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‘Night of The Ghoul #1-6’ (review)

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Francesco Francavilla
Published by ComiXology Originals/
Dark Horse Comics


Stories that revolve around parents and their children, the scars parents carry, and how they hand down those same scars to their children, are a dime a dozen. I am willing to bet that three quarters of Stephen King books revolve around those same themes.

To its credit, Night of The Ghoul delivers on those themes but strives to do it on its own terms.

Night of The Ghoul centers around a movie of the same name thought to be long lost in a fire.  Forest Inman, a filmmaker who never quite made it, finds a portion of the film. This sets him on a hunt in which he discovers the original director T. F. Merit living in a nursing home which has its own mysteries.

On this mission he has dragged along his son, Orson, who is less than eager but wants to be around his dad.

Running parallel to that mystery, we get to read the original film. A tale that may or may not be true. A group of soldiers come upon a mysterious town, littered with victims. But victims of what?

Did one of the soldiers bring back a dark threat from overseas?

This portion of the story unfolds carefully, but filled with dread.

While that unfolds, T.F. Merit shares what he remembers.

How both stories run parallel, yet tie back in together, is deftly handled. The story through six chapters, generally stays dense and full of dread. However, the last chapter feels a bit rushed. Most of the story to that point has relied on a sense of intimacy to create dread and fear in the reader. The conclusion rushes a bunch of elements to provide more explanation than the story needed.

To Scott Snyder’s credit, the story stays mostly tense and propulsive. It manages to almost avoid over explaining the Ghoul. But the human drama lies in the original film director, T.F. Merit, confronting how war changed his Dad, in ways that are unexpected and full of horror.  The push pull between Forest and Orson creates a sad mirror image.  I wish they had expanded on that a bit more.

All the tension, dread, and mood of this series isn’t just about the characters and how they were scripted. Francesco Francavilla’s art is what makes a large part of these six chapters downright unnerving at times. The use of close ups on some characters creates a heightened tension. The way his art fills in every empty corridor with fear.

With Francavilla, comics can be scary.

Night of The Ghoul, despite an ending that feels a bit rushed, is worth the read. I definitely will pop it back open again during this Halloween season.


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