Ghost/Hellboy (#1 – 2) – Mike Mignola

4 out of 5

An effective actioner that actually feels like it uses its characters, and doesn’t just guest star each of them. Scott Benefiel’s take on the visuals – guided, by an early, hadn’t-yet-written-for-others Mike Mignola, meaning he did full layouts for each page – are very meaty and lush, capturing the rundown feel of our Arcadia setting, as well as Ghost’s Batman-esque stoicness and HB’s contemplative side. While it does boil down to somewhat usual mistaken-identity hero fighting, Mike’s script arrives at that in a rather organic fashion, having HB come to Ghost’s town to recruit her for the B.P.R.D. – a dead person who’s able to actually interact with people and things would definitely be a nab for the agency – with an ethereal voice convincing Ghost that Hellboy’s right hand o’ doom holds the key to solving the secrets that plague her.

The otherworldly – and yet gun-totin’, pulpy – nature of both characters gives Mike and Benefiel license to include gangsters, and masked occult-like figures, and an awesome little chuckling beastie who’s totally a precursor to Gruagach, culminating in an exciting scuffle in which both Ghost and HB get to strut their stuff. It ends on a well-effected downbeat note that kinda makes me wish Ghost had been wrapped into the B.P.R.D. after all. while I can’t speak for how this crossover fits in with Ghost’s series, having Mignola write and ghost-art it (though Benefiel’s contributions should not be discredited, as he uses Mike’s pacing and positioning but absolutely adds his own sense of dynamism and posing to the page) make it fit rather perfectly within the Mignolaverse, making it a worthwhile read for HB followers.