Review: Something Sinister Looms Downstairs In ‘Ghosted In LA #9’

by James Ferguson

The fallout of Agi’s spell to send Shirley to great beyond is being felt at Rycroft Manor. There’s a general unease among the ghosts as they come to terms with the failed spell and how Shirley is still around, not to mention Daphne’s ever-increasing presence. Something sinister is lurking in the basement of the building and that’s just one of the problems awaiting our characters.

Every issue of Ghosted in LA begins with a flashback focusing on a different character. This usually follows a ghost before they died. This issue changes the game a bit by giving us some background on Daphne’s roommate, Michelle. Up until this point, she’s been this moody grump who wants nothing to do with Daphne. These opening pages flesh her out a bit and humanize the character. Now we know where she’s coming from which makes the present day scenes all the more interesting.
Writer Sina Grace illustrates these first few pages, further differentiating them from the rest of the book. It’s amazing how quickly he turns the character of Michelle around, making her more sympathetic and showing how her story is in line with the overall theme of Ghosted in LA of finding yourself in the big city.

Tension rides high throughout this entire issue, first with the interpersonal conflict between the ghosts of Rycroft, then with Michelle’s newfound knowledge of the supernatural existence, and finally with whatever is down in the basement. Grace weaves in just the right amount of scares to keep you on your toes while maintaining the light tone of the series. There are still some nice laugh-out-loud moments.
Now that we know where Michelle is coming from, it makes her reaction to the ghosts all the more intriguing. Letterer DC Hopkins drives this feeling of shock home in some great arrangements of word balloons. Think about this for a second. Everything you’ve based your entire life on is thrown into question because you saw a translucent man fly through a wall on your way home. That’s a lot to grapple with.

The uneasy tone mixed with a warm welcome in Ghosted in LA #9 is matched by Siobhan Keenan’s stellar artwork, aided with inks by Lea Caballero. The characters look and act like people you’d want to hang out with, even (and especially) the dead ones. It’s very clear from their facial expressions that they’re often unclear as to what to do next, not only in life, but in the immediate future. Some of them are in way over their head. This is a familiar feeling for so many of us and it’s captured perfectly here…thankfully without delivering any extra anxiety to the reader.
The supernatural elements of whatever is going on in the basement are rather foreboding in nature. There’s rarely a good way to spin creepy ash-colored words and glyphs written on the walls. That almost always spells doom. While Ghosted in LA can be a fun read, it doesn’t let you forget that we’re dealing with the paranormal here and that can be dangerous.

Colorists Cathy Le and Jeremy Lawson blend these two tones very well. You get the ominous, eerie feeling of the basement dweller with the airy, energetic mood of the main characters. As usual, the ghosts are shown in a light blue color to distinguish them from the living, yet they are just as lively as the others.
Ghosted in LA has had a great run so far and this issue really ups the game. Since we’ve become so invested in these characters, having them suddenly in potential danger creates some great tension and excitement. I’m not expecting this to turn into a bloody horror comic or anything, but I’m eagerly anticipating where this story can go next. It’s a nice mix of solid character work, expressive artwork, and just the right amount of the spooky stuff.
Ghosted in LA #9 from BOOM! Studios is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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