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Posted on Apr 3, 2007 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

Iron Ghost – Comic Review

By Paul Glasser

ig.jpgComic Review: Iron Ghost.
Publisher: Image Comics, Issue: 6 of 6
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Sergio Cariello

“Iron Ghost” is a film-noir murder-mystery set during the fall of Berlin in 1945.

The name-sake of the series is a sinister vigilante who prowls the rubble-strewn streets in search of Nazi party members who are attempting to flee the city. In his own violent way, the Iron Ghost brings his enemies to justice.

Although Berlin is literally collapsing around them, two Berlin police inspectors have been given the task to hunt down and arrest their shadowy prey. Inspector Tannhauser and Volz, his deputy, respond to a string of brutal, dramatic murders that have caught the attention of Herr Shtal, a Gestapo officer.

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At times, their task seems impossible, with daily bombing raids by the Americans and British which disrupt communications.

Outside the police station, a seething mass of desperate refugees clogs the streets. With so much confusion, a wide array of suspects are drawn into the investigation, including:

  • Frau Lisa, a sexy, manipulative Gestapo clerk
  • Klaus, an ambitious industrialist obsessed with wonder weapons
  • Werner, a former journalist-turned propagandist
  • Col. Meier, an ace of the Eastern Front, scared both emotionally and physically
  • Capt. Von Rammsteiger, a brash and ruthless Panzer commander

The sinister figure of the Iron Ghost recalls the appearance of the Shadow, a 1930s pulp magazine hero. For his part, the Iron Ghost is clad in a long, billowing black trench coat and a wide-brimmed black fedora. His costume has several distinctive accessories, including a piercing red-monocle, a thick black bandana that obscures his face and a prominently displayed Iron Cross badge. The Iron Ghosts employs a vast cache of weapons against his enemies, including panzerfausts and flamethrowers, but his favorite tools are a brace of heavy, powerful .45 caliber Luger pistols.

On the page, the Iron Ghost presents a powerful image both to his victims and the reader. He is cold and sinister when stalking his prey and his presence has a powerful effect on them. His intimidating aura is sometimes all it takes to break the resistance of a hardened killer. At the end of each encounter, the Iron Ghost’s dark visage erupts in a hail of bullets and a barrage of fiery explosions.

Each issue also features dual-cover art that reflects the nature of the Iron Ghost. One cover always presents a mysterious figure shrouded in darkness, while the other depicts a graphic and brutal combat scene.

Hints of the Iron Ghost’s identity and motivations are slowly revealed in issues 1-5, but it all comes cascading together at the end, much like an Agatha Christie mystery novel. Along the way, the detectives are thwarted by several false leads and dead-ends. But, it all builds to a dramatic and fiery conclusion, as the Allied bombers pound Berlin into submission, and the relentless vigilante pursues his final victim.

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