I'd worked with the Bureau, hell, since its creation in 1908. They found me hiding in the sewers of old underground New York and instead of hunting me or trying to make a show of me like so many others had before, they took me in and offered me a job. (Steve Niles, My Ghoul)
With only 16 pages in this $3.99 comic book devoted to The Ghoul's illustrated adventure, a 5 page continuing text story, My Ghoul--peppered with three small graphics--and 10 pages devoted to IDW ads and news, it took a lot of effort for me to read this one even if Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson are the perpetrators, and the gimmick is one very big special agent for the supernatural arm of the FBI.
You know the drill: mysterious big guy with attitude (The Goon, Hellboy, insert your favorite here), who usually works for a 'secret' organization and packs muscle--some wit, but better at relying on the muscle--and enjoys kicking monster and freakazoid butts too big for regular folk to handle. Leaves all the thinking to the small guys, who, in this case, would be rolled into one Lieutenant Detective Klimpt. Klimpt does the cerebral work while the Ghoul does the muscle work. Both wear trenchcoats. The Ghoul's is tailor-made and would probably make a good emergency tent if the situation warranted it.
Okay, so I'm spoiled. I expect a big comic book when I buy one, and I expect big names to deliver big things when charged a big price for the issue. Niles and Wrightson are big names. Only Wrightson fully delivers the goods; he gives the irritating, ill-mannered Ghoul more than just enormous size and a trenchcoat. I won't say heart (or even gruff charm) because Niles hasn't written that in yet, but Wrightson's characters and settings evoke more noir than Niles can muster in his story and dialog. Maybe because Niles is on auto-pilot with this first issue. Maybe he'll get the gas pumping in issue two.
Okay, I admit this is a pet peeve of mine; comic book format implies an illustrated story between the covers, not ads or text-stories that fill up half the pages. Niles' My Ghoul story is important to read as it provides much background to the Ghoul's character; but it should have been illustrated instead: comic book, right? I would rather see and read this background story in comic book format.
As for the current story, Klimpt calls in the extra muscle for a hunch he has on a case--more of a theory as he calls it. While the Ghoul searches for some munchies and mugs a sour demeanor throughout their first meeting, Klimpt fills him in on his theory. It involves the Atwoods and their three generations of "uncanny actresses." Only the three generations may not have involved so many dames and there may be more than just three generations. That easily tops the 'uncanny' part. Tom Smith provides lots of evocative colors, creating ample shadows and light sources for Wrightson's characters to breath in.
Before Klimpt makes a move to investigate further, the Ghoul needs to take care of business. Seems it's a special night; the type of night devils and beasties roam the earth unfettered from their tour duty in Hell. The Ghoul needs to do some tour duty of his own. The last panel shows him holding a mother, son, and daughter of a gun even Hellboy would drool over.
Maybe I'll stick around for issue two. I'm a pushover for big guns, sultry dames, and demonic monsters mixing it up.