Mix a pinch of The Sixth Sense with a dash of The Karate Kid and a bit of The Crow, and you’ll start to get feel for Mark Crilley’s new Dark Horse Books graphic novel, Brody’s Ghost.
Crilley — known for his younger-skewing, Eisner Award-nominated Akiko series and the manga drawing lessons he offers through his YouTube channel – garnered an older audience with his Miki Falls books, and he’s aiming in that direction again with the six-part Brody’s Ghost. Volume 1 debuted in summer 2010, and Volume 2 is scheduled for release next month.
The 88-page series opener is a quick read, but my 13-year-old daughter and I both enjoyed it, and I’ve found myself flipping back through it to take in more of the atmosphere and the details and Crilley’s composition.
Crilley does a nice job of establishing a Blade Runner-reminiscent cityscape, with its mish-mash of cultures and the hinted contrasts between the gritty streets, the crumbling overpasses and the slick, towering skyscrapers beyond.
Character-wise, Brody is introduced as little more than a self-pitying slacker, though he does show hints of being strong-willed, even if it’s of the smart-mouthed sort that’s going to land him in trouble.
Talia is the ghost of the title, five years dead and assigned the “life task” of solving a series of murders before she can “move on.” She teams up with Brody because … well, because he can see and hear her, for starters, and she’ll take what she can get.
They’re both pretty self-centered, and neither one is particularly likable at first, but as the book unfolds, Crilley rounds them out a bit and sets the stage for character growth over the next five installments.
We’re also introduced to Kagemura, an ancient ghost warrior who’s considering taking Brody on as a pupil.
As for content, we’re not talking Watchmen or anything, but Brody does have a jarring encounter with a disturbingly violent pre-teen gang member, and the story will presumably bring us to close pursuit of a serial killer, so again, this isn’t for the younger Akiko readers.
Among the six pages of developmental notes and sketches at the back of Book 1, Crilley notes that Kagemura’s demighost, Kyo, “is just one of five such beings he has at his disposal. I look forward to unveiling the others when the story continues in Book 2.”
Well, thanks to Crilley and his partners at Dark Horse, GeekDad’s got that unveiling in this exclusive eight-page preview! Brody’s Ghost Book 2 comes out Jan. 25.
Brody's Ghost v2 preview page 1
Disclosure: Dark Horse provided GeekDad with a review copy of Brody’s Ghost Book 1.