Comic Book Review: GHOSTBUSTERS #1

Who you gonna call?
Full of nonstop hilarity and witty one-liners, GHOSTBUSTERS #1 (IDW Publishing) brings back your favorite eccentric parapsychologists and their ghost-catching business! The company is indeed booming as these ghost hunters are back with a brand new ghoulish adventure. With psychokinetic energy on the rise, huge specters are just about ready to take over New York City. Readers will surely have tremendous fun with this mix of horror and broad humor!

Being a true Renaissance Man, Dr. Egon Spengler is the brains of the entire operation. Dr. Peter Venkman is actually more interested in chasing after women than ghosts. He always gets himself into trouble for speaking aloud before thinking. Dr. Raymond Stanz is a true believer in the paranormal, but has difficulty understanding spirituality and faith. Without any scientific training, Winston Zeddemore doesn’t need a doctorate to take on ghosts.

Because Ray is more open-minded, he is revisited by mistakes he made in the past. Because he couldn’t control himself, the seemingly-unstoppable Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is still wrecking havoc in the streets of New York. In his nightmare, Ray is given a glimpse of the near-future. He is going to do something wrong that will put the lives of his friends at stake. The Third is coming and the upcoming apocalypse will be all Ray’s fault. There is nothing that the Ghostbusters can do to stop it.

Interestingly, whether it be the movies, the comics, or the cartoon series, GHOSTBUSTERS is certainly a challenge when trying to balance horror and comedy. If you listen closely to the DVD commentary track, co-screenwriter Harold Ramis and director Ivan Reitman discuss how they originally thought they were making a comedy. When Reitman presented the movie to his kids, they thought they were watching a horror movie. If you remember the cartoon series, Winston had to destroy the car, the Ecto-1, because it was possessed by a ghoul. Then in the next episode, the child-like Slimer rounds up his friends and saves the kidnapped Ghostbusters.

Author Erik Burnham clearly understands the personalities and dialogue of the Ghostbusters team, staying true to their voices. The team-up of Peter and Winston is a great choice in this first issue. They can’t stand each other but have to work together. An even deadlier threat awaits the Ghostbusters, not paranormal but actually human. Walter Peck returns, and he is still interested in bringing down the ghost-busting business.

Artist Dan Schoening captures a vibrantly cartoony look, which really benefits the comedy. In the opening pages, Schoening is having tremendous fun recreating the climatic confrontation between the Ghostbusters and Gozer. For laughs, readers should notice the new design of Stay Puft’s face. There is even a tongue-in-cheek homage to The Blues Brothers, a classic film from Dan Aykroyd. Luis Antonio Delgado heightens the bright green colors when Peter enters a slime-covered room.

GHOSTBUSTERS #1 is definitely a nonstop laugh-riot! Wasting no time for introductions, your favorite ghost hunters are back in action, ready to take on new and even deadlier hauntings. Though they are seen as a joke, the Ghostbusters are the only ones who can save New York from an upcoming apocalypse. In stores now, grab your proton packs and electro-trap!

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