Title: Ghoul Squad #1
Writer: Brandon Rhiness
Pencils & Inks: Carlos Trigo
Colors: Nick O’Gorman
Letters: Chris Johnson
Publisher: The Higher Universe
Ghoul Squad #1 Plot Synopsis:
A pompous, insane, jackass of a vampire puts together a team of “monsters” and sets up shop in Transylvania to fight supernatural evil. In this first issue, the Ghoul Squad matches their wits against a werewolf.
Ghoul Squad #1Comic-Book Preview:
Comic-Book Review: Ghoul Squad #1:
In today’s comics landscape, it can sometimes be difficult to find a book that’s willing to let itself and its readers just have a good time. This is an era of complex anti-heroes and event storylines, and that’s all well and good. But every once in a while, we need a book like Ghoul Squad to come along and remind us all that sometimes simple is better.
The story is straightforward, and casually tongue-in-cheek. Writer Brandon Rhiness brings together a rogues’ gallery of legendary horror villain icons – a witch, a Frankenstein’s monster, and a Brazilian Hellbat – under the command of a vampire named Mr. Varney, a proud fellow who’s nursing a centuries-long grudge against a much more famous bloodsucker.
Varney’s goal? To use the team’s combined ‘might’, as it were, to prove that supernatural folks like them aren’t as evil as they’re being made out to be. Unfortunately, the folks under his command are less than thoroughly motivated by his goal and gratuitous speechifying… but they are motivated by his money. So, after some squabbling and grumbling, they take on his first mission: to track down and neutralize a werewolf terrorizing a nearby Transylvanian town. Needless to say, nothing goes quite according to plan – and for the reader, that’s a good thing.
What really works here is Rhiness’ sharp, clever writing. The premise is nothing earth-shattering, but the execution takes things up a notch. The characters pop off the page, embodying archetypes we’ve seen before but with the promise of depth that makes them unique. A tiny suspension of disbelief is all it takes to be swept up in the fun narrative of misunderstood monsters looking to improve their lot in the collective consciousness. The presentation style and witticism-peppered writing call to mind Brian Clevinger’s excellent Atomic Robo series, another example of genre subversion that takes a genuine joy in telling a comic-book story.
This first installment does a great job of setting up our ragtag cast of characters and giving us an idea of what they look like in action. Carlos Trigo’s art is just this side of whimsical, grounding the story as a whole in reality while having some real fun with character designs and expressions. His work makes it easy and inviting to fall into the world on the page, and his inventive approach to character design in particular is a joy to look at.
Ghoul Squad #1 is a great reminder to readers and creators alike that it’s not necessary to have an enormous budget, overly complex storylines, and overdone anti-heroes in order to tell a good story. It’s a refreshing break from the norm, and one whose second installment I’m looking forward to reading.
Ghoul Squad #1 is available for FREE here:
Brandon Rhiness’s comic-book: Misfits issues #1-3 are available to buy here: