Review - The Black Ghost #1

"Feels like my hangover picked a fight with a garbage truck. And lost."

Superheroes are a strange breed who are driven to their profession for various reasons. There's usually some sense of duty that compels them to be better and in The Black Ghost #1 that proves to be a lot for one person. The issue is written by Alex Segura and Monica Gallagher, illustrated by George Kambadais, layouts by Marco Finnegan, colored by Ellie Wright and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

Burnt out cops reporter Lara Dominguez finds herself on the defensive, battling back thugs attacking one of her GED-prep students after class. There's a new player on the Creighton crime scene, she's told. Lara moved to Creighton to escape her past in Miami, and found a new obsession - the city's debonair vigilante, The Black Ghost. Unable to focus on anything else - and goaded on by her cyber-connection, LONE - Lara faces a crossroads: continue on a mad crusade to unmask the Ghost in search of a scoop, or find herself in the line of fire?

Segura and Gallagher know that any new series needs to start with some sort of origin story and that of Lara Dominguez is somewhat unconventional. For most of the issue she's pitched as a reporter bored with the monotony of her beat which forces her to venture out into more dangerous situations in the hopes of covering The Black Ghost. It's a fairly standard set-up, yet Segura and Gallagher manage to make things feel fresh in how it ends on a surprising note that thrusts Lara even more directly into the story she'd prefer to be covering. The use of narrative dialogue throughout the issue evokes a detective atmosphere that's entirely in-character with Lara's desire to get to the bottom of the story. The pacing throughout the issue is relatively slow throughout the issue, in that most of the issue is following Lara as a means of setting up her new path and the series as a whole.

Kambadais keeps things simple when it comes to character designs as there's not a tremendous amount of detail in the designs. Each of the panels is focused primarily on the character in-panel, as Kambadais is relatively light on the backgrounds and settings. Most of the layouts by Finnegan focus on the characters' facial expressions throughout the issue, many of which seem to emphasize a scowl on the part of Lara as she digs deeper into whatever case she's investigating. The panels are free-flowing on all the pages, giving the book a similarly freewheeling attitude that's perfectly on brand for Lara as a main character. Wright relies largely on blacks and yellows throughout the issue, further creating an atmosphere of danger.

The Black Ghost #1 is an exciting first issue that gives the reader a fun character to follow along with. Lara is tenacious like any good reporter is, but her tenacity might get her in a situation that she's not quite equipped to handle. The script by Segura and Gallagher is straightforward and informative, giving the reader all the information they need to get a sense of the world being built. Kambadais' illustrations are simple yet effective at conveying to the reader the sequence of events leading to the cliffhanger ending. The Black Ghost #1 is worth checking out as it's a slightly different take on the origin story.

The Black Ghost #1 is available now.