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Brody’s Ghost is a manga inspired teen to young adult graphic
novel published by Dark Horse Books and written and drawn by creator Mark
Crilley. The series is set in the not so distant future and has a boarder-line
apocalyptic feel to it. Our main character Brody wakes up one day in his dump
of an apartment and heads out to the streets to beg for money while playing his
guitar. After a while he notices a girl staring at him from a parked van. Brody
being the goof ball that he is decides that it’s a staring competition and
returns the glare. After a while the girl looks away and Brody has his first
and only victory of the day.
The girl, Talia, then floats over to Brody and hovers above him. Brody of course can’t process what he’s seeing and sits fearful of the spirit in front of him. Talia takes off only to reappear later on in Brody’s life to get him fired from one of his many jobs. Talia asks Brody for his help in finding and stopping a killer so that she can get into Heaven, but first she needs to get Brody in shape for the task at hand.
The story is pretty goofy at times, but then it’s laced with these real world themes like: depression, relationships and death. It’s not your average murder mystery transported into another genre. It has a great mixture of different elements. Obviously what sets it apart the most is the ghost world aspect of it, but the real hook becomes Brody as a person trying to get by in the world after having his heart broken and no reason to keep going. Crilley does a great job of making Brody like-able with some aspects of his personality, but real in the fact that not everything he says or does is enjoyable. Talia in a bit underdeveloped in this first book, partially due to the mystery surrounding why she’s been blocked from Heaven; but also in the fact that she only shows up to drive the plot forward.
The art is solid and enjoyable. If you’re not a fan of manga inspired art then this is obviously not for you. If you like manga and want a story-telling style that you’re more familiar with then you’ll dig Brody’s Ghost. Crilley has a great balance of details throughout the book. The world is trashed and very detailed, but not to the point where it makes the page cluttered or hard to look upon. The character design is also rich with detail, but maintains a very simple look. Crilley also has some great full page splashes and is very consistent with proportions and design throughout the book.
If you’re a manga fan this is a no brainer to pick up and frankly if you haven’t bought it then do so, but I think that this book is capable of reaching non-manga readers. It has an interesting story with a sci-fi twist to it, but also a lot of heart and humanized characters to boot. The first two volumes are out now and I’m looking forward to getting the second volume of the six book series.
Overall Score – 8.5/10
*Good for New Readers and Manga Fans*