This has been on the back burner for a while, but I’m getting to it now. And this is going to be a running theme in my reviews for the next two months. Now, this is a collection of all six books in the series, four bonus short comics, and concept art.
Now, this is a collection of all six books in the series, four bonus short comics, and concept art. I’m the kind of guy who loves seeing the creative process so the concept art is a feature that I love. The addition of the bonus comics I thought enhanced the overall experience, but I understand why they weren’t included since they are not necessary for the overall story. The rest of the review will be on the main six books that make up the majority of the collection.
Starting with a brief, non-spoiler plot summary: Brody is a down on his luck kind of guy who has his life turned on its head when Talia, a ghost, phases into his world. He’s a ghostseer, capable of interacting with ghosts and exactly what Talia needs. She is a ghost on the hunt for a murderer and she needs someone to do the physical work.
This is a simple, solid story. It’s more of a thriller than a mystery, but I think that allows the story to focus more on its small cast of characters. It gets intense at the end of each book, and when the series as a whole reaches its climax it feels like a movie and the final resolution at the end is paced very well.
Brody and Talia are a pair of solid main characters. Brody changes from a lethargic jerk to a determined vigilante who you certainly could classify as a superhero, and Talia constantly has protective layers peeled back revealing more of her character. Brody is a good example of a character that changes throughout the story, while Talia is a good example of a character that changes through revelation in the story. Their dynamic together is stellar. Because of their different personalities and motivations, humour and conflict feels natural between them when it happens, but you also still understand why they work together.
There are some good side characters that help move the plot forward, but there are just three that contribute to the whole story. We have Gabriel, Brody’s best friend and one of the few straight cops left in the city, he supplies humour and needed help in the investigation for Brody. Kagemura is a samurai ghost that Talia finds to help Brody unlock his ghostseer powers and train him for the task at hand. Kagemura has his moments that make me smile and he’s used very utilitarianly for the sake of needed explanations. The third character I want to touch on is Nicole. She is Brody’s ex-girlfriend and a motivating factor in his life. I don’t want to go to much into detail with her, but she is very plot relevant. Personally, I don’t think she is featured quite enough for the important role she holds.
Antagonistic forces in the series provide three levels of conflict: physical, emotional, and moral. The L47s, for example, are a gang that assault Brody early in the story and serve as a test later in the story for Brody to show his physical improvement. It’s also fun to see them get beat down from their high tower. Nicole also has a boyfriend, Landon, that makes life hard for Brody and because of his interference almost ends the investigation early for Brody. And then we have the Penny Murderer; the villain that is always alluded to in the background and Talia’s only focus. The Penny Murderer’s lack of presence and the threat of him entering the picture drives some of the best tension in the story.
If it hasn’t been obvious at this point, I really enjoyed this collection. The characters are dynamic and fun to read. Some are similar then maybe I would like considering the depth the main characters have and the importance they hold in the story. The end is heart pumping, but a couple of elements feel like loose threads blowing in the wind. By the time I had read from cover to cover I was thoroughly entertained.