Indie Comic Review: Ghost #1

Let’s get one thing straight. This is not a first issue. Last month Dark Horse published issue #0 of the series which collected the Ghost stories which previously appeared in several issues of Dark Horse Presents. This follows a pattern by Dark Horse of giving books a try-out in DHP, collecting the stories as zero-issue and then releasing a “first” issue which follows directly from the DHP stories. However, most people view zero issues as “add-ons” or unnecessary for the story (see all of what DC just did with their Zero Month). So, instead of starting with a zero issue, they will pick up the cover with a #1 on it and then decide from there if they want to go back and read the zero issue.

Unfortunately, Dark Horse treats all these issue #1′s as second issues, so people are missing out on the opening act of the story. I get that Dark Horse is worried about missing out on potential sales by telling people that the “first issue” of a series reprints older material. But giving us a #1 that is not a beginning is a bit disingenuous as well. I would suggest a double-sized first issue which contains the previously published material as well as the new content. That way everyone wins and no one is left out.

It would be a shame if someone missed out on Ghost, because this is one great comic!

The enigmatic Ghost, along with paranormal investigators Tommy and Vaughn, takes to the streets of Chicago in search of the crystal-powered machine that first conjured her, hoping to find clues to her mysterious past life. But the machine’s original owners have a deadly agenda of their own. Picking up right where Ghost #0 left off, Ghost #1 continues Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel) and Phil Noto’s (Angel & Faith) reimagining of Dark Horse’s greatest heroine!

The “first” issue of Ghost adds layers and dimensions to the story which were missing in the zero issue.  First and foremost, Ghost speaks!  This opens the reader to an entire point of view which was missing in the previous issue.  Most interesting, it does not give the reader much more information about the mysterious figure.  But it does let the reader know that she does not know much more about the situation than anyone else.

There are some interesting tidbits dropped in the book surrounding Ghost’s identity.   Most of these are done in a clever manner, including a particularly neat moment involving a cup of coffee and a pack of sweetener.  It is moments like that which move the plot forward but also reveal character.  Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick is knocking it out of the park with those quiet moments.   She realizes that the real power of ghost stories is in the telling , not in the reveal.  As such, she is reveling in the telling of the story and the layering of the details and is avoiding giving the reader too much too soon.

One niggling plot point from the zero issue, the mysterious box which brought Ghost into our world, was expanded upon in this issue.  DeConnick manages to make the box make sense in the context of the story and uses it as a device for revealing additional plot points and character traits.  Much like a treasure hunt, there are  more mysteries to discover.

Phil Noto’s work is just as strong in this issue as before.  His angular looks for the normal humans contrasts with the graceful lines of Ghost.   Add to that his mastery of body language, and you have a book which could practically be read simply by looking at the pictures.

Ghost #1 is available now.  But, be sure to pick up issue #0 as well so you have the whole story!

Check out a 6 page preview (that’s 25% of the book!) here.

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