Written and Art by Mark Crilley
Being haunted and forced to catch murderers really cuts unto hangout time.
Brody is a young man searching for a murderer in a seedy city, with the help of ghosts. Specifically, the ghosts of a young teen girl who can shatter glass and of an ancient samurai training Brody to unlock his supernatural senses.
Brody is a hapless good guy who doesn’t want to be a psychic detective but nonetheless commits himself to finding this murderer. He’s likeable enough, wanting to do the right thing and help people, but he doesn’t want to dedicate his life to it as the final story cramps into his personal time. Still, how he found the time to spend a week and a half in a sewer, I have no idea.
This one-shot is made of four short tales featuring Brody training and working on the Penny Murder case. Each short is self-contained and works on its own. The first shows Brody saving a girl and talking to the ghosts, telling the reader the basics to get started. The series ranges from dramatic to comedic, dealing with Brody saving people from thugs and seeing the affects of murders on loved ones, as well as putting up with crazy training high jinks and a persistently annoying and pushy teenage girl (who happens to be a ghost that can shatter glass).
This book feels less like a one-shot and more like a pilot, and that’s because it is. These segments were originally published online in MySpace Dark Horse Presents #30-33 in 2010, previews to the then upcoming main comic series.
Because this is essentially a preview to an already started series and all of these segments are stand-alone stories, this specific book feels incomplete.
It’s an odd combination I’d expect to see in the bonus material of the main books. Fans of the series will appreciate having these stories combined in print. There’s enough here to interest new readers as well, the ghost concept is interesting, as is seeing Brody’s emerging abilities that are only referenced in here. It can grab new readers for the series, so I hope the book is filled with advertisements for the already-published books.
Crilley has a serious manga influence in his character designs, with simplified figures, enlarged eyes and spiky hair. It works with the story, especially with the samurai ghost character. Otherwise, it’s not particularly remarkable, but it gets the story told well enough. The only knocks I’d really have are some off eyes and occasional background color inconsistencies.
Speaking of colors, after the first segment, Dan Jackson takes over coloring from Crilley. Jackson’s colors are vibrant and sharp, with better shading to give more shape to the artwork. Crilley’s coloring by comparison looks a bit flatter and washed out, but only barely and after more critical reflection.
This one-shot is a decent enough preview of the main series. As a stand-alone, it feels incomplete and leaves the reader wanting more, which means it’s done its job.
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10