The terrorists have won. The United States lives under the fear of a group of anarchists who have the ability to send a bomb forward in time whenever they want. This has rendered most major cities “Ghost Towns” (see? Title!) It’s definitely a cool premise but does it make for a great comic? Read below to find out!
Written by Ryan Lindsay
Illustrated by Daniel Logan
A good premise is one of the keys to a good comic; without it, you can have a certainly memorable story, but a story that probably can’t survive for too long. Smart premises open themselves to be manipulated a number of times to tell great multiple stories. “Ghost Town” is such a story with a great idea. What if, at any moment, a nuclear bomb could go off in the United States and there was nothing anyone could do about it. It’s post-pre-apocalyptic. While there have been several sites that were already destroyed, most of the US is relatively unscathed and only brought down by the restructuring of people’s daily lives to center around fear. From there, an uncountable number of stories could spring forth, but with “Ghost Town” #2, I’m really not sure what kind of story is going on.
“Ghost Town” as a whole, or at least according to Ryan Lindsay’s blog, basically works off the Hellboy structure of comics. One central universe fleshed out through numerous interconnected miniseries or, since there’s no renumbering between this issue and the last, story arcs. While the first issue was a fairly thrilling espionage tale about the CIA tracking down the terrorists activating the time travel bombs, this arc focuses on Nate, a reverse-thief who goes into the abandoned homes of families and steals back their precious items for them. Again, this is a really solid concept and the twists that come with it are fun, even if some aspects of the character don’t make sense. (Being a delivery boy teaches you how to fight? I must be doing my job wrong.)
Unfortunately, while Nate’s retriever gig is neat, the same can’t exactly be said for the b-plot who focuses on a crime lord whose purpose I’m not entirely sure of. It’s unfocused and takes away from the already sizable A-plot, and it doesn’t seem to fit into any other story threads at all. It’s like a story arc stuffed inside of a story arc and all that does is take away the focus from both plots. If Tyreese the crime boss’s story had been given more of a role in a separate story arc, then maybe it would have been more understandable. Since it wasn’t, it just made one of the first issues about a world the reader knows next to nothing about all the more confusing. Actually, it probably would have been for the best had “Ghost Town” not dropped the prior plot about the actual terrorists and CIA agents from the first issue entirely. Not every issue needs to continue the plot, and a focus on world building is always helpful, but there’s a huge disconnect between the first two issues that it’s hard to tell if you didn’t pick up a new book by accident. Just one returning character or something to establish a sense of continuity and this series would be all the more smoother.
Speaking of things that aren’t entirely smooth, this book’s art. Daniel Logan’s actually a pretty talented artist, based on technicality alone, but overall nothing feels different about the new United States. Aside from some people living at a compound, everything kind of looks the same. There’s a couple of signs in the background that indicate that everyone’s hopeless (literally, a sign that points toward Hope, 500 miles away), but other than that everything seems just dandy. There’s no real change that would indicate the mass upheaval in society this story necessitates. I will say, though, that the cover for this issue is straight up awesome. If DC were to contact Logan over redesigning the Lincoln memorial, there would be no objections at all.
Overall, Ghost Town has a lot of things going for it. There’s a lot of promise within the writer and artist, the premise is stellar, and the confusing bits I mentioned earlier could blossom into something cool in the future. For now though, it’s an unfocused project that could do with some tightening up in order to reach its full potential.Continued below
Final Verdict: 6.0 – Pass