Specter Inspectors #1 is the first issue of a new mini-series from BOOM! Studios imprint BOOM! Box created and written by Bowen McCurdy and Kaitlyn Musto with art by McCurdy and letters by Jim Campbell. The new series stars Noa, Astrid, Gus, and Ko, a group of content creator ghost hunters who fancy themselves the Specter Inspectors.
Right off the bat, I love every one of these characters. Noa is headstrong, absolutely sure of her connection to ghosts and spirits, but super anxious about pretty much everything else. Astrid absolutely loves Noa, so even if she doesn’t necessarily believe in the whole ghosts thing, she’ll support Noa until the end anyway. Gus, who seems to be Noa’s younger sibling based on their shared skin tone, similar hair, and no other reason I can conceive of for them tagging along, is a total pain in the butt. The group’s teenager adds the most comic relief with their perpetual need to put everyone else down. But you can tell that it’s in a loving way, not a standoffish way, so you can’t help but love it. And Ko is a big scaredy-cat who pretends to be there to lug the camera. He has the least characterization in the issue, but there is still enough to go on to get excited for.
The crew is at the Cape Grace town hall, the most haunted place in the most haunted town in America. They’re shooting an episode of their show, which I can only surmise is some YouTube-esque web show that they built together. But Noa and Astrid get into a bit of an argument about the direction their show should take. And then things go really wrong when Noa thinks she feels the presence of a spirit.
I love the comic so far. I love the group dynamic, I love the little hints at the characters’ backgrounds we get, and I love the turn into the true plot the book takes near the end. A few times, the dialogue gets a bit over-dense when giving some exposition, and the frame story element was not entirely clear to me on my first read. But overall, the comedy is solid, the emotions are visceral, and the plot has me totally hooked. Forget about a limited series run, BOOM! Studios, sign this book up to be your next ongoing hit.
The four characters are each drawn with a clear personality. Just by looking at them, you can get a sense of who they are, which does perhaps play somewhat into some stereotypes about gender expression, but as a visual medium, it helped me quickly latch onto each of them. There are already hints at deeper personality traits than just the surface ones, though, and BOOM! Box has a strong history of characters who exceed expectations, so I have reasonable confidence.
As for the spooky aspects, Specter Inspector #1 definitely hits the right notes. Narratively, there is a possession story with a comedic flair and hints of a dark background in Noa’s life. Visually, the creepy areas are definitely creepy in a kid-friendly kind of way, and the demon that shows up later does an excellent job of using a green tint and sharp teeth to distinguish between the possessed character and the demon themself.
The art style itself is also perfect for a spooky kids comic. The thick lines and cartoonish direction marks the story clearly as safe for juveniles or non-horror fans. Meanwhile, the colors mostly mixed greens and blues during the investigation scenes, give off a perfectly spooky vibe. I love the little touches around characters’ faces like exclamation points, swooshes, or diamonds that help accentuate their expressions. The way the characters’ hair, especially Noa’s great curls, are all disheveled in the scenes post-encounter is also a great little detail. Lastly, any time the sky is depicted within Cape Grace, it is so gorgeous and absolutely captures a sense of wonder just as much as it is eery. The letters by Campbell also perfectly match the tone and style of the comic.
Specter Inspectors #1 is a great start to a new series that I hope can fill a Lumberjanes shaped hole in my heart. Its characters already have me loving them, its premise is goofy, spooky, and serious at once, and I’m left riveted by what may come next. I’m starting my campaign to extend Specter Inspectors into a full ongoing series now because this first issue was great, and I absolutely cannot wait for more.
Specter Inspectors #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Specter Inspectors #1
Specter Inspectors #1 is a great start to a new series that I hope can fill a Lumberjanes shaped hole in my heart. Its characters already have me loving them, its premise is goofy, spooky, and serious at once, and I’m left riveted by what may come next. I’m starting my campaign to extend Specter Inspectors into a full ongoing series now, because this first issue was great and I absolutely cannot wait for more.