Tuesday, February 3, 2015

CBR Ghost Vol. 2

Ghost is back! And there's a killer loose on the streets of Chicago...

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

Comic title: Ghost Volume 2: The White City Butcher 
Art by Ryan Sook, Drew Johnson & Geraldo Borges
Story by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Chris Sebela

Published by Dark Horse Comics
From 2014
Lineup Ghost series
Format: Trade paperback collecting Ghost #1-4.

Following the huge success Dark Horse Comics had with the Ghost relaunch mini-series "In the Smoke and Din" in 2012, an actual proper new Ghost on-going series was launched the following year.

In fact it helped them decide to make the move to bring back several other classic proprieties, mostly other 1990s characters from the superhero genre which they kinda left aside these last few years to first focus on licensed material and more recently their creator-owned lineup.

With the great success of Ghost''s return, they decided to reboot several other franchises such as X at the same time.

This "Volume 2" actually collects the first four issues of the new run. Kelly Sue DeConnick returned as writer with Chris Sebela co-writing this time. Sebela will be taking over the series the following issues, so this was a way to have him familiarization with the characters and setting. DeConnick would only be doing the first four issues of the new series to help lay the foundations.

Sadly Phil Noto could not come back as well since he's pretty busy with all of his work at Marvel recently. He's been otherwise occupied with books like X-23, Uncanny X-Force, Thunderbolts and Journey into Mystery (all published the same year!).

Ryan Sook, Drew Johnson and Geraldo Borges were on art duties for these first four issues (not enough Ryan Sook in my opinion..).

The mysteriously reincarnated reporter Elisa Cameron is now going by this strange identity as "Ghost". She somehow found herself empowered with these supernatural powers but left with no memories of her past. She's trying to find out what exactly happened to her and trying to get those memories back.

Now "living" (at least on a practical way) at Tommy's place, one her new living allies she made along this other investigator Vaughn. She is hunting the demons responsible for her condition. There are 32 demons out there hiding in plain sight among people under human skin, she has only taken out 6 of them so far!

After dealing with a demon in the middle of the day, she finds herself forced to make a deal with this demon Beleth who might just help her locate the others will providing some information regarding her past. It seems like he might have known her from "before". Beleth is selfish and only cares about himself, he can help her take down this Devil that has been trying to take over Chicago and allowing others to get empowered with these extra-dimensional demons.

Beleth just wants her to find him a human host body in exchange!

Meanwhile Tommy and his girlfriend Sloane have been investigating something on their own, there's this mysterious serial killer called the "White City Butcher" that has been rampaging through the city. While it doesn't seem that both these stories intersect much, they do come clashing at the end...

Vaughn himself's been forcing to deal with his ex, but the demons soon find themselves on their path, and things turn for the worse.

Ghost mistrusts Beleth, and she has good reasons for that. But as long as each keep the end of their bargin it should be ok.

And it looks like October's back and not that far from all this...

Beleth helps her find this old childhood home she forgot about. The killer has already set sights on Tommy and Sloane. Will Elisa find a new yougner host body for Beleth?

Our Ghost finds herself slowing becoming this protector of the city despite a rough start and not thinking at first about collateral damage or helping the local people caught between this story around town.

There are all kinds of monsters out there, not all are demons....

Solid story-telling and character development from this second volume! The supernatural still feels "real". The book has a great tone. And it it's fast-paced and moves at a great pace.

Comic book story-arcs nowadays tend to drag a bit too much these days, most usually spread over four, five issues (compared to old school comics like Stan Lee's work where stories where usually resolved in one single issue). Which is why this came to much surprise when I saw how easily they wrap up this new storyline in the first three issues! The resolution of this first new arc arrives in the third issue, and the last issue #4 is a self-contained story focused on exploring and developing the past of a young Elisa.

While it follows the events of the previous story, this issue takes a break from the action to look back at a more touching tale from Elisa's past, showing her strength already present as a child. About this old mysterious storage located in the nearby woods. As a kid she already used to play hero and lead the others. One time, while playing late at night, they stumbled upon a terrifying secret... Linked to the disappearance of a few kids in the neighborhood! While it doesn't reveal anything new surrounding her death, it was the perfect time to start having a look at Elisa's backstory!

Ghost is such a fun book, and one of the best surprises of these last few years! Thanks to solid writing and pretty good artwork.

It's fast paced and full of clever twists!

Such an exciting and interesting story! It's a solid continuation of this new reboot.

There is some violence, but not quite on the same level as the overblown brutal action you Marvel and DC tend to overdo these days. There's even some humor and a great tone.

Geraldo Borges's art is not as good as what we've been used to in the past from both Phil Noto on the first trade and Ryan Sook at the beginning of these new issues, but it works here. It's decent enough. It doesn't stand out as much, specially next to the rest of the book or the fantastic cover work. But he managed to make a great kickass-looking demon for Ghost to fight if anything.

The covers are simply outstanding. Stunning pinup work from the talented duo of Terry and Rachel Dodson.

Overall, a great return to form for Ghost!

Highly Recommended! Great writing, a captivating plot and a solid cast of interesting characters. Honestly it's just as good if better than the best DC and Marvel do with the genre nowadays.

It's a great mystery with drama. Captivating storytelling and great action scenes really help contrast with some of the more human drama from the rest of the book. With a lot suspense.

The book is doing so well it was in fact used by Dark Horse to launch their new "Project Black Sky" banner. An initiative to relaunch all their classic "superhero" line, which will serve to contain Captain Midnight, X, Ghost, Brain Boy, Occultist, Blackout, and Skyman so far. In 2013 they started reintroducing as many characters as possible. This time their superheroes will be a bit more contained and not cross over as much as they used to in the 90s (back under "Comics' Greatest World" way back when), sharing a universe once more but allowing each book to have its own tone.To indicate that this Project Black Sky logo can be seen all over this second volume. Hopefully they won't force any contrived crossover any time soon, Ghost works so well by herself.

I give it:
2.5 / 3 FlamingCarrots!

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