This week’s main review is Space Ghost #1. Plus, the Wednesday Comics Team has its usual rundown of the new #1s, finales and other notable issues from non-Big 2 publishers, all of which you can find below … enjoy!

Space Ghost #1Space Ghost #1

Writer: David Pepose
Artist: Jonathan Lau
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: Dynamite

Review by Jordan Jennings

The Plot: The villainous Tansut and his band of space pirates are assaulting Space Colony Omicron in search of the neural research specimen—BLIP.  Dr. Keplar and his children, Jan and Jace, are desperately trying to flee the attack and protect BLIP from falling into the wrong hands.  Even worse, the law enforcing Space Patrol proves to be corrupt and attempts to capture Jan, Jace, and BLIP. All is lost as there is no one to save Jan and Jace from the onslaught…or so it seems. Enter: Space Ghost.

Space Ghost #1 is the latest attempt at bringing the Hanna-Barbera character to comic page. This outing opts for a reboot of the Space Ghost character and story to introduce the character to a new audience.  Historically, presenting Space Ghost as a straightforward action character is often a challenge given the popularity of the far more comedic Space Ghost: Coast to Coast. People tend to forget where the character got his start. I personally loved the Hanna-Barbera action cartoons as a kid. Despite originally debuting in the 60’s, Space Ghost would receive regular airplay in the early days of Cartoon Network. Based on this issue, I believe David Pepose and Jonathan Lau are far more up to the task of returning Space Ghost to his action-adventure roots. 

The story is an exhilarating and frantic one as it is told from the perspective of Jan and Jace as they attempt to escape the Pirates and the corrupt Space Patrol. The pacing moves at a blistering speed. It never dwells in one moment too long. With this speed and focus on the kids, Pepose generates a mystique to Space Ghost through the character’s introduction in the book via quick cuts and shows of strength. Pepose characterizes Space Ghost in the vein of Batman. He is efficient and strikes fear into the hearts of the villains.

The frantic pace of the story is complimented by Lau’s layouts and line work. Lau captures the erratic and rapid action of the story with frequent use of close-up reaction panels interspersed through large action-packed panels that hit the story beats with sharp, technical precision. 

An excellent example of this use of layouts and panel composition is the scene where Space Ghost first appears. There’s three pages of frequent, claustrophobic close-ups on the villains as we watch them get picked apart by Space Ghost’s attacks.  Leading to one of the crew to fire a massive energy shot at the hero, but this in vain as Space Ghost appears from the shadows in a jaw dropping moment. This sequence goes a long way in establishing the story as one to be taken seriously. The whole comic is full of these kinetic and dramatic sequences that leaves you wanting to turn the page. 

Lau’s art style is fitting for this kind of story.  There is a bit of realism ala late-era Neal Adams, but there is some cartooning to the characters as they are all expressive and dynamic. The only real note I have with the art is Lau’s over rendering. He is his own inker here and it shows here. There is a lot of extraneous hatching and lines to give shape. It gives the art a sketchier look than normal. I personally don’t mind this style when it comes to an action-packed story as I find it complements the erratic nature of action, but I know it will be off putting for others. Especially for fans of the minimalistic style of Alex Toth, the original designer for Space Ghost

While his art style contrast to Toth’s, I found Lau largely sticks to the original designs but with slight updates throughout. Space Ghost’s costume is unchanged, which is qelcomed as a lot of artist are tempted to updated simple designs with seams, piping, and color panels. There is more emphasis on Space Ghost’s muscles but it looks and feels like Space Ghost. Brak has the most dramatic redesign, but it is still in line with the original designs but opting to illustrate Brak as more of a lion instead of just a simple cat alien with the red being apart of his facial coloring and not the Red-Mask 

Lau’s talent to illustrate Jan and Jace as young teens is HUGE and far above the industry standard. While it may seem frivolous to care about Jan and Jace being presented with their correct ages, I find it helps amplify the stakes at hand, especially as the story is presented from their perspective. 

Overall, I found Space Ghost #1 to be a pulse- pounding, action filled romp that left me flipping the pages in anticipation. Most importantly, you do not have to be Space Ghost fan to find something to love here. This is a great action comic and I cannot wait for the next issue. 

Verdict: Buy It

The Whisper Queen: A Blacksand Tale #1

Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Kris Anka
Colorist: Matt Wilson
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Image Comics

Review by Beau Q.

In order to discuss Whisper Queen, we need to talk about The White Trees, which isn’t a great start, but given the particular makeup of the two-issue mini from 2019, it’s key to understanding what Chip Zdarsky and Kris Anka are doing here. White Trees is a sword-and-sandal fantasy where three queer men go on a revenge quest to find their damselled children. The trio consists of a disagreeable bear, a tagalong archer trying to get everyone to agree, and a stoic lead who is both the strongest warrior in the realm and beset by flashbacks that slowly reveal his present nature.

In Whisper Queen, the trio consists of a disagreeable huge daughter, her tagalong mother trying to get everyone to agree, and a stoic lead who is both the strongest assassin in the realm and beset by flashbacks that slowly reveal her present nature. These three queer women are on a quest to find a damselled child. You can see now that Zdarsky and Anka have gender-swapped the leads, but kept the core dynamic and what worked so well in their previous Blacksand tale alive.

New however is that Whisper Queen begins immediately after White Trees and, honestly, requires no prerequisite reading to enjoy. Zdarsky is using another stoic warrior to, this time, tell a tale of maturity vs perceived maturity, and what that looks like for different generations who have lived in war or in peace time. Anka returns to the fantasy fiction playspace where, honestly, his angular inking style and multicultural future fashion is allowed unrestricted freedom to vibe, free of the heteronormative space that can constrict superhero books to a certain style. 

Matt Wilson is back casting every background-less panel with a softly blended round brush that reinforces compositional focal points while complementing more often than contrasting– these characters are their world more than the world is its own entity. New to the pack is Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou who takes over for the previous letterer, Aditya Bidikar. While Bidikar designed the initial Blacksand look of all white balloons with a crumpled rough edge, Otsmane-Elhaou adds to the equation with a thin, ragged, transparent stroke to divide balloons stacked atop/into one another; it’s a simple, subtle move, but helps keep Blacksand’s signature stoicism alive when characters interject.

My takeaway from all this: read this book. Whisper Queen is value unparalleled.

Wednesday Comics Reviews

  • Mezo: The Trial of Roden #1 (A Wave Blue World): Mezo: The Trial of Roden #1 kicks off the third volume of this post-apocalyptic Mesoamerican fantasy series from Wave Blue World Comics, and immediately lands the feeling of the beginning of the end. As a consequential eclipse approaches, characters make final, desperate moves to save themselves and their people. The novel setting and Val Rodrigues’s evocative art and design immediately set this book apart from standard fantasy fare, even as it deploys well-worn themes in new ways. Colorists Gab Contreras & Tomi Varga shift pallettes deftly enough to feel like proper chapter breaks, giving the reader moment to breathe within the sprawling scope of the story as it moves between sharply rendered character beats. —Bob Proehl
  • comics to buy for may 1Toxic Summer #1 (Oni Press): Derek Charm does it all here with letters by Frank Cvetkovic! This book is funny; I was audibly laughing reading our main characters’ (Leo and Ben) banter back and forth. It’s queer and sharp-witted as Ben and Leo start a summer job as lifeguards with the goal of meeting hot guys and having the best summer of their lives. They balance each other well and it makes for great visual and dialogue gags. All of this, as Charm sets up the mystery around why the beach that only a year ago was a hotspot for “hunks” is now a desolate, polluted wasteland. There are no hot guys for them to meet until they stumble across AJ whose friends are also bored with the current state of the beach and looking to have fun. The art is charming (no pun intended) and so well-fitting with a sense of play, almost like something you’d see on Cartoon Network. Even as things get intense and spooky, it’s still approachable, balancing sleek linework and heavy spot blacks. The colors here are great, saturated and they pop, lending themselves to that playful, cartoon feeling. There are some pages that use a limited palette to great effect and it’s a testament to Charm’s creative vision. Cvetkovic’s letters here feel right at home and they complement what’s happening on the panels. It’s a double-sized first issue, so we get two chapters here, and by the time I got to the end I couldn’t believe it. —Khalid Johnson

The Prog Report

  • 2000AD Prog 2380 (Rebellion Publishing): Taking a quick break from the Prog Report this week, because I’m swamped finishing off a Kickstarter campaign for a comic I made (which, btw, features several artists who’ve appeared in The Prog!). However, if you haven’t seen, I wanted to let you know that Rebellion is actually prepping its own first-ever Kickstarter for a book called Roxy, which is a contemporary romance anthology featuring a list of excellent creators, including Alex de Campi and Erica Henderson, Sarah Gordon, Magdalene Visaggio and Sterric, and more. Go follow the pre-launch page now! Zack Quaintance

Read more entries in the weekly Wednesday Comics reviews series!


  1. I’m so glad to see that the reviews of Space Ghost are not only super positive so far but also that it’s avoiding being an Adult Swim prequel. This gives me hope that the upcoming Jonny Quest title will be similarly as well done, since it’s been depressingly hard to be a fan of that series since Venture Brothers came along & served as the first/only introduction to it for almost 2 decades. I still get sad at how much people sulked about Future Quest not being in that vein. Definitely gonna pick this book up.

  2. Space Ghost #1…loved the character as a kid but $4.99 ? I’ll scan thru it at the shop. If it’s a five-minute read then forget it.

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