Saturday, May 31, 2014

CBR Ghost and The Shadow


Since Dark Horse hasn't released a new volume of the new rebooted Ghost series, let's have a look back at yet another past crossover!

Like this series? Check out these following Ghost-related reviews:

Comic title: Ghost and The Shadow 
Art by H.M. Baker & Bernard Kolle
Story by Doug Moench 

Published by Dark Horse Comics
From 1995
Lineup Ghost series/The Shadow
Format: One-shot Ghost and The Shadow issue special.

Long before Ghost's crossover with Hellboy and Batgirl, the series had its first crossover with a well established comic book figure in 1995 in the form of a one-shot.

Remember Ghost, by the by?

When young reporter Elisa Cameron was killed in mysterious circumstances, she came back from the dead as an immaterial spectral figure. Now Elisa tracks down killer and criminals, armed with a pair of automatic guns. She just recently found back some of her memories and was reunited with her sister Margo.

The Shadow is a classic vintage comic book figure who has been in the hands of several authors and publishers over the decades. In the past The Shadow already experienced several crossovers with the likes of Batman and The Avenger (and even an unnamed guest appearance in the cult classic The Rocketeer to avoid copyright issues).

This  1995 one-shot was created by Doug Moench & H.M Baker. Writer Doug Moench was actually already familiar with old school pulp figures, having written Doc Savage back in the 70s, but this was is first time on either characters.

This crossover tale "Ghost and The Shadow" was actually Dark Horse Comics last use of The Shadow before they lost the right to use the character, after a failed film they co-produce with Universal Pictures in 1994 directed by Russell Mulcahy. These days The Shadow can be found at Dynamite Entertainment. 

A jade statue is stolen from a Tibetan monastery by some heavily armed and trained mercs. It's the "Chinese Goddess of Death"! But not before the monks are able to send one last message to someone in New York...

An old butler named Harry Vincent releases a certain Lamont Cranston from a cryogenic tube. Also known as "Kent Allard", he was a costumed crime fighter in the 1940s who used to fight mobsters and nazis and was trained by Tibetan monks. With his knowledge of the paranormal he was out protecting New York back in the day as the vigilante "The Shadow"!! So to have his legacy live on, he was cryogenically frozen, his old friend now watching over him, suspended in animation whenever the time asked for The Shadow to come back (or Dark Horse wanted to publish another story in another decade..).

The message he received?  "Tulpa Arcadia". It's a clue! They're about to unleash this old entity in the city of Arcadia... home of many paranormals!

Including Ghost herself!

With most of his past allies now dead, Cranston/Allard is now back in action as The Shadow!

Elisa was now living with her sister Margo... when people attack them at home and are able to kidnap Margo! Ghost is able to phase through the walls just in time... but it turns out her foes know about her one only real weakness to jade - they are using jade weapons!

It turns out they work for Mr. Skinner, back from earlier on her own book (a recurring power-hungry mad scientist fascinated by Ghost's abilities, who might know a lot more about her than he lets know). They have brought the jade idol to Arcadia and wanna unlock its powers... and they require Ghost's power to "teleport short distances" to warp into the statue to awaken a strange deity...

Thankfully Ghost is not alone, and she will get help from a mysterious black-cloaked mystery man  returned from the past!

They head to Club Hell to face some criminals there which leads them into the sewers to find her sister Margo and the villains. Skinner made an alliance with the old Shadow foe, Songpa. A strange little man with one helluva ugly mug, burned thank to The Shadow back in the day.

This demon "Tulpa" was imprisoned in the statue 50 years ago. And there's only one way to free it without destroying the statue and its contained creature, with ghost-like abilities. Ghost is finally forced to transport inside... the statue starts to get animated.. What is going to happen!?! Will she be strong enough to resist its control??

Ghost and The Shadow is a fun little crossover.

I would place it right along or after the very first Omnibus release, at least.

It works as another short entry in Ghost's series, in fact it was solely sold as a Ghost story more than anything. But it's a fun little episode in Dark Horse' own Shadow series. Featuring what was one of Dark Horse's most popular "Comics Greatest World" characters!

There's a lot of similarities between both character. In fact, so many I even wonder if this crossover wasn't simply the result of Ghost being inspired by The Shadow to begin with! Both use the same weapons, two .45 automatics. But with a close relationship to a "Margo".

The story is kinda.. uneven. Way to short to really go anywhere, not much impact.

At least it's partially saved by the stunning art by Baker. Noir. And gritty.

Overall, it's a decent but entirely forgettable crossover.

If you are familiar with either character, it might be a fun way to discover the other. As a fan of Ghost, it was fun getting to know the pulp laughing mad vigilante.

It's certainly not Ghost's best crossover in my eyes. And The Shadow's run at Dark Horse wasn't probably his best either.

Still, it was kinda fun for fans of either character, but there's just nothing much to it. So short, nothing really happens. Villains run to fight another day, the jade creature is quickly dispatched never to be mentioned again, and The Shadow is left in "present day" for no reason.

I give it:
1.5 / 3 FlamingCarrots!

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