This is a spin-off mini-series to the Codename Baboushka series. This is the same series that inspired the 2017 “Atomic Blonde” film starring Charlize Theron. While the comic property has been the focus of Hollywood hype; this mini does not deliver.
Imagine a Russian version of a female James Bond drawn in an Anime style that slightly resembles the worst of Darwyn Cooke. That’s where Ghost Station Zero falls. There are positive elements to this comic, but it feels disjointed and forced. The pacing is manic; the art bounces between manga/anime and Eastern European in a way that takes away from the enjoyment of the story.
In this issue we follow agent Babouskka as she tries to fight off a fellow agent and learn more about the mysterious man known as Temple. Somewhere between the snowmobile chases, the hand to hand combat, and the destruction of multiple locations there is a complex spy plot taking place that doesn’t quite land.
Ghost Station Zero suffers from a common stumbling block that takes down most action comics and that is the sacrifice of narration for action. There is a very complex plot happening within the pages of this comic; the problem is that there is little time to absorb the exposition before it’s time to move on to the next gun fight or chase scene. It’s like watching someone play Call of Duty in fast forward.
The artwork threw me. I’m not a fan of this style at all and it took away from my enjoyment. While I can appreciate various styles of illustration and animation; this hybrid of western and eastern styles just made me frustrated. This really got in my way of enjoying the comic. I can see how some fans will be able to look past this personal bias and find more substance from this series.
While a foreign espionage thriller may appeal to a global audience, I don’t see this comic finding a wide fan-base in the states. There is a disconnect in story/art/plot that is just too high a hurdle for casual audiences to jump over.
Unless you have already purchased issues 1 and 2, I would advise against putting your $3.99 towards another Image release.
Final Score: 1 ½ out of 5 bottles of vodka.
Ghost Station Zero #3
Story: Antony Johnson
Art: Shari Chankhamma
Colors: Shari Chankhamma, Robin Hoelzemann
Publisher: Image Comics