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Ghost #1 Review: Hunting Demons

A few months ago, I reviewed the trade paperback of Ghost: In the Smoke and Din, a collection of the third volume of the Dark Horse character. This was a very enjoyable book with Kelly Sue DeConnick’s fast-moving plot and strong characterization, along with Phil Noto’s exceptional art. Ghost is back and although Noto is no longer on the art, DeConnick’s still writing the series (Chris Sebela co-writes this issue), and the first issue is a good start.   Although this is volume four of Ghost, it picks up after the end of Ghost: In the Smoke and Din. In that story, Ghost started to realize that she was murdered journalist Elisa Cameron, though much of her memory is still lost. The devil, before Ghost can remove him from the body of the mayor, releases demons on the earth. In Ghost #1, we see Ghost, along with her friends Vaughn Barnes and Tommy Byers, going after the demons.  

  At first, this issue seems like it’s simply going to be about Ghost taking down demons, as it begins with her battling one on the subway. In the process, the demon’s human host dies. Elisa thinks she knows him, though cannot remember why. This man, named James Barrow, strikes a chord in Elisa. She feels guilty for failing to keep him alive and also curious about how she knows him. She feels like if she can find the answer to this, perhaps some of the other mysteries in her memory will become clearer.   This emotional through-line in the issue is very effective. Elisa feels compelled to recover her former memory, if not her identity, though she feels totally unconnected to what she has recovered so far. At one point, she’s reading her old blog and her thoughts are “I’m trying to reconstruct my identity like some kind of Dr. Frankenstein… Building a human out of scraps.” It makes this issue more engaging for Elisa to have a personal journey and for readers to be included in it.  

By the end of the issue, she has met a demon who is tired of his host body and wants to strike a deal. If Ghost can find him a younger host, he will reveal all of the details behind the devil’s plan as well as how she knows James Barrow. Curious though wary, Ghost decides to agree to the deal. It will be interesting how this plays out. Certainly, it can’t be as simple as it sounds.   With Phil Noto not on this book, the art is handled in this issue by Ryan Sook (X-Factor, The Spectre). Though his line work isn’t that of Noto, Sook does very good work here. While Noto’s version (which wasn’t the first) of Ghost made her into a gorgeous bombshell, Sook’s Elisa is still very attractive, though smaller in stature. Her hair is shorter, and she almost has a retro-Victorian look to her. I’m glad Sook put his own spin to the character. Plus, the two demons he draws are memorably grotesque and creepy.  

Although there are no scenes with the devil, the mayor or his associate, Dr. October, the fights between Ghost and the demons still give the issue a sense of conflict. I would imagine that the “big bads” will soon show themselves, giving the new volume of Ghost a plotline larger than just demon hunting. So far, though, DeConnick has kept the series unpredictable, so I’m eager to see where she takes the story.
  • Strong characterization from DeConnick and Sebela
  • Emotional component to issue beyond demon fights
  • Sook's art holds his own
  • No indication yet where the devil is lurking
  • While Sook is quite good, I miss Phil Noto's artwork


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