REVIEW: Specter Inspectors #1 – Ghostbusters Gone Viral?

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Specter Inspectors #1 Review

Cape Grace is one of the most haunted towns in all of the United States with disappearances and spirits haunting all of its history. The Specter Inspectors are here to investigate, and maybe go viral in the process. Cowritten by Bowen McCurdy and Kaitlyn Musto with art by McCurdy and letters by Jim Campbell.

Synopsis:

The Specter Inspectors are ghost hunters riding high on the success of a viral video. But their latest investigation lands them in hot water with a being that may spell big trouble.

It is published by BOOM! Studios imprint BOOM! Box.


Specter Inspectors #1 BOOM! Studios Comic Book Review
Specter Inspectors #1, courtesy of BOOM! Studios

Specter Inspectors Story

The story follows a team of amateur ghost hunters as they try to build their following on social media. After a video goes viral, they head to the town of Cape Grace to investigate its mysterious stories. The team is led by the passionate Noa who has been pursuing ghosts since she was a kid. She’s accompanied by her sarcastic brother Gus, camera man Ko, and Astrid.

Behind the spirit set dressings Specter Inspectors is a relationship story. Astrid is a deep unbeliever in ghosts but will do anything to help Noa get the social media attention she wants. When they are exploring the town hall, she reveals that the video that sent them viral was actually faked. This sends Noa spiraling as she had isolated the two of them to get an opportunity to flirt with her. Their relationship and how it grows is by far the best part of this book. The writing team creates a relationship that builds on the struggles the characters go through.

As the story progresses, their struggle turns from normal to supernatural. Astrid starts to come down with a flu before she ends up staying in her hotel room for three days. After no response Noa breaks down the door to a scene of chaos. Astrid has torn the room apart and, to Noa’s horror, is on the ceiling. After a short fight they figure out that Astrid was possessed by a demon at the town hall.

They try to leave town to find an exorcist but soon find themselves in a loop and unable to leave. The demon has a curse preventing it from leaving, and when they threaten to call someone the demon reveals that forceful removal will destroy Astrid. Their only option is to help the demon find something that was taken from them long ago, their name. The oversized page length of this book allows it to build perfectly to that final page reveal.

This story combines well with the art to be a great read for the YA crowd. Noa and her friends are fun and likeable characters while also being realistic characters that readers could see in real life. Noa is exactly the type of character one could see making podcasts about what she loves. Astrid has goth style vibes that might make her look off putting but she has a heart of gold behind her. She’d go to great lengths to make Noa happy because she legitimately cares about her.

These characters are great figures for young readers to see, especially two characters portraying a realistic lesbian relationship. Instead of a stereotype these two are real people who have fun with each other but also have struggles in their relationship. Building on this fantastic first issue, the writers need to keep this relationship key to the plot as I’m loving the two of them.

Specter Inspectors Art

The aforementioned oversized length of the book gives McCurdy room to stretch their artistic muscles in a really brilliant way. Multiple splash pages perfectly set the scene and help build the mystery and beauty of Cape Grace. With pages emphasizing the size and scope of a room, this book is perfect for its young audience as it never fits too much into one page and flows easily from panel to panel.

The art style is simple yet powerful, one feels like they are reading a carton series with the over-exaggerated features and bright colors. And for a story about ghosts the art is never too scary, great for young readers. I could give this to my younger cousins, and they’d be so happy to get ghost stories that they can read.

Specter Inspectors Conclusion

McCurdy and Musto have created a tale perfect for a younger audience. The book will be reminiscent of shows like Gravity Falls, with young protagonists chasing down mysteries while dealing with the struggles of relationships. It also is a great way to introduce young readers to strong lesbian protagonists that they can relate to.

These characters are like them, trying to build a social media following while trying to fall in love. It’s the perfect ghost story for the modern era. Hopefully the video aspect doesn’t fade and continues to be a strong element of this series as it could take the series into unique territory unseen in this genre.


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