I had high hopes for “Ghost” #5; Christopher Sebela had co-written “Ghost” #1-3 with Kelly Sue DeConnick, and I’ve enjoyed Jan Duursema’s art ever since I first encountered it on DC Comics’ “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” title in the early ’90s. But with this debut issue, so far there’s nothing present to fully grab my attention.
There are some basic ideas in “Ghost” #5 that sound good on the surface — Elisa getting a job under a false identity, and trying to determine if a horror movie host is in fact a demon — but nothing ever seems to quite come together. None of the plot beats have a strong hook to them, something that grabs the reader’s attention and holds it quickly. Instead it feels more like Sebela’s going through the motions here; Elisa has a job because it seemed like a good idea, but the first glimpse we see of it has nothing that stands out and makes it a compelling addition to the title.
In many ways, “Ghost” feels like it’s shifted from a supernatural horror title to that of a standard superhero. Elisa’s got the lush penthouse, a hunt for bad guys, a secret identity, and a creepy masked villain tracking her down. With Tommy and Sloane falling into the background (and becoming increasingly generic and hard to tell apart here), “Ghost” #5 feels like it’s shedding most of what the original mini-series and then the first four issues of this ongoing series did to make it feel special and interesting. For now, this is superheroes by the numbers.
Duursema’s pencils are fine here, but right now they’re also not jumping out at me. Elisa’s outfit as Ghost feels here more than ever like a superhero spandex number, for example, as she jumps and leaps through the air. I appreciate that it’s staying firmly on her, but it also looks distinctly uninteresting. Characters in general just look average, here. There are a few exceptions, like when we get the close-up on Elisa’s face as she drops the bullets on page 3, but on the whole nothing is that visually grabbing or unique.
I expected a lot more from “Ghost” #5, and maybe that’s part of the problem. Looking at the creative team, this feels like it should have been a home run. Instead, to extend the baseball metaphor, we got a bunt that barely got the runner onto first base. Hopefully things will pick up, soon. I want Sebela and Duursema to bring a little more energy in “Ghost” #6; they’re capable of something much more fun.