Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Comic Book Review: Ghostbusters #1

Although the Ghostbusters films were  released during the summers of 1984 and 1989, respectively, the characters have long been associated and celebrated around Halloween, so it's only appropriate that IDW Publishing release the first issue of their new Ghostbusters comic at the start of the season.  IDW has held the comic book license for the Ghostbusters for a few years now, and has released several miniseries since, but this is the company's first attempt at an ongoing with the franchise.  How does it hold up?  Find out now!

The issue opens up with a concise description of each of the four paranormal experts in case anyone is unfamiliar with them (which I find impossible to believe, but OK), but the sequence turns out to be a dream taking place in the mind of Ray Stanz (Dan Akroyd's character).  At the end of his dream, he is told by a herald (in the image of Blues Brother John Belushi, a nice touch) that "The Third is Coming."  What "The Third" is remains to be seen. Meanwhile, an unnamed New Yorker is attacked by a ghost through his bathroom mirror, a ghost which also briefly appears in a mirror in Ray's bedroom after Ray awakens from his dream.

Whatever it is, it is very involved with Ray, as Egon takes a scan of his brain and finds a great deal of unusual activity.  Ray, it is assumed, is the conduit through which the next great villain will tether itself to the boys.

A subplot involves Winston taking Peter to investigate a young boy's claim of haunting in his tenement; the boy is the nephew of Peter MacNicol's character from the second film.  When Winston and Peter arrive, the building is covered in green slime.  As they stake out the building, they encounter a spectre very familiar to Ghostbusters fans.  Finally, a three-page backup story sets up former EPA adversary Walter Peck as the new head of a government oversight department in charge of paranormal investigators such as the Ghostbusters, which I'm sure will cause grief for the guys down the road.

I was pleasantly surprised by the issue.  The characterization of the Ghostbusters and Janine is spot on; no one does or says anything out of the ordinary for them.  At the same time, writer Erik Burnham doesn't try to do caricatures of Bill Murray or Dan Akroyd either; the characters are on display here, not the actors. The story has a good balance of supernatural happenings, characterization, and gives you plenty to take in while leaving you curious to see what will happen in the next few issues.

The artwork by Dan Schoening (illustration) and Luis Antonio Delgado (coloring) is cartoon-like in a good way, being expressive while still holding a faint resemblance to the live action characters we know and love.  And except for one instance of mild innuendo and the appearance of the word "ass," this is fairly suitable for younger audiences.  If you're a solid Ghostbusters fan like myself, I recommend IDW's Ghostbusters #1.

Ghostbusters #1 retails for $3.99.  To find a comic shop near you, go to Comic Shop Locator.  Thanks!

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