By Todd Matthy
Ghost makes her triumphant return to comics this Wednesday. But what should you expect?
In the early to mid 90’s, Dark Horse Comics, in addition to licensed and creator-owned books, had a superhero line called “Comics Greatest World.” While Barb Wire maybe the most well known character (thanks to a movie starring Pamela Anderson), the most successful was Ghost. This week Ghost is making a comeback thanks to writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Phil Noto. Now the big question is it any good?
Set in the fictional city of Arcadia, Ghost is about Elise Cameron and her quest to solve the mystery surrounding her death. The character’s all white dress, cloak, and translucent aura made her stand out during an era of scantily clad bad girls. She would star in two monthly titles and have crossovers with Hellboy, the Shadow, and Batgirl. Ghost would also introduce fans to artist such as Adam Hughes, Terry Dodson, Ivan Reis, and John Cassaday. All of who would became top artists in the field. So how do DeConnick and Noto stack up? After reading Ghost #0, they need more time.
Reprinting a three-part story that was serialized in Dark Horse Presents 13-15, Ghost #0 reintroduces Elise to a modern audience through a former journalist named Vaughn Barnes, who works as a cameraman on the “Ghost Hunters” spoof, “Phantom Finders.” Vaughn comes to possess a mysterious box that houses the spirit of Elise, which his partner Tommy Byers intends to exploit. Unfortunately things don’t go as planned.
Ghost #0 is a prologue for the new series. It gives readers an idea of what to expect going forward. Ms. DeConnick does a good job of establishing Elise’s powers and personality. However, we get no sense as to the mystery surrounding her circumstances and why we should care. The purpose of the story is building toward the inciting incident that will drive the story of the new series.
Art wise, I don’t think there is anyone better suited to reviving Ghost than Phil Noto. When Elise shows up he makes it count. Phil does this not only through his magnificent figure work but also through her body language and facial expressions. I love how he uses the movement of Elise’s cloak to give her an otherworldly presence. That and his use of a bright shade of white allow Elise to stand out from the other characters and makes her special and above everyone else in the book, which she should be since she’s the star.
If you’re looking for your Ghost fix, pick up issue zero this Wednesday. It firmly establishes the direction of the upcoming “In the Smoke and Din” series.