Grim Ghost #3, Atlas Comics

The Grim Ghost #3, July 1975

“He is… The Grim Ghost”

Script: Tony Isabella

Art: Ernie Colón

The Grim Ghost stops a pair of thugs mugging an old lady. A demonic figure appears and saves the goons from their Hell-bound journey, garbing them in weird, super-hero type gear. The demon is a horned cyclops called Brimstone, and he seeks nothing less than the downfall of Satan himself!

The Ghost travels to Hell and finds bodies strewn around and all in disarray. Satan comes over to chat, and tells our hero that Brimstone—“an ambitious sort”—is responsible for the carnage. Not being very good at warfare, and unable to visit Earth personally, Satan tasks the Ghost with stopping Brimstone. “Isn’t that somewhat akin to facing a cannon with a musket?” he asks, not unreasonably. In response, Satan grants the Ghost extra powers and a helper in the form of Lady Sarah Braddock. Her heaving bosoms are the big news here—well, those, and the fact that she was the heartless wench who had Matthew Dunsinane hanged!

The extremely odd couple return to Earth and chill out at Dunsinane’s mansion. He stays in his 18th Century gear, but she dresses in typical 1970s fashion, with her heaving bosoms still to the fore. A ring on the doorbell heralds a visit from Jaqueline Marten, whom you’ll recall from issue #2. She reveals that her father, the police commissioner, is being held responsible for the “escape” of the Magruder Boys, his tale of a highwayman-style figure carting them off impressing no one.

Braddock takes over Marten’s body, and she and the Grim Ghost embark on a mysterious mission. Returning, the pair are attacked by the two goons from the beginning of this issue. The Ghost is knocked cold, and Braddock—in Marten’s body remember—is dragged off. As the Ghost comes to, Braddock throws a vial at the goons and they cry out in agony, transforming back into regular clothing. The Ghost shoots ’em with his pistol and they’re dispatched to Hell. It turns out that the vial contains holy water, something that only the body of the human Jaquie Marten could handle.

Brimstone appears and attacks. The Ghost shoots him, to no avail. Then he recalls the chat he had with Satan, and uses his new powers to invade Brimstone’s mind. He shows Brimstone that Satan has ensured that if he is destroyed by any of his flock, they will perish too. Unable to take this revelation, Brimstone fades away in a flash of Hellfire.

Braddock leaves Marten’s body and wanders away while the Ghost takes the unconscious commissioner’s daughter home, pondering “How can a ghost fall in love?”

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The spectacular cover is by Russ Heath, and is far and away the best artwork in this comic. It doesn’t have a great deal to do with what happens inside, but what the heck.

New writer Tony Isabella bring some much-needed continuity to the book, and you get the feeling he was really going somewhere—with seeds planted for long-term plotting, and threads pulled in from previous issues. In all, a promising start. Sadly, it was all for naught, as this was the last issue, but full marks to Tony for giving it the old college try. The main plot itself is exciting and works well, though the denouement is a bit sloppy. One could ask why that ol’ joker Satan went to all the bother, if he knew he was never in real danger. Still, never mind, it’s very readable.

Ernie Colón’s art is not very strong this issue. It looks extremely rushed, and the first few pages don’t look like his work at all!He went on the much better things.

So, that was The Grim Ghost. All in all, a not bad Atlas Comic. If you fancy a taste of what Atlas could offer at its best, you could do worse than check out any issue of this trio.

Image ©2012 the copyright holder