Current Reviews


Ghost Projekt

Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011
By: Jason Sacks

Joe Harris
Steve Rolston
Oni Press
The Soviet Union did some horrible things to try to defeat the West during the Cold War. Of course, the Soviets unleashed chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons onto the world. However, they also unleashed something stronger, nastier, and more powerful than most people would ever expect.

Joe Harris and Steve Rolston deliver an intense and involving adventure story in this graphic novel. Ghost Projekt is part buddy movie, part supernatural thriller, part raw adventure. In other words, it is a bright, fun, and engaging summer movie in comics form.

A lot of what makes this book so interesting is the interplay between American weapons inspector Will Haley and Russian detective Anya Romanova. They are just not suited for each other. Anya initially dislikes “cowboy” Will, whom she sees as being ineffective and weak--at least until he gains her trust.

Meanwhile, Will dislikes Anya for her Russian coldness and her intensity. Yet we readers are invited to see the real Anya. Writer Joe Harris does a nice job of forcing us to see inside Anya’s outer shell--revealing the woman from both the inside out and the outside in. She has a traumatic secret in her past, and learning about that secret helps readers understand Anya better. It doesn’t make us like her more, but it makes us appreciate where she’s coming from.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of the book is that it’s very much a portrait of Russia today. We go to Siberia and to Red Square, and we see frozen tundra as frightening and stark as it is beautiful. The book has a feeling of reality, like a Jason Bourne movie, that brings the book’s settings vividly alive.

Steve Rolston, who drew a standout arc on Queen & Country, does a great job here of bringing the action to life. He’s very adept in drawing scenes of exquisite horror and quiete domestic life. There are a few scenes that take place in the Ghost Projekt that are quite frightening because of the deadpan way that Rolston presents them.

His people are also very vivid. Anya, especially, seems to almost come off the printed page after a while because she’s so rich and compelling. Rolston’s other characters are also absorbing--particularly his depiction of Will’s partner, Nic. However, my favorite character is a cat that lives at the Ghost Project. That feline seems to always be at the right place at the right time, which is awfully darn strange for a feline.

I haven’t even mentioned the interesting supernatural mystery at the core of this book. Well, you’ll have to discover that for yourself--along with the fantastic glow-in-the-dark cover that just makes me smile every time I see it.

This book is a heck of a lot of fun. I loved seeing this movie in comics form.

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