Space Ghost #1
DC Comics (January, 2005)
WRITER: Joe Kelly
ARTIST: Ariel Olivetti
LETTERER: Richard Starkings
EDITOR: Joey Cavalieri
Thaddeus Bach is a peacekeeper, but he may have a chance to advance to the elites among the elites, the Eidolon level squad called The Wrath. Getting to join one of these “phantoms” is a high honor, or so Thad’s pregnant wife tells him. On his first assignment however his trainer and new commander, Temple, shoots the arms dealer without provocation and takes his money. This doesn’t sit well with Thad and I guess worried that he might talk the Wrath kidnap him from his home, kill his wife and cut out the unborn child, and then shoots him when he fights back.
What they got right: Longtime readers know my disdain for the “painted art” style when it comes to comics beyond the cover. It doesn’t usually work for sequential storytelling art, at least for me. Since I do need to find something nice to say about this miniseries, it’s not too bad. I still have my problems with it but for the style it’s a lot better than other comics I’ve seen use it. The designs for the aliens are all good. The story itself is well told…
What they got wrong:…if it wasn’t supposed to be Space Ghost. This is a prime example of what I mean by quality of story versus quality of adaptation. A Space Ghost origin story, as he never had one in either of the cartoons, isn’t necessarily a bad idea. This one however is already way too dark for a story based on a 1960s Saturday morning kids show. It’s not fun. It’s dark and gritty from the art to the events I just described, especially near the end. As it is, Thad (odd that they used the Space Ghost Coast To Coast first name but not his last and they didn’t get the first name right. Tad Ghostal isn’t terrible as far as this scheme goes.) came off as what you’d get if Judge Dredd took a relaxing yoga class or something, and it was good that he still had a conscience but this is not the story I want for the hero I remember from Hanna-Barbera’s World Of Super Adventure (an anthology show featuring old HB superhero shows like Space Ghost but with the Dino-Boy segments removed) and Space Stars. And yes, I liked Space Stars, but I didn’t like this. Again, it’s not fun.
I also don’t know why Thad’s soon to be murdered wife Ellia occasionally spoke in broken English when she’s human and other times spoke it perfectly. It’s like she kept dropping a stereotype Russian accent from time to time. Also curious why Temple would do this unless he thought Thad was going to rat him out when there wasn’t any evidence of it. He didn’t even tell Ellia until they showed up in their bedroom for the kidnapping, and not even then because they knocked him out and tore her up (thankfully off-panel) before he could. Temple’s reasons for bringing him in make a warped amount of sense but if you know he has a strong conscience you really can’t be stupid enough to invite him on your secret psycho squad and be surprised that he didn’t immediately turn psycho with you. So even when Temple’s plan makes sense it doesn’t make sense.
What I think overall: Issue one and already we’re off to a bad start. I think I kept ordering the other issues (thanks to Diamond pre-ordering I already got the other two ordered before I read this) because it was only five issues and maybe I was hoping things would get better. I will spare you the suffering because there is no hope here.