tek's rating: ¾

Brody's Ghost, Dark Horse
story and art by Mark Crilley
Dark Horse; GCD; Mark Crilley.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

This is an American graphic novel, but drawn in an obviously manga-influenced style. (And the issues are smaller and thicker than comic books, but not quite the same size as manga.) I first became aware of it when a preview story appeared in Dark Horse Presents on MySpace (in January 2010). Three more preview stories followed over the next few months. (These stories were all collected in a one-shot comic- in regular comic book format- released in December 2011.) It looked like a potentially cool series, but I'll be honest: the main thing that hooked me was Talia. Because I thought she was wicked hot. The first book of the regular series came out in July 2010, a few months after the last of the online preview stories. But "regular" isn't a very apt way of describing the series, because it didn't really seem to follow a regular schedule. There were six books, with the final one being released in April 2015. So... it was pretty much one per year, but not even in a consistent month. But that's not important, I guess. It's just that it was pretty frustrating having to wait so long between installments, and not even knowing exactly how long it would be.

Anyway, I should talk about the plot. It's set some decades from now, in some decaying metropolis. The actual time and place aren't specified. But there's this young man named Brody, who has taken to playing his guitar on a street corner for spare change, because he's lost the will to take orders from anyone at a regular job. Especially since his girlfriend, Nicole, broke up with him. Anyway, one day Brody meets a ghost named Talia, which totally freaks him out. She tells him that when she was 16, she got leukemia and died, and she's spent the last five years as a ghost, trying to find someone who could see her. Brody is the first living person she's found who could. So, she's determined to have him help her with a problem. She's been locked out of heaven, not allowed to pass on until she catches a serial killer called the Penny Murderer. She can't physically interact with the world (aside from breaking glass, her one ability; she says all ghosts have their own specific way of interacting with the material world), so she needs someone living to help her. She figures since Brody saw her, he must have psychic powers. She wants to take him to the various crime scenes to see if he can sense "death echoes" which might help him learn the identity of the killer. He's reluctant at first, but eventually he agrees.

Talia takes him to Shinshoji Temple, to meet an ancient samurai ghost named Kagemura, who agrees to train him to unlock his psychic powers (or "Greater Senses"). Meanwhile, there are also five different "demighosts" who work for Kagemura, who can interact physically with the world, unlike other ghosts. They each teach Brody a different method of combat, so he gets in shape physically as well as psychically. We also learn that Kagemura has his own reasons for training Brody, as he has no interest in Talia's reasons for wanting Brody's powers awakened. I should also mention that Brody has a friend named Gabriel, who he says is one of the last few honest cops. And... there are various twists as the story progresses, which I don't want to spoil.

Anyway, the art is pretty cool, both the characters and the scenery. I particularly like the characters' facial expressions. I also really enjoyed getting to know Talia and Brody; they're definitely interesting characters, if not always likable. And it's a pretty good story, with lots of humor and drama and action and surprises, lots of ups and downs, and ultimately, a great ending.

I had a gallery of scans I made from a few issues, as well as some pictures from the online stories. But I eventually decided to delete the gallery, keeping just a few pics. One of them is at the top of this page. I also saved one from the first online story, and another from one of the graphic novels.

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