Review: GHOST #1

GHOST #1
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Phil Noto
Release Date: October 24, 2012

From a magic box comes a mystery spirit! Reality TV stars Vaughn Barnes and Tommy Byers sought to capture Chicago’s famous Resurrection Mary on video, but wound up with the enigmatic woman known as Ghost instead. Ripped from… somewhere, Ghost has no memory of her previous life, where she came from, or how she can levitate, become incorporeal, or have the strength to rip out a man’s heart when he threatens her. Now Vaughn, Tommy and their enigmatic visitor are seeking answers to Ghost’s very existence, and the origin of the box that brought her to life — who wants it, and what will they do to get it?

DeConnick continues the story begun in last month’s Ghost #0, but in stronger form — by shifting narrative duties to the title character herself. Ghost is a woman who doesn’t even know herself, a fact that elevates this tale from standard mystery yarn to full-on identity crisis. Yet this spectral enigma is no damsel in distress, but a determined woman (perhaps with significant anger issues) pushing forward her own agenda with would-be rescuers in her wake.  Inasmuch as DeConnick delivers a remarkably well-rounded depiction of a character that knows as much about herself as we readers do, the same can’t be said for other actors throughout the issue. Vaughn and Tommy ironically seem much more one-dimensional than their traveling companion, so much so that I had a little trouble telling the two men apart from scene to scene. That said, as a true first issue, Ghost #1 focuses its attention precisely where it should: hooking the reader into the mystery of the lead character and the threat she faces. In that regard, DeConnick delivers in spades.

Noto’s exquisite pencils throughout render an unquestionably beautiful woman without even a hint of objectification —no easy task given the character’s slightly more buxom artistic origin in the early 1990s. The fine line and shadow combinations Noto has become renown for over the years serves Ghost well, rendering a severity to her character without resorting to a hardening of expression. Capturing a wide range of facial emotion and body language that complements DeConnick’s subtle narrative style, Noto’s pencils may at times appear simplistic, but they are deceptively so — particularly on the last full, hauntingly beautiful page of the issue. Ever crisp and clean, but no less emotionally charged, his controlled sketch style and muted color palette set a remarkable tone for the four-part series. I’ll definitely be back for more next month.

Verdict: 8.0/10

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