The Ghost in the Shell: Global Neural Network review – top western creators present their take


In 2016, Kodansha Comics presented a collection of new Attack on Titan stories from some of the top creators working in western comics today. Now in a similar vein, we have a new collection of stories based on one of the cornerstones of manga in general – Ghost in the Shell. A covert mission in Shanghai reunites Kusanagi with a wartime rival amid shifting loyalties. The infiltration of an anti-cyberization cult calls for Section 9’s most “human” members to do things the old-fashioned way. A deep dive into the mind of a criminal forces Kusanagi to question the nature of imagination – and her own identity.


Like the aforementioned Attack on Titan Anthology, this collection features some top talent working in English language comics. Right from the get go, you are greeted by a stunning Dustin Nguyen (Batman, Descender) cover and a pin-up from Becky Cloonan (Demo, Punisher) which immediately sets the tone for what to expect. It is safe to assume that the majority of the creators working on this title have at some time in their development been inspired by Shirow Masamune’s sci-fi classic, and the cover and pin-up would feel right at home in any previous Ghost in the Shell release.


Likewise, once the stories begin, you can immediately see the creators have a clear understanding of the themes and characters that Masamune established. Max Gladstone in particular presents a terrific depiction of Major Kusanagi who has that no nonsense cool factor she is known for but also possesses some of the sass she had in Masamune’s original manga. Meanwhile, Alex de Campi’s (Ashes, Twisted Romance) portrayal of Togasa and Saito in her story feels like it could fit into any episode of the Stand Alone Complex anime. On the art front, David Lopez (Captain Marvel, All-New Wolverine) is a perfect fit for the series with his depictions of the Major and Aramaki being particularly great. Brent Schoonver (Astonishing Ant-Man) also turns in some dependably fantastic work.


Another major success of this anthology is the tying in of the themes of the original series with what is happening in today’s world. Alex de Campi and Giannis Milonogiannis’ story is particularly effective in this regard as they tie in the artificial body concept that the series is built around to modern day gender politics and gender identity. Similarly, Genevieve Valentine and Brent Schoonver examine body harvesting and organ transplants whilst successfully tying it in to the Ghost in the Shell mythology.


This is a worthy of collection of stories to the Ghost in the Shell canon that remains faithful to Masamune’s work whilst showcasing different styles of writing and art. There is no doubt it belongs in any fan’s collection.

The Ghost in the Shell: Global Neural Network is out now from Kodansha

9781632366030 – H/B – £25.00

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