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Ghost Volume 1: In The Smoke And Din Graphic Novel Review

3 min read
Ghost - In The Smoke And Din
Ghost – In The Smoke And Din

Ghost lives again!

Creative Staff
Story: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art: Phil Noto
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft

What They Say
One warm night in Chicago’s Resurrection Cemetery, paranormal investigators Vaughn and Tommy accidentally summon a beautiful transparent woman who may or may not be the legendary apparition Resurrection Mary. The search for her true identity uncovers a dark, hidden history of the city and a deadly alliance between political corruption and demonic science! In the middle of it all stands Ghost, a woman trapped between two worlds who is hell bent on avenging her own death!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Elisa Cameron was an old-school reporter, the kind that cared about truth and justice and being the voice for the voiceless. In the midst of an investigation into the disappearance of thirty people in the Chicago area, she falls victim to the same monster she was hunting. Her ghost is brought back by Tommy Byers, an amateur ghost hunter, and his partner, a retired reporter named Vaughn Barnes. Tommy bought a piece of stolen experimental equipment in the hopes that he could use it to summon the woman in white known as Resurrection Mary, but instead summons Elisa. Together the three go on the run, evading the people that want back the stolen equipment, and trying to put together the missing pieces of Elisa’s memory. Along the way they discover mad doctors and demons and an evil greater than anyone knew at the heart of the Windy City.

Ghost originally appeared in the early 90s during the relatively short-lived Dark Horse Heroes brand. She proved to be one of, if not the most, enduring characters from that line and now she’s back with new life thanks to Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Noto. This is actually a reboot, and not a continuation of her previous title, and it works better for that. While the old title was strong, DeConnick and Noto make several smart decisions that revitalize the character and make her work better in 2012.

First, the story is now set in Chicago and not the fictional city of Arcadia. While I’m not against the creation of fictional metropolises in comics, I do feel like it doesn’t work as well when the creators take a grounded approach to the story, which DeConnick and Noto do here.

Second, the story has a greater focus than the original series. There’s a stronger sense of mystery that surrounds Ghost and the story wisely gets past the revenge angle in this volume and instead sets up a greater mission for Ghost and her compatriots (capturing the thirty-two demons that have been unleashed into the city). While revenge stories are great fun (one of my all-time favorite stories is The Count of Monte Cristo), they aren’t sustainable for long-form tales such as comics.

Finally, the creators ditch the cheesecake that was always one of the hallmarks of the original series. The original version of Ghost had her dressed in tight, white pants, a white Emma Frost-style bustier, and a white hood and cape. Noto changed that and draws her wearing a loose white dress complete with cape and hood. She still looks very good, but the costume redesign looks more ethereal and ghostly than the original.

In Summary
Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Noto have rebooted and revitalized one of Dark Horse’s most successful superheroes. They’ve done a great job of updating the character while keeping what made her work so well. The plot is tight, the sense of mystery strong, and the artwork great. Fans of Ghost should be happy with this reboot and hopefully this will bring in new readers as well. Highly Recommended.

Content Grade: A+
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A

Age Rating: N/A
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: August 6, 2013
MSRP: $14.99

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