Publisher: Afterlight Comics
Writer: Joseph Oliveira
Artist: Anabela Turlione
Letterer: Justin Birch
Release Date: 25th August 2017 (London Super Comic Con)
After a strong opening issue that I referred to as “a heady blend of Ghostbusters and Jurassic Park” when I reviewed it earlier this year, the second chapter of Joseph Oliveira and Anabela Turlione’s Ghost Island is set to be launched at this weekend’s London Super Comic Con.
The first issue saw a group of unrelated individuals – including troubled psychic Josh Evans – summoned to a mysterious island by a wealthy entrepreneur to serve as guinea pigs for his ghost-filled theme park. This second installment sees the group reeling as belligerent father Mason tries to track down his missing son and the team, including Josh, being shown the first “exhibit” of the island – an exhibit featuring a brutal, murdering ex-butcher.
Oliveira does a solid job of keeping the different plot threads moving forwards, with Josh’s painful backstory, the mysteries of the island and the immediacy of young Billy’s disappearance all intertwining smoothly throughout the course of the issue. The horror aspects of the flashback/séance sequence are executed beautifully, providing the unquestioned highlight of the issue, much like the séance in issue one, and it’s in these moments where the creative team truly shine.
There’s an almost intentional sterility to the artwork of Turlione, and while her heavily shaded, stylised artwork works incredibly well during the supernatural parts of the issue, there are other moments where the approach actually detracts from the tension, with unnaturally clean, blank surfaces and some oddly sanitised blood and gore.
As impressive as the overall premise undoubtedly is, the one thing that’s holding the series back just a little to this point is the dialogue, which is fairly choppy at times, with awkward turns of phrase and several typos along the way that really distract from the reader’s immersion in the issue. The ideas are clearly there, but the execution is slightly little lacking for the time being, with a lot of unnecessary exposition and characters frequently forced to explain their motives and thoughts out loud. It’s nothing a good editor couldn’t fix, and as I said, the overall story is a definite winner.
Ultimately then, the good still outweighs the bad, and with a genuinely haunting flashback scene featuring the lumbering butcher exacting revenge on his unfaithful spouse, Ghost Island continues to display a real abundance of potential. And with just a little sanding down of the rough edges, this series could rapidly evolve into something truly special.
If you’re at London Super Comic Con this weekend, you can pick up a copy of Ghost Island #2 from the creators on the lower deck at Table 80 in Artist Alley. And if not, I’m sure the second issue will be available on the Ghost Island Online Store shortly after the con.