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In comics these days, we’re generally used to seeing arcs last four or five issues, for good or bad. That’s why Ghost #3, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Chris Sebela with art by Geraldo Borges, is a surprise because it already wraps up a number of elements that have been established in the first two issues. The issue itself is pretty compelling and suspenseful, and though the art isn’t quite as good as previous issues, the story is strong enough to make it work.
Ghost is a reincarnated version of reporter Elisa Cameron with supernatural powers and not much memory of her old life. She’s made a begrudging agreement with a demon named Beleth, who tells Ghost that he will reveal elements of her past as well as the Devil’s plan in Chicago if Ghost finds him a human host body. Meanwhile, Ghost’s human allies, Tommy and Sloane investigate the serial killer known as the White City Butcher. These parallel stories don’t really intersect until the end of issue #3, but there is a clever move by DeConnick and Sebela (which I won’t spoil) that links the two threads.
Beleth is an interesting character who has been injected into the first three issues of the new volume of the series. His intentions are strictly selfish, which he freely admits, but the information he provides to Ghost about Elisa’s past is somewhat underwhelming. The great answers that he provides more or less boil down to coincidence and revenge. Ghost’s other human partner, Vaughn, has figured out something about Beleth, and though that information is rather unclear and seemingly unexciting, it does mean that Ghost’s mistrust of Beleth is well placed.
Consequently, Ghost fulfills her end of their bargin – but with a catch. The twist means that we probably won’t see Beleth again for a while, but I think it would be useful to bring him back later, especially since he will be pretty unhappy with Ghost when he next meets her. The other storyline has an interesting set-up, even though introducing a serial killer into a supernatural mystery-adventure might seem unusual at first. However, a theme that DeConnick and Sebela develops in this issue that there are many different types of monsters and not all of them look like demons.
At the same time, the White City Butcher storyline more or less concludes in this issue without really getting explored very much. The character only appears in two issues and while we learn how he gains access to his victims’ homes, we don’t learn much about the character. He has some “crazy” dialog in issue #3, but I thought that the set-up of the character in issue #2 warranted further exploration, rather than ended that storyline one issue later.
As I mentioned earlier, Geraldo Borges art doesn’t really stand out. That may be partially unfair because he follows a pair of fantastic artists who’ve worked on the series. The great Phil Noto drew the previous volume of Ghost and the excellent Ryan Sook illustrated the first two issues of the current volume. The covers by Terry Dodson (with colors by his wife, Rachel) are outstanding. By contrast, Borges art is competent but less exciting. I will give him points for designing a pretty unpleasant-looking demon who fights Ghost at the start of the issue.
Ghost has so far been a pleasant surprise for me. It has featured entertaining but unpredictable stories and mostly outstanding art. A lot of credit goes to DeConnick who has been involved in writing the last and current volume. There are insignias on the series that mark it as part of “Project Black Sky,” Dark Horse’s superhero initiative. I hope this Ghost is not forced to crossover with some of Dark Horse’s other hero comics because I think she fits very well in her supernatural world.