Review: Ghost #1

The new ongoing series of the book that was introduced in the 90’s, Ghost has a very interesting premise.  Luckily for those who haven’t had any exposure to the series such as myself, this issue gives a brief synopsis before diving into this first issue: A journalist named Elisa found out that the mayor of Chicago was an extra-dimensional demon who used a crystal-powered box to basically leave his corrupt cronies with lots of power throughout the city.  The mayor of Chicago then sent Elisa to a dimension where other demons wait to conquer the earth.  However, two paranormal investigators named Vaughn and Tommy intervene by accidentally using the crystal-powered box to take Elisa back.  This event turned her into Ghost, who is now trapped between the human world and the hell-like dimension from which she was saved.  She was able to force the demon out of the mayor, but now it resides in the body of Doctor October. It isn’t long before we’re introduced to Ghost, who we see smashing through the glass of a train window, fighting a man who’s been possessed by a demon.  Ghost mentions that she’s been tracking him down for three weeks.  She’s able to rid the demon out of this man, but it wasn’t that simple.  The man actually ends up dying, and he knows Elisa.  She can’t quite remember who he is at first, but I thought it was interesting how they played on the fact that while you can call her a superhero, she can’t save everyone.  She saved the man from this demon, but he ended up dying anyway.

Ghost #1 CoverWe learn later that Elisa, Vaughn, and Tommy have been tracking down the demons that are responsible for making Elisa Ghost.  There are thirty-two demons in the city, and so far they’ve taken down seven.  She also finds the name of the man who died after she ousted the demon: James Barrow.  The majority of the rest of this issue involves Ghost trying to find out more about James Barrow.  She says “I can’t change who we are.  But I can find out who we were.”  Let’s just say there’s definitely more to this guy than Elisa originally thought, and she’s going to stir up the underworld quite a bit on her journey.  There’s also a serial killer called The White City Butcher going around, I’m intrigued as to how he will play into the story.  Ghost is also on the news where they call her the ‘Lady in White,’ so it should be interesting to see if people start to believe in her existence.  Previous to the photo they have of her, she was more or less dismissed as an urban legend.

I think this is a solid start to an already noteworthy series.  There were a few things that stuck out negatively to me, however.  First, the dialogue is painfully cheesy at some points, like when Tommy and Vaughn are arguing about blogging.  Also, these supporting characters didn’t stand out to me as memorable.  Tommy and Vaughn just seem to kind of be there; Ghost even dismisses Vaughn when she’s chasing one of the demons towards the end.  Other than that though, I felt like the writing was strong and had me instantly wanting more, I’m looking forward to the next issue.

I enjoyed Ryan Sook’s art on this book quite a bit.  It’s very clean and detailed, but still a bit off-the-wall and imaginative; I feel like it fits the story perfectly.  The coloring by Dave McCaig brings the city and the disturbing demons to life as well.  I feel like he captured Elisa/Ghost’s personality very well in her expressions.  Although I don’t know a ton about her character, she’s written as very strong and capable of dealing with her situation and seems to have a rather stoic personality.

Overall, the best way I can describe this book is pretty much genre-defying.  For me, the musical equivalent would be a band like Faith No More.  It’s clearly a supernatural book, but Ghost is arguably a superhero, there’s clearly going to be drama elements, mystery elements, etc.  That’s one of the most enjoyable things about this book, just how refreshing it was to read.  Definitely check this one out if you’re a fan of any or all the genres that it features.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick and Chris Sebela Artist: Ryan Sook Colorist: Dave McCaig Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 12/18/13