Ghost Island #1: The Invitation (created and written by Joseph Oliveira) is a supernatural thriller about a wealthy man continuing his father’s work in opening an island filled with imprisoned ghosts. The concept takes Jurassic Park just a few steps further (in the direction of Thir13en Ghosts), but still draws upon the familiarity of having a group of experts being called to the island to help finalize the theme park before opening.
The main character from this bunch is Joshua Evans, who the reader is introduced to in the first section of the comic. He is in the middle of conducting a séance, where he is calling upon the spirit of a young boy who has tragically died. Josh discovers something sinister about the boy’s death, and the reader is left with the impression that this happens more often than not.
Once home, we discover Josh is deep in debt. He receives a mysterious invitation (in the vain of House on Haunted Hill) to join the inviter to a spiritual reading. He will be paid for his time and taken on a boat to the venue. Creepy, indeed, but the money tempts Josh enough to depart on the boat with others, some of whom he knows, and some who seem as equally unenthused about their trip.
While the storyline is great, the art (Anabela Turlione) absolutely steals the show in this comic. Heavy blacks, dark panels, and perfectly shadowed characters set the scene for plenty of doom and gloom. Nothing was held back in the art, and it feels natural as the characters leap off the page, some with sinister intentions. The island itself looms on the page, as if the reader is heading there with the characters. Simply put, the art is beautiful and stunning.
Some of the story does feel a bit redone from other works; however, it does have enough of a twist to make it unique. The art drives the reader to keep turning the pages, while the story draws the reader in. By the end of the comic, I was disappointed to not find additional content for me to explore, despite it being a bit lengthier than most comics (44 pages). I still wanted more. The plans (per the Ghost Island website) are to make this comic into five parts, with part two being released in 2017. I believe a lot of readers – like myself – will find themselves anxious to get their hands on part two as soon as possible.