Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Ghost Volume 1: 'In the Smoke and Din' - DeConnick/Noto (Dark Horse)

I've been reading 'Ghost', on and off, for years now so the news that Dark Horse were rebooting Elisa Cameron's story was a really big deal to me. 'A chance to be in right in at the beginning' vs 'the fact that it just wouldn't be the same as the Ghost I'd already invested so much in'. I'm still totally undecided on that score but what I read in 'Dark Horse Presents' asked enough interesting questions that I knew I'd be back to see where the plot went next. Last night saw me finally saw those questions answered and, while I'll always prefer the original Elisa Cameron, I think I've just found another series to collect.

'In the Smoke and Din' collects the first four issues of 'Ghost' where Elisa Cameron must not only discover who she is but also decide what to do with that knowledge when she does. There is more to Chicago than anyone knew, apart from the mayor and his demonic friends that is...

While the plot is fast paced yet dairly straight forward (questions answered, justice meted out etc albeit very well drawn, more on that in a bit), the real fun comes in watching Elisa piece her life back together. I mentioned before, over at the other blog, that Elisa is relegated to a bystander in her own story as she doesn't know what it is. As this changes, Elisa gradually achieves more prominence until she is finally in control of her own destiny; it all feels very natural and adds a real spark to the climactic scenes.

DeConnick has a real skill then for drawing her characters (Vaughn's arc is predictable but his character has enough pathos for you to move past that and root for him anyway). What I also loved about DeConnick's treatment of 'Ghost' is that she strikes a real balance between new and old readers. A new reader will be able to leap into 'In the Smoke and Din' with no difficulties but long term fans will see a lot of little nods to the original setting and I just love that touch. This may be a brand new 'Ghost' but not only has DeConnick not forgotten the long term fans but the way she draws these old threads into the mix is very cleverly done. They are 'nods' but they all serve the immediate story. I'm sure I wasn't the only one wishing for another slice of continuity to be added in when Vaughn had that 'X' cut into his chest...

Noto's art took a bit of getting used to but the amount of expression he puts into a character's face (often just by a slight adjustment to the eyes) is just phenomenal. 'In the Smoke and Din' is a book about discovery and Noto leaves his readers in no doubt as to what this means.

I think I will always prefer the 'original Ghost' but DeConnick and Noto have really caught my interest with their offering and I will continue to follow the story. If you're a longtime fan give this book a chance, it is definitely rewarding.

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