Comic Book Review: Haunt #3

Haunt has been building a bit over the past 2 months. It started out a little weak but still good and had a much better 2nd issue. With the series now in full swing let’s see if Kirkman can keep the ship afloat or if he crashes it.
Creative Team
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Ryan Ottley
Lay-outs: Greg Capullo
Inks: Todd McFarlane
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Daniel is inside Kurt’s old HQ and Kurt tells him not to move and stay calm.  Daniel moves and gets hit with a tranquilizer dart, knocking him out. Daniel wakes up in a cell where Kurt informs him they are there with some of the people he helped save.

A woman notices Daniel and calls him Haunt. The woman starts talking about Kurt, what he is and what him and Daniel can do. She draws the Haunt symbol with her finger on the floor and says they are Haunt. How they are connected by blood and that Daniel’s life will depend on Kurt.
Daniel is taken to talk to some of the higher ups and a man and a woman soon enter the room. The woman starts talking about Daniel, all the details in his life like the prostitute he says every week and how he only eats 2 meals a day (and I thought MY hot super spy stalker was creepy) the woman soon asks him about how he knows what he knows and got here, Kurt tells Daniel to tell her everything but as he starts talking about ghosts she punches him hard in the face hard and they leave.
Daniel is being taken back to his cell and Kurt apologizes not realizing she’d do that. Some scientists talk about Daniel as he passes by. Back in the cell the woman approaches Daniel again but he tells her not now. As Daniel is asleep he’s drugged by the same man we saw torturing Kurt in issue #1, Kurt yelling for him to wake up just as he’s injected with tranquilizer.

They soon turn into Haunt and knock the guy back. As they start fighting Daniel is fighting the drug and trying to stay awake. The fight breaks through the cell and into the main area of the HQ. As the man reaches for his knife Haunt cuts his hand off then kills him. Just as Daniel passes out he tells the soldiers not to shoot him.
Daniel is once again talking to the woman and man from before (the woman is Beth, the man is Director Stantz) he seems able to convince them and the director leaves leaving Daniel and Beth to talk. Kurt tells Daniel to tell Beth “Autumn Leaves” to convince her. When he says it she tears up and walks out.
Daniel reasons that Kurt cheated on Amanda and that he could tell. He starts shouting at Kurt and Kurt tries to explain. Daniel shouts about how Kurt ruined his life. How he loved Amanda and how Kurt could have had any woman in the world and that he and Amanda where happy. As he keeps crying he hits the floor. (all of a sudden I like Daniel more then Kurt)

We see the Director and Beth watching Daniel and the Director asks if Director Rhodes, the main leader of Kurt’s murder case, is on her way which Beth confirms. As Rhodes arrives she’s talking to someone as she heads for HQ. She’s talking about how she’ll smooth this over to her boss and we see him saying how they need the notes from the doctor and as one of his lovers wakes up and tells him to go to bed he invites her to watch the sunrise as it’s a new day.
The Good: Haunt #3 was a good example of just because a comic doesn’t do a lot doesn’t mean it doesn’t accomplish something and still prove to be a great read. Here we don’t get any major event but the moments within still are important and interesting enough to satisfy even more then some big flashy 10 page fight would have.
Now the high point of the issue is what Kirkman does with Daniel and how he really flips the perspective of how we view his relationship with Kurt. We finally see that Daniel, for all his bad nasty attitude had someone he cared about once and that was Amanda, Kurt’s widow.

At first I suspected as much that Kurt stole Amanda from Daniel but I didn’t expect the actual reveal of this moment to be so powerful or well done. A random side comment about it alone would have sufficed to let the reader know but Kirkman takes what is a simple moment and really milks it for a really important and interesting moment for Daniel.
Seeing Daniel get so upset really was not what I was expecting. I half figured he’d shrug off that and wouldn’t care about it. He seemed to hate Amanda at this point (and I guess for good reason) so him finding out that Kurt cheated on her didn’t seem like something he’d cared about.
But Kirkman gave Daniel a new emotional layer, showing he’s not so cold hearted and uncaring as we believe. We see that deep down he still cared enough about Amanda to be furious at the mere idea of Kurt cheating on her. And his line about how Kurt could have any woman in the world but he had to take Daniel’s love really hits home and makes us feel his pain as we see him recollect his suffering and it all hits home nicely for us readers.

Kirkman is a talented writer and he’s always done a good job of building up his heroes even if some times he’s just setting them up to fall. Here I really liked that he’s making these characters more developed then their 10 second descriptions of “mean priest and nice CIA killing machine” and he’s showing us they are more interesting then just those 2 ideas and that’s a key element to making any character really.
We’re finally seeing that Daniel isn’t this perverse low life like we thought he was and Kurt isn’t some golden hearted nice guy who’s never done a mean thing in his life. I mean seriously, taking your brother’s girlfriend? That’s pretty low and I can’t really blame Daniel for hating Kurt and Amanda over this.
Kirkman has shown there’s a new depth to Daniel. A reason for his hatred and anger and it was nice to finally see that all come out, even if just for a couple of pages and it leaves a real emotional impact on the reader when you can establish a connection with the hero in some way through his own losses.
Though of course there was more to Haunt then just that one moment.

While we didn’t get much action I did appreciate seeing Haunt be all badass as he smacked around Kurt’s torturer. It was a short bit of action but just about every comic needs a little action at least to satisfy that action craving and this comic did a good job at that.
Of course the big reveal was that Kurt’s murder was an inside job. Honestly I can’t say I really pondered much over Kurt’s murder. I figured he got killed simply because he was tied to that doctor after saving those people, and since he didn’t have answers about the doctor’s notebook (which we saw someone steal in issue #1) so he got killed.I knew there was obviously a bigger mystery but at the same time no use over thinking it when all will be revealed eventually.
Still this was a really good twist and a great lead as to what’s going on for Kurt’s murder. We knew he was tied to that doctor as a reason for his murder but seeing this was really cool and a nice twist to leave us curious as to what will happen next. Also this was the first time this larger mystery actually got my attention really.

As to who our mystery man is and what the doctor was doing with those experiments is of course still up in the air. But at least the pieces are starting to fall into place, like Haunt knowing how the 2 brothers are connected and that’s why they can form Haunt so while things aren’t all revealed we are on our way.
It seems Haunt is getting it’s cast extended more. I’m not sure if Beth will be a reoccurring character or not but she obviously had some intimate connection to Kurt and I really hope to find out more about her and that she could return often to the series, maybe as Haunt’s back up or someone who keeps him in the loop of things.
Haunt doesn’t have a real cast outside of the 2 brothers and Amanda right now so it’s imperative that Kirkman add some extra characters for Haunt to interact with and to build upon fast since we’re already 3 issues in.
We did get some little hints dropped at a possible future character when the scientists here talking about Daniel and that was nice. Kirkman hasn’t been one to shy away from foreshadowing so I honesty was expecting some hints to be dropped by now and I’m sure it will lead somewhere sooner or later.

I really am loving Ottley’s work here on Haunt, but what adds to it even more is Capullo’s lay outs. Little details like Haunt reflecting on his would be killer’s knife. Some of the perspectives get really creative and it all looks cool and adds to the already gorgeous artwork.
Overall Haunt #3 is the best issue of the young series and it continues to get better and better.
The Bad: Haunt is 3 issues in and as I said we don’t have much of a supporting cast. I know this is the debut arc to set everything up and while it seems Beth may be a main character I just can’t help but wish we had more depth to the characters around Daniel and Kurt.
The art did have a few little moments. Nothing major that ruined it but still it had some weird little moments.
Overall: If you dropped Haunt after issue #1 and wrote it off as 90’s Image crap then I highly recommend you check again as this series is easily shaping up to be another winner from Kirkman. Sure it’s had some kinks to work out but as time goes on this is looking to be one of the best new comics out there and I give it a high recommendation to all.