Ghosts #1 review

The nights are drawing in – hey, it’s nearly July! – so the latest DC Digital First offering is just the ticket, reviving a long-running mystery book with a tale tailored to today’s tastes. For rather than an anthology of shorts, Ghosts gives us a single story of the Spectre, the super-spook created by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Bailey in 1940.

Alter-ego Jim Corrigan – a murdered detective condemned to mete our God’s vengeance on sinners – is called to a tragedy on the streets of Gotham. An elderly woman has fallen to her death, but there’s something very strange…

I’d guess that’s DC cop Jim Harper at bottom left… and is that Jim Gordon on the right?

Corrigan has a look around the woman’s apartment, and begins to think her death is connected to a clock she picked up at an antiques shop. Back at his own place, Corrigan’s suspicions are confirmed.

First published as part of a Ghosts 100-page Giant last October, Shop of Nightmares is a breezy, fun read from the mind of Dan Jurgens. It doesn’t get quite as macabre as the famous Seventies series from writer Michael Fleisher, but the bad guy is dispatched in a satisfactorily ironic way. You can depend on Jurgens to produce a fun DC Universe story, and it’s refreshing to see him working outside his usual superhero playground.

Penciller Scot Eaton and inker Wayne Faucher’s pages are great looking, with the opening showing the demise of Adrianna Brackens especially effective. And, working with colourist Hi-Fi, they present a suitably imposing Spectre, channeling the spirit of the great Jim Aparo, who drew the aforementioned oft-collected stories.

A standout sequence sees the Spectre thrown into a strange new world that shows he’s a better crimefighter than he is an art student.

Travis Lanham rolls out the fearsome fonts to fine effect, while Kaare Andrews contribute an extremely eerie cover.

I hope Ghosts becomes a regular fixture on the DC Digital First schedule – that Hallowe’en special contained a few other new stories that could make for a second issue, for starters. If editors Katie Kubert, Liz Erickson and Marie Javins are reading this, 16 pages an issue, with a done-in-one starring a series character and a traditional mystery tale, would be perfect. And if they could bring back the original logo – the new one is too fluffy for my liking – even better.

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