GHOST kicks off with immediate hits that a variety of genre fans will appreciate. Supernatural aficionados will love that Elisa is torn between two worlds and has a supercharged power set that includes phasing. Crime drama junkies will enjoy her mysterious backstory and desperate hunt for clues to her past (and their links to the ongoing demon danger). Noir fans will love the questionable partnership forged between Elisa and her new demon pal, wondering when things are going to go sour. Wide appeal? You betcha.
The story is easy to follow, but not without twists; DeConnick and Sebela lead us down an interesting narrative that covers all of the necessary first-issue bases and brings us onto the side of our heroine. Elisa should, by all accounts, be a difficult character to identify with -- she's dead (or at least half-dead), she has powers, and she can't remember her former life -- but her desperate desire to find her own sense of identity is relatable and compelling.
I rather like the way Ryan Sook draws Chicago; it's definitively the right city, but not too heavy-handed. The el makes a great setting for the initial fight sequence, and Sook makes great use of the space (and fills it up with appropriately terrified bystanders!). On the more fantastic side of things -- those demons are creepy and exaggerated in a great way, and it's evident that Sook has taken the time to design unique and varied monsters.
A staple that I've come to expect in Kelly Sue DeConnick's books is a concise, clear recap on the title page -- anything a new or lapsed reader needs to get oriented to the story at-hand is neatly tucked into that paragraph, making the book instantly more accessible. I know that she's not the only writer that tucks these little context-nuggets into her books, but hers are always so sharp and informative.
As accessible as that title-page recap makes things feel, something about this revival/continuation makes me feel like I need to go back and start at the old series for context. It's that classic new-reader trap; knowing that there are existing issues in a series prompts a compulsion to read those first, but the jump-on-in-the-middle-and-sort-it-out-later instinct is also strong. (In essence, this "bad" is almost entirely on me and my perceptions, but it's something I could see happening for other readers who didn't previously follow GHOST.)
In its energetic and action-packed debut, GHOST opens up as a series with strong potential to appeal to a wide range of readers. It's loaded with mystery and drama, set against a fantastically large supernatural backdrop, and full of history that we're only getting hints of so far. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Chris Sebela take an interesting premise and make it approachable and fun to read. It should be hard to connect to a character like Elisa -- who doesn't even know who she really is -- but this issue makes us want to learn about her and get to know her more (and see her fight off those demons!). It's a strong first issue, with plenty of hooks for interesting plot paths, and it'll be great to see where things are headed.