Ghost Whisperer is currently in its third season on television and has a few more new episodes that will air now that the writers’ strike in Hollywood has ended. Producers confirmed in February that the show is returning for a fourth season.
Created by John Gray, and based on James Van Praagh’s own experiences as a psychic and medium, the series stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as Melinda Gordon. Melinda operates an antique store and has had to deal with ghosts that appear to her to get messages to their loved ones, nearly her whole life.
With the success of the television franchise, IDW Publishing has started a comic book series base on Ghost Whisperer. The first issue is out now and is called “The Haunted.” It’s written by Carrie Smith and Becca Smith, and is illustrated by Elena Casagrande.
The two writers have written scripts for the television show, so it’s no surprise the issue parallels the movement of an episode perfectly. Elena Casagrande has worked on Star Trek Alien Spotlight: “Orions,” so she’s no stranger to tie-in work coming from a television series. Her panels come to life with movement and angles deliberately staged to seduce the eye.
I really liked the opening montage in the coffee shop and appreciate the quick way the story got up and got moving. There’s no stopping to explain things. The writers assume the readers picked up the issue because they’re fans of the show, and that’s not a bad assumption to make.
Three girls, obviously well to do, are menaced by a girl ghost that’s about their age. The ghost, Alice Henderson, is angry at them and seeking revenge for her untimely death. Melinda steps in and attempts to intercede, but Alice’s rage knows no bounds. When Alice disappears, though, Melinda is left facing a birdman dressed all in black.
The way the story progresses so quickly is fantastic. A mere flip of the page brings us to Professor Rick Payne, another regular from the show. Quickly, with great one-liners and snappy patter, Rick brings Melinda up to date on Osiris, the Egyptian God of the Underworld.
Back at the antique shop, Melinda confers with Delia, her partner, and finds out the name of the dead girl, as well as how she died after being hit by a car while crossing the street. Melinda goes back to high school and finds the three girls who had been menaced in the coffee shop. The scenes set there are great, and Casagrande’s pencils really showcase what she’s capable of when it comes to establishing an environment. I was impressed with her vision of the high school building.
Melinda goes to see the girls again when she finds out where they’re living and gets there just as Alice sweeps in for her revenge again. The action scenes and the angles Casagrande takes are marvelous. You can almost shoot the episode from these panels, or at least know how the story would look on television. The writers’ dialogue is spare and lean – and keeps the tale moving at breakneck pace.
When the story is resolved in tried and true fashion that’s become familiar to the regular viewers of the television series, the mystery of Osiris deepens. He doesn’t go away as Melinda had thought. Instead, he threatens Melinda directly.
This beginning arc hammers the reader with the same kind of seasonal epic storyline usually carried in the series. I can’t wait for the next issue to see what happens.