REVIEW: 'The Black Ghost' #1 (of 5) by Monica Gallagher, Alex Segura, George Kambadais, and Ellie Wright
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?
THE BLACK GHOST #1
Writers: Monica Gallagher, Alex Segura
Artist: George Kambadais
Colored by Ellie Wright
Cover by Greg Smallwood
Lettered by Taylor Esposito
Edited by Greg Lockard
Publisher: ComiXology Originals
Release Date: September 18, 2019
Cover Price: $2.99
Score: ★★★★★ (5/5)
I was excited to read the first issue of The Black Ghost for many reasons. It's the latest entry in Comixology's Originals line of exclusive content, it's described as "a superhero noir comic series," and it's co-written by a writer I've admired and respected for a long time. Alex Segura is the accomplished author of the award-nominated Pete Fernandez Miami Mystery series and a veteran of Archie Comics. He's seemingly living an envious life balanced between the comic and literary worlds. Segura's talent lies in storytelling and this new comic with co-writer Monica Gallagher exemplifies the very best in a compelling and exciting opening chapter.
As explained in the description above, Lara is a feisty cops reporter who's new to the struggling working-class burgh of Creighton. She plays by her own rules, stumbles through drinking too much and focusing more on the vigilante known as the Black Ghost than her actual job. Her tragic past has led her here after her time in Miami.
Through the use of narration, Segura, and Gallagher present a confident but flawed heroine who's self-aware but determined to protect her night class students and discover the identity of the Black Ghost. Her obsession with this hero gets in the way of her reporter duties but that's what keeps the story intriguing as she chases down leads from a mysterious online source. The pacing is quick and the story ever so revealing it draws the reader in. Lara is an irresistibly engaging character with a persona that seems familiar but feels new as the layers of her back story come forward.
The art from George Kambadais and Ellie Wright is incredibly clean and bright. Backgrounds are sparse but it only emphasizes what's in the foreground. The story is a mixture of crime drama, superhero adventure, and murder mystery. Kambadais' bright cartoony characters sometimes belie the grittiness of the events happening but mostly captures the noir aspects with shadows and clever designs for the mysterious cyber contact. Taylor Esposito has his work cut out with the amount of narration and dialogue. The lettering matches Kambadais' crystal clear linework.
'The Black Ghost' #1 is masterfully constructed storytelling. There's nary a wrong step in its first issue. Segura and Gallagher have created a protagonist worth following and cheering for in Lara Dominguez. She gets in enough trouble and falls headlong into a mystery of murder and corruption that makes this series a can't-miss.