cover image The Black Ghost

The Black Ghost

Alex Segura, Monica Gallagher, and George Kambadais. Dark Horse, $19.99 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-5067-2446-1

This breezy superhero noir from crime and comics writer/editor Segura (Miami Midnight) introduces a heroine who pulls up the pulp roots of masked hero adventures to plant a smart contemporary context. Small-city journalist Lara Dominguez is Lois Lane by way of Sam Spade, taking breaks from street fights and drinking binges to report on the exploits of the Black Ghost, a vigilante described as “Robin Hood meets James Bond.” After she witnesses the Black Ghost’s assassination, Lara investigates the criminal conspiracy responsible and considers taking on the hero’s mantle herself, but her personal vices threaten to destroy her before the villains do. Punchy writing (“Deep in the dregs isn’t exactly the safest spot.... Glad to see my hunch-o-meter is still working”) adds flavor to the street-level superhero action and hard-boiled intrigue. While none of these elements are especially original on their own, together they blend into frothy noir entertainment. The workmanlike art, cleanly inked with bright, flat colors, may not stand out, but it’s serviceable and well suited to action scenes. Never pausing long enough to get bogged down in its own twisty plot and gritty mythology, this series has what it takes to grab both crime fiction fans and superhero readers looking for something just off the beaten path. (May)