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October 7, 2012

IDW Reviews: Ghostbusters Omnibus

IDW was nice enough to give Comic Attack a copy of the Ghostbusters Omnibus, which collects several different comics of the Ghostbusters that I wanted to read but got lost in the shuffle. I’m a huge Ghostbusters fan, and I’ve been wanting to catch up on the comic book versions of my favorite exterminators of the ectoplasmic. It reminds me I want to check out the ongoing; I need to catch up on that one, too.

The Other Side
Writer: Keith Champagne
Artist: Tom Nguyen
Inkers: Drew Geraci & John Aldernik
Colorist: Moose Baumann
Letters: Chris Mowry & Neil Uyetake
Editor: Andy Schmidt

This story had the concept of the Ghostbusters versus mob ghosts. Simple enough concept, but I found the whole purgatory part very bizarre. The ghosts also felt off. In the movies there were extra-dimensional entities like Gozer, Zuul, and Vinz Clortho who had some semblance of a personality; the only human with a cohesive personality was Viggo, who was a powerful sorcerer. So to have a bunch of very powerful and human thinking ghosts that can ignore walls and carry guns, it explains why they were able to kill the team. The ghosts and purgatory felt like a cool idea, for another series. Ghostbusters didn’t feel like the right choice for this story. I kept thinking about how Ghostbusters was compared to it, and the thing was so different and sounded like some of the less appealing Ghostbusters 3 scripts like the traveling to hell one. If there is one thing to give this story a one hundred percent on, it’s the art. The art throughout the book is solid, whether it goes for well defined features such as here, or cartoonish later on. It was an alright story that looked great, just not a story for the Ghostbusters.

Displaced Aggression
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Ilias Kyriazis
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Tom Waltz & Chris Ryall

This story, oof, it had a fun idea of the Ghostbusters being tossed around time. This story though, it reads like bad fan-fiction. The story introduces us to a female Ghostbuster. I remember the advertising for this story because I was excited by the concept of a new Ghostbuster, and I thought Janine or Dana was going to join the team. Sadly the character we get is Rachel Unglighter, and she is ridiculously bad. She is so over the top as a bad character, she built a time machine and a proton pack of her own that doesn’t have to worry about crossing the streams, and SPOILERS she’s Gozer’s half-sister! This character is every bad thing you could put into one. The issues mostly spend their time just grabbing the team together instead of a lot of fun traveling, then we finally get them stopping the major bad (it’s Gozer’s dad; in case it still doesn’t read like bad fan-fiction, it will with that). The art is fine, but seriously, this story was awful and I wish they could have made Rachel not be every terrible idea for a character.

Tainted Love
Writer: Dara Naraghi
Artist: Salgood Sam
Colorist: Bernie Mireault
Editor: Tom Waltz

Now starting from here the stories were all pretty much hits. These got the idea that the Ghostbusters are at their best when they have to deal with just weird ghosts, leaving the big events for later. This one has the Ghostbusters wrapping up a case at a school for Winston to learn that a woman he fancies may have a bit of a ghost problem, all in time for Valentine’s Day. The team goes to help her and bring in new equipment to stop the ghost of a spurned lover from long ago. The story has just the right mix of new and old with the new less-damaging proton packs being handy for small spaces, but needing work on the trap part, and just the Ghostbusters struggling to stop a nasty spud. The artwork favors heavy line work, but it works, and it reminded me a bit of Mike Allred’s stuff, which is a good thing for a Ghostbusters comic. All around a good one, and I hope another author uses those new proton packs, if only one more time.

Con-Volution
Writer: Keith Dallas and Jim Beard
Artist: Josh Howard
Colorist: Luis Antonio Delgado
Letters: Chris Mowry
Editor: Tom Waltz

We jump from Valentine’s Day to American Independence Day, where for some reason the four Ghostbusters go on a vacation together. Not sure why that’s the case, since none of them seem to like Ray’s choice of a comic convention. They make the cliched complaints in regards to conventions, weird costumes and smells, but the basic idea that the Ghostbusters stop the spread of a demon that possesses Ray with the aide of a Jack Kirby style ghost is fun. Since the team doesn’t have their packs for this adventure, they have to employ the aide of a ghost. I’m all for the Ghostbusters having to get creative with their busting. It’s probably the weakest of the holiday stories, but still light-years ahead of the time travel one. The art here reminds me of Jim Mahfood, and I could see a bunch of Ghostbusters one-shots being done in this style.

What In Sam Hain Just Happened?
Writer: Peter David and Kathleen David
Artist: Dan Schoening
Colorist: Luis Antonio Delgado
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Tom Waltz

A Janine story! I like the idea of Janine becoming a substitute Ghostbuster if not full time. I always used to get the Janine toys along with the rest of the team from the old Real Ghostbusters toy line since it only made sense that if you get enough ghosts, you’ll need more Ghostbusters. This case doesn’t mean that the team needs Janine, but that Janine needs money, and a local rich guy with a desire for a ghost hunting reality show to fix his mansion works just fine for our favorite receptionist. This art works for the series as being fun to look at for both human and ghost designs. The art is fun in a cartoony way. I could see a modern day cartoon using this style, though it’d probably end up CG. I did find Janine’s uniform to be an odd choice; it’s rather revealing and even has her name on it, but this whole situation is slap dash, so it makes no sense that she have a custom uniform. I do like that so far all three stories are about using alternative methods of stopping the ghosts to show why they aren’t just the gang’s usual jobs.

Guess What’s Coming to Dinner?
Writer: James Eatock
Artist: Dan Schoening
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Tom Waltz

This Thanksgiving short ends a bit abruptly with me wondering how things got that way, but it’s a simple silly story. A possessed turkey is a simple and silly enough story that it made up for the lack of explanation of what was going on with that stuffing. We don’t get the resolution to what happens, just another weird day in the life of the team. I could honestly read stories like this all the time, though I wish we’d get the full story of the catch.

Past, Present, and Future
Writer: Rob Williams
Artists: Diego Jourdan
Colors: Tom Smith/ Scorpion Studios
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Tom Waltz

The final story, and it’s a Christmas one! Of course it’s a play on A Christmas Carol, but with twists! Instead of this story’s Scrooge figuring things out the first time, he’s been plagued by the spirits every year in hopes he’ll change his ways. The Ghostbusters get called in for their biggest haul yet, four million dollars to finish them off. The story takes a quick turn with Peter becoming just as Scroogey, and the mission becomes about him. Thankfully he figures things out, and saves the day along with the rest of the team. I realized it was kind of a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory scenario with the Ghosts of Christmas, which is awesome. This one has super detailed art and it works for this story; it gives the Dickensian vibe and works with the characters.

So all in all, while the first two comics weren’t my style, the latter set were a lot of fun. If you love the Ghostbusters in any way, you should pick this up. It reminds me I need to go pick up that ongoing series. Who am I going to call to get that? (I’m sorry, I had to make some sort of joke off it, I have a problem.)

Alexander Bustos
drbustos@comicattack.net

 

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