’s way to great things at this rate as Kirkman did a great job getting things rolling for the future.
The Bad: Haunt #2 was still flawed with a few problems.
I mentioned that odd jump. It was just so out of place for us suddenly to see this big mess and the next minute Daniel is walking out like nothing happened. Just a really shoddy moment that I think could have been handled better with a quick transition scene.
Cobra was a fairly bland villain. While it’s clear that he and Kurt have some history, so far the villain does nothing for me and for an opening villain Kirkman failed to make him at all interesting. He’ll be showing up in issue #4 and I’m hoping Kirkman can give me a reason to give a damn by then.
Overall: If Haunt #1 put you off to the series and you aren’t reading it, I definitely recommend you give Haunt #2 a shot as the series really does seem to be heading for good things in the future. Try to get past some of the obvious influences and enjoy it for what it is and I think you’ll find an exciting and enjoyable new series to read.

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