Ghost #1 (Dark Horse)

Personality goes a long way in resurrecting the appeal of Dark Horse’s long dormant undead superheroine of sorts, now brought back to life by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Noto.

 

24 pgs. full color; $2.99
(W: Kelly Sue DeConnick; A: Phil Noto)
 
Do you ever get frustrated with those cable shows where people (usually guys) claim to be investigating the presence of spirits in a series of houses and historic places, yet they never seem to find anything? Ghost provides a pleasant contrast—before this series begins, two bumbling “Phantom Finders,” with the aid of a stolen device (a “miracle cube”), have managed to summon up a perceptible ghost. They believe her to be Chicago’s legendary “Resurrection Mary,” a girl who was killed by a hit and run driver, and who now appears to passersby in a long white dress, yet disappears when they try to see her more closely). What’s more, this ghost managed to become corporeal and kill two other guys who were trying to get the device back. The result is that she, and the Phantom Finders Tommy Byers and Vaughan Barnes, have had to go on the lam, a flight that doubles as a question to discover who Ghost really is.
 
I’m new to Ghost (it began publication in 1993, and is returning after a decade-plus hiatus) and I had to do a big of homework to figure out what was going on. However, it looks to be an interesting series, mainly because of the personality of the titular character, who also narrates the parts of the story in which she appears (judging from this issue, anyway). To paraphrase an old catchphrase formerly applied to Mother Nature, Ghost is here and boy is she pissed! The issue begins with a rumination on the birth of Athena from Athena’s point of view, along with the observation that no one has been interested in hearing about what it felt like to spring fully-grown and fully-armed from some dude’s forehead. In her case, Ghost was brought into the world you and I live in by the Phantom Finders and a miraculous cube that they really don’t know how to control, and she’s not entirely pleased about it.
 
There’s another story arc beginning in this issue, about a sadistic researcher (think lots of sharp objects and a guy strapped to a chair and wearing a ball gag). I’m guessing the guy in the chair stole the miraculous cube and sold it to the Phantom Finders. There’s also a third arc involving Caroline, a friend of Vaughan, who’s married to the mayor (of Chicago? Your guess is as good as mine). Despite being pretty much at sea with this issue, I’m definitely coming back to see where it goes. It’s not that often that you get a strong female lead like Ghost, and I’m a sucker for identity quests, so how could I not want to know what happens next?
 
Phil Noto’s art is refreshing in its straightforwardness—I never have a feeling that he’s trying to show off or overpower the story, yet he captures the feel of Chicago, delineates the personalities of the major characters, and gets a little imaginative with the supernatural aspects of the story. You can see a preview of Ghost #1 here: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=13888  | Sarah Boslaugh

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