Ghost #4 Review

Ghost #4 Review The past truly defines the present and future.

Creative Staff:
Story: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artwork: Geraldo Borges & Andy Owens

What They Say:
While Ghost is out busting Chicago’s scum, her friends discover a eulogy written for Elisa Cameron’s funeral. It speaks of her idyllic childhood . . . and a tragic loss of innocence! One woman’s quest for justice comes into focus as past and present meld and the hero now known as Ghost is born!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Ghost brought its opening arc to a close with the previous issue as it helped to set the foundations for the series. It did it decently, but since the title started elsewhere prior to the first issue, I always felt a little bit off about it and not quite caught up as it went along. A lot of this was largely just feeling like I wasn’t sure who the supporting cast was even after a few issues since I didn’t start cleanly with them and introductions were sort of done along the way. What helped for me was that since I was familiar with Elisa in a more general sense from previous incarnations, jumping in wasn’t all that difficult since the title character is the one that really has to anchor the whole series.

With this installment, a solid standalone story, we get her support group off checking out some of the things from Elisa’s past that have been in storage. While there are a few character quirks that come into play that are cute and amusing on some level, the big reveal is that when Elisa had died, James wrote an eulogy for her that was never read or seen since there wasn’t any funeral. There’s an obvious uncertainty about reading it, but the draw is too much and this launches us into a flashback sequence. The whole thing is nicely bookended by Elisa’s story in the present as we see her dealing with some punks that are cutting up and killing prostitutes as it largely shows how Elisa is going to deal with the bad things in the world and that there’s a reason for that. And a good part of that is defined in the past that unfolds.

And it is an interesting past as it goes back to when Elisa and James were ten years old. With it being done as an eulogy, James is plain in his feelings towards her and how she was a light among the group of kids that played together. While Elisa wasn’t the ostensible leader of the group, she took on the role after the girl who was, Hadley, disappeared several months earlier. There’s some very fun stuff in how they’re all playing at being superheroes here, the way Elisa can rally them and the general approach of it as it definitely feels like they’re kids living life as many of them would at that time and just having fun in the summer. That it takes a darker and more sinister approach when it comes to the missing girl, something that Elisa and James come across quite accidentally, is no surprise. But what works for it beyond being solidly presented is that Elisa’s force of will, her mindset and approach to how things should be handled, comes through clearly and it helps to reinforce who she is in the present. The present just has her with a few more abilities up her sleeve to go after those who do wrong in a bigger way.

In Summary:
While nostalgia has largely helped to carry me through the initial arc of Ghost, this issue helps to re-cement my interest and affection for the character. A simple background story can go a long way towards reminding you why you like the character and how the writer presents them. DeConnick does a solid job here in doing just that and something simple – and human – is definitely needed after the arc we just had. And while it’s not a story that’s designed to evoke a moody and dark atmosphere that older Ghost fans are familiar with, Geraldo Borges and Andy Owens definitely hit the right tone here with the brightness, playfulness and fun that is summer for kids while moving slowly but surely into the darker material along the way. It’s a solid issue overall and a kind of balance and bit of closure that’s necessary at this stage.

Grade: B

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: June 4th, 2014
MSRP: $2.99