By: Kelly Sue DeConnick & Christopher Sebela (story), Ryan Sook & Drew Johnson (pencils), Andy Owens (inks), Dave McCaig (colors)

The Story: Finally, we learn who keeps drinking all the milk in the house and leaving the carton.

The Review: Reading this issue, it occurred to me that DeConnick isn’t very focused on making her various titles very new reader-friendly.  The most recent Captain Marvel #1 pretty much dropped us in at a rather uncertain point in the heroine’s life and did very little to catch you up to speed on what was happening.  At least Ghost comes with recap pages that give you some idea of where things stand in Elisa’s life.

But that’s not enough to excuse DeConnick (or Sebela) from the hard work of properly ingratiating the characters or giving us a clearer idea of who they are, what they do, how they’re related to our protagonist.  A few times, you get the distinct sense that they’re making inside references to events that preceded this series, events which anyone who didn’t actually read the Ghost mini wouldn’t be privy to.  Consider Vaughn half-joking to Caroline that he “half-saved” her life, to which she responds, a bit coldly, “You think that’s funny?”

“No.  No, I do not,” he immediately responds.

It’s a frustrating moment because there’s obviously something interesting going on in that exchange, but unless we get a flashback of what it is, we’re not likely to ever know.

This wouldn’t be such a big deal if the present action could keep us occupied, but for a story essentially about a supernatural war for the soul of Chicago, it’s a bit boring.  Here you have genuine demons taking over various bodies in the city, but for what?  At a gathering of such fell creatures, they gleefully recount their various white-collar crimes: “We withdrew funding last week.  It was cute watching them try not to beg.”

“We’ve got shell companies inside shell companies.”

“She’s letting me write my own copy, even giving me a prime spot to film when it all goes down.”

Beleth claims that there is a “Big Plan” at the end of all this, “something to do with…sustainability.”  Naturally, you take this to mean a sustainable source of host bodies for the demons.  After all, if any of them are like Beleth, Earth is a much more attractive home than Hell; compared to that “horror show,” a “lifetime on a beach somewhere” sounds pretty good.

Sadly enough, despite being surrounded by an assortment of hell-fiends, none prove to be very engaging adversaries, especially since Elisa almost singlehandedly slaughters them all with seemingly little effort.  More compelling is the continuing murder spree by the White City Butcher, who has the ability to go in and out of people’s homes, slaying them without leaving behind a trace.  This baffles Tommy and Sloane, despite the fact that they live with someone who literally calls herself and has all the powers of a ghost.

Let’s be honest here; for a lot of people, Sook’s art is the main pull for this title, and once he goes, I imagine quite a few people will follow unless DeConnick-Sebela’s scripting shapes up.  And the departure may come sooner than you think.  Already, the notoriously slow-working Sook needs back-up on art duties, which is sort of a red flag for the second issue.  At least Johnson is a good choice for an assist; with Owens’ inking and McCaig’s rich, velvety satiny colors giving the issue consistency, Johnson’s slightly lighter, less dramatic pencils look very much at home with Sook’s.

Conclusion: The story is constructed too firmly around past events of which we have little knowledge, yet still seems rickety in what it currently has to offer.

Grade: B-

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – Speaking from personal experience, nine times out of ten, you can break into someone’s house simply by opening a window or door.