By: Kelly Sue DeConnick & Christopher Sebela (story), Ryan Sook (art), Dave McCaig (colors)
The Story: It takes a ghost to scare the crap out of a demon.
The Review: Ever since I dropped Justice League Dark, I’ve been looking for another, more urban, supernatural series. Coffin Hill isn’t really cutting it at the moment, and although Fatale is brilliant, it doesn’t put too much weight on its occult elements. I’m looking for a series that can convince me there’s a whole other world hidden in plain sight right before us, that even in the least natural setting, the supernatural can still exist.
In this respect, Ghost fits the bill, sort of. Truth be told, I was drawn more to the creative team than the premise, which has obvious similarities to Angel (small band of do-gooders led by otherworldly figure), Grimm (hunting creatures disguised as humans), and especially Special Unit 2 (Chicago setting). With so much in common with other series, Ghost needs to work that much harder to set itself apart, and this issue doesn’t quite do so.
Speaking as someone completely new to the series, I believe DeConnick-Sebela depend a bit too much on readers already having some experience with the storyline from the Ghost mini that came out some months ago. It doesn’t take you too long to get a sense of who the players are and what they’re doing, but these are clearly things that have been broken in already. It makes you feel like the new guy in the break room, trying to make sense of what your co-workers are talking about.
Maybe that’s why you come away from the issue feeling a bit distant from the characters. To a certain extent, Elisa, Vaughn, Tommy, and Sloane are already familiar with each other’s ways and their relationships are mostly formed. They’re focused on dealing with the story’s events, which gives us few opportunities to get a sense of their personalities. It doesn’t help that DeConnick-Sebela take a very natural approach to our cast; these aren’t characters who will fly off the handle or engage in streams of banter. That makes them credible, if a little lifeless.
Fortunately, about halfway through the issue, our star takes the issue in hand and drives some life into it. It’s not until we get to the car chase sequence, where she slips into some stranger’s sedan, ordering him to tail a demon on the run, that Ghost reveals its potential appeal. Naturally panicked when she orders the drafted chauffer to speed through a solid wedge of traffic, she calmly tells him, “I got you. I’m a ghost. We do this all the time.” It doesn’t exactly make Elisa lovable, but that little bit of wryness makes her a protagonist worth following.
At this point, you can’t say the same for the plot, which doesn’t quite feel fully thought-out. Demons secretly taking possession of various humans, I can take. But why in Chicago? What’s the long-term plan here? Funny, how the real-world setting is the most far-fetched part of all this, but it’s a fair question, no? The good thing is DeConnick-Sebela seem ready to answer by the end of the issue, when Elisa makes a highly imprudent deal with a weasely demon in exchange for more information. Surely she doesn’t actually believe all he wants is to get a new body and get out of town, right? And do what, exactly? Start a new life in San Francisco, like all the other cool comic book characters?
DeConnick-Sebela don’t provide the most scintillating script, but fortunately, they have a superstar artist to spackle over some of its defects. Doing interiors, Sook necessarily has to scale back the luscious depth that characterizes his superstar covers, but even at this lower level of detail, the art is still gorgeous. While the characters don’t display much personality, Sook captures every bit of it in the nuances of their facial expressions, and he proves just as attentive to the few action sequences. That car chase has a wonderful energy to it, both chaotic and controlled as Elisa confidently steers her way through the active streets.
Conclusion: The art, unsurprisingly, beats the script by some ways, but there’s enough solid craft and material here to recommend the series, especially for supernatural buffs.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: – Love the reference to the Golden Apple, where all the food comes in one delicious color: brown.
– Incidentally, I accidentally left this issue on the bus this morning after spending the ride outlining the review. Yeah, I may be awesome.