Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: Ghost Projekt

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret:  I love me some espionage.  Shit, I've even seen the first two Mission Impossible's with that d-bag Tom Cruise, that's how much I like it.  If you can't tell from the blog, I also like me some supernatural stuff, so when I discovered a comic that had both of those elements, minus Tom Cruise, I was plenty excited.

Ghost Projekt is an action-packed supernatural spy thriller, that takes place in the Russian Siberia.  If you are like me, you know in your heart of hearts that Russia has a shit ton of sketchy ass super secret chemical/biological prototype weapons just kicking around abandoned research facilities, left over from the cold war era.  So when thieves get their hands on a mysterious weapon, it is up to UN weapons inspector Will Haley to figure out what kinds of dangers the weapon might pose.  To complicate matters, Will is forced to work side by side with the attractive Anya Romanova, a russian agent who's priorities don't fully match up with Will's.  Soon, the old scientists who once worked at the site where the weapon was stolen from start turning up dead and Will is visited by the scientist who led the project.  With the help of some clues and some detective work, Will starts to understand the nature of the weapon, but will he be able to stop it before it is unleashed?

Like many good spy stories, the plot of Ghost Projekt is a bit convoluted, and I had to go back and reference earlier events a few times to make sure I was understanding everything...which I may not have been totally successful at.  Maybe my espionage IQ has gotten dumbed down by too much Mission Impossible.  Still, the plot is quite interesting and the mystery elements were spread out nicely through the five issues.   One of the nice things about Ghost Projekt is that there is no unstoppable Bond-like hero.  Instead Will Haley is a pretty normal guy who is just doing his job as best he can.  His interactions with Anya the Russian agent were pretty interesting, and well written.  I felt like there was a bit of a spark between them, but they were both too professional to let that interfere with the job at hand.

The writer, Joe Harris did a great job of creating interesting characters that didn't fall into any of the spy-thriller stereotypes.  He also had a great skill for writing believable dialog that fit with the character's personalities.  Even though I thought the plot was a bit complex, I enjoyed that challenging aspect, and was glad that it wasn't just a recycling of old ideas. 

The art by Steve Rolston was great.  He made me feel like I was freezing my buns off in Siberia, and he definitely set the stage for the series by drawing a perfectly creepy and mysterious Russian research facility in the opening scene.  Not only did he handle the "real world" artwork well, but the supernatural elements of the series looked incredible.  Some really cool stuff by an artist I hope to see more of soon.  Though the story is completely self contained, I think the door is open for some more Ghost Projekt stories in the future...fingers crossed.

All in all, I thought Ghost Projekt was a great comic, filled with just enough espionage and supernatural elements to make it something cool and unique.  I think this is a bit of a sleeper, but worth a read.  Cool story and great art.  The nice thing is this five issue mini-series just came out in graphic novel format with a sweet glow in the dark hardcover, so if you can get your hands on it, this is one to check out.

Grade: B+

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