Ghost finds herself caught between depraved tv host Von Ghastly and the Hunter while an even deeper conspiracy begins to come to life in Ghost #8.
A STORY IN STALKING
Chris Sebela has Elisa/Ghost narrate Ghost #8 as she chases down Von Ghastly (a television host who fancies himself a God), and that’s probably the best thing about the entire issue. Yes, Elisa talks like Batman light with a lot of similar thoughts about possessing a dual nature and employing the fears of others to do her work, but she is more comprehensible than the plot of Ghost #8 and at least twice as interesting as the focal villain.
Elisa finds Von Ghastly just a few short pages into Ghost #8 and, in a move that feels an awful lot like padding in order to reach 30+ pages, fight upon fight ensues. On top of that, Von Ghastly wears Day-of-the-Dead-meets-the-Joker style makeup (inexplicably), and never expounds on his reasons for engaging in human sacrifice or believing himself to be God, most of his dialogue is generic bad-guy stuff and, disappointingly, Ghost seems to have no interest in pressing this point.
Seemingly adding insult to injury, Ghost is shown by writer Sebela to be very strong and determined to the point of ruthlessness when taking on mooks that stand in her way, but when she faces down Von Ghastly he has her on the ground with a single blow. Certainly there is a weapon employed in their initial conflict, though I do find it troubling to have Ghost – seemingly a strong, fantastical leading lady – struck down so effortlessly by her male enemy.
Up to this point the main thrust of Ghost #8 is Elisa/Ghost chasing down and listening to Von Ghastly talk nonsense for pages on end. In an interesting twist that doesn’t pan out, the narrative focus shifts to Elisa dealing with a stalker of her own. Sebela has a compelling idea here – the hunter being hunted – but because this issue is narrated by Elisa what we as readers get is more internal narrative about Elisa’s identity struggles.
It’s worth mentioning that secondary characters Tommy and Vaughn get a very brief moment together, which is probably supposed to allude further to Elisa’s isolation, but just makes Ghost #8 feel fragmented and beyond control of the writer.
Perhaps Elisa is supposed to seem more compelling in her detached darkness by the end of Ghost #8, but she is really just rendered less likable than when the issue began. With another two or three drafts this issue could have been awesome and it’s unfortunate to find the title mildling.
GOOD LOOKING GHOST
Jan Duursema’s art is not my favourite in comics today, but that bias in mind, I think her work serves Ghost #8 very well. In every panel of every page Elisa/Ghost is the single most compelling and dynamic figure (part of the credit should probably go to Dan Jackson on colouring), equally beautiful and frightening as her darker and more dangerous personality traits come to bear.
Duursema’s art is heavy, each blow struck feels as if it took tremendous effort to execute, and lends the gravitas Ghost #8 is grasping at to some of the issue. Von Ghastly’s appearance suits his name, at times to his detriment, but beyond the would-be deity and the titular character most every other character is forgettable.
Overall, Duursema’s contribution to Ghost #8 is the best part of the entire issue.
THE BOTTOM LINE: ONLY FOR DIEHARD FANS
If you loved Ghost as character from previous series then this issue will probably entertain you. As a new reader to this new run Ghost #8 is one of the worse issues to date. It’s not terrible, just muddied and unfocused, but that makes Ghost #8 a difficult reading experience that most readers could stand to skip.