Tuesday, 14 September 2010

‘Ghost Omnibus Volume 2’ – Eric Luke et al (Dark Horse Comics)

Sometimes you should never go back. At other times, going back is a real treat and you find yourself resolving never to stay away for so long ever again. It was very much a case of the latter when I picked up the ‘Ghost Omnibus Volume 1’ at the back end of last week. I’d give you the link, to the review, but there’s no point really seeing as it’s only halfway down the page. Go and have a look :o)
I was all buoyed up for tackling the next omnibus but there was a little hint of caution this time round. Whereas the first omnibus contained the bulk of what I’d previously read (with a few new bits to fill in the gaps) the second omnibus was the other way round with one giant gap in my reading being filled in with a few snippets here and there. Even way back then, I wasn’t good at reading things in order...
As things turned out, ‘Volume 2’ didn’t quite hit the heights of the first volume (although there is literally nothing between them) but still ended up being an entertaining read that rounded things off in some style.

Elisa Cameron has a little more of an idea about her past life but all the big questions still remain unanswered, namely who had her killed and why... Finding those answers is going to take Elisa not only out of Arcadia but underneath it to the city’s own dark heart.
If this wasn’t enough for Elisa, she still has to contend with daily life in the dark city of Arcadia. If she’s not fighting to the death with her own personal demon then she’s up against every single gangster toting a gun in the city, there’s also a shape shifting assassin with plans for Ghost as well. Perhaps the most damaging thing Elisa has to deal with though are the repercussions of her attempts to finally let friends into her life...

‘Volume Two’ pretty much carries on doing the same job where Volume One left off, good news for me after having really enjoyed the first instalment. The bullets are still flying in a city that is as dark as ever, perhaps even more so when certain secrets rise to the surface of the plot. We still haven’t got the whole picture but things are guaranteed to make a lot more sense by the time you come to the end of the book. The ‘paranormal’ side of Arcadia is also explored in a little more depth this time round, making the setting stand out that little bit more by really adding Arcadia’s underground counterpart to the mix. Is there a hint of Marvel’s ‘Mutant Massacre’ in the confrontation within the tunnels? I thought there was (and could see some parallels) but the story kept its own shape and identity despite this.

The only (very small) problem I had was that, this time round, the format of the story meant that things didn’t flow as well as they did last time round. The events of Volume One flowed seamlessly one into the other to form a unified whole. Ghost having to travel in and out of Arcadia (as well as underneath) had the unfortunate affect of breaking the overall story up into something a little more piecemeal and the pace stuttered as a result.

That’s not to say the story isn’t worth following though, there was a lot here for me to get my teeth stuck into and Ivan Reis’ artwork complemented it superbly. The ‘Miasma’ storyline shows us what Ghost could quite easily have become, bolstering her character while setting up events for the rest of the book. ‘Black Heart’ shows us what became of Cameron Scythe (formerly Cameron Nemo) while Ghost was fighting Miasma. This character is one of my favourites; I love his vicious sense of humour!
‘Exhuming Elisa’ is the storyline that brings Elisa’s tale to a conclusion and is suitably epic, all the more so as it’s done in such a short space. I loved reading the book as a whole but I couldn’t stop reading this story in particular, not until it was done. To see Elisa where she is, at the end, is a real treat (both for me as a reader and for the character herself). Redemption is great, especially when you find out that you never had to go looking for it.

I said ‘a conclusion’ earlier as there is still another chunk of Elisa’s tale to be told. I’m not sure if there are plans for that to happen (it hasn’t yet) so it’s a good thing then that the ending here does a great job of tying up loose ends and stands well on its own. I had a great time reading about the adventures of Elisa Cameron and this omnibus edition (as well as the first one) has earned ‘pride of place’ status on my shelf.

Nine out of Ten

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