In Review: Ghostbusters 101 #5

Two teams are indeed better than one.

The covers: The A by Dan Schoening with colors by Luis Antonio Delgado continues the map/poster covers and it features a fun appearance by a funny character. Continuing to run before a map of New York, Janine Melnitz and Kevin Tanaka are going in the right direction, while on a motorcycle that’s heading in the wrong direction is the continually clueless Kevin Beckman. This is the perfect visual to show how terminally lost Kevin is. Fantastic! Tim Lattie does the B cover with colors also by Delgado. This poster will look familiar to fans of film, as it copies the layout of American Graffiti. All the Ghostbusters are on the cover, mirroring the poses of those from the famous George Lucas movie. Terrific attention to detail by Latte and the coloring by Delgado is great, with the electricity above and below the image the perfect frame. The final frontpiece is the Retailer Incentive Wraparound Photo cover. On the front is a nervous looking Erin Gilbert, played by  Kristen Wiig, while on the back is Dr. Peter Venkman, played by Bill Murray, looking up at Zuul. I’m a fan of photo covers, so this was the cover I purchased. Overall grades: A A, B A-, and Retailer Incentive A+

The story: Erik Burnham opens this penultimate with a news broadcast of the mayor of New York trying to tell the people of the city that two Statues of Liberty doesn’t mean that things are out of control. In fact, he has Walter Peck, the head of Paranormal Contracts Oversight Commission to speak on the event. Peck steps to the microphones and says he’s spoken with the Ghostbusters and that “The danger is minimal and the matter is well in hand.” A turn of the page is set shortly after this appearance with Peck at the Ghostbusters’ headquarters telling Janine that “The matter is not well in hand!” He’s shooed out by Jillian who frightens him off by acting like her normal self. To get Holtzmann out of the office, Janine tells her that she’s gotten a call about strange noises up in the Bronx. “Strange noises up in the Bronx?” Jillian says. “Huh. That was the name of my one-woman Kiss cover band in college.” The rest of the ‘busters are in the lab trying to determine if any of the 101 class has “any trace of the the entity that attacked them when they first opened the door to (the ladies’) dimension.” As Egon and Ray show off their technical prowess, Erin asks why they don’t have a lock on the dimensional door. This causes the men to shoot a look between them that has Abby proclaim, “Unbelievable. You didn’t even think of it, did you?” This leads to Ray, Winston, Patty, and Jillian out to catch the ghost in the Bronx and becoming involved in a literary take down. Who and what the quartet face is very funny, with the one-liners from all involved funny. It’s especially fun to see how some members of the team see themselves as better than the other. Speaking of which, Erin and Abby have a big scene that reunifies how they feel about busting ghosts and will lead to some changes, once they get back to their own dimension. This story is fun and has characters that actually grow — How many comics can make that claim? Overall grade: A

The art: It’s impossible not to love the art of Dan Schoening, who puts his own unique spin on each character to have them resemble their film counterparts just enough to allow the reader to hear the dialogue in each actor’s voice. Jillian continues to be the character that has the most visual fun. Given her loopy nature, she’s always doing something bizarre that creates laughter, such as her ribbing of Peck on Page 2. Seeing the Ghostbusters 101 class in their headgear on 3 also creates a big chuckle. However, don’t think that Schoening can’t do go work with subtlety; check out the looks in the fourth and fifth panels on 4. There’s also some good action on Page 5 as Erin has a minor panic attack and Abby reacts to it. The ghost that appears on 8 looks just enough like the real person for me to identify who he was before he’s named. The second spirit that appears on 9 was outstanding and has some tremendous scenes on later pages. Though the characters are definitely praise worthy, attention should also be given to the superior settings that Schoening places his characters in. The first panel of the book has a terrific bar, with some objects on a high shelf, one of which would cause Willie Scott to pass out. The headquarters of the Ghostbusters is picture perfect with all of its furniture, gadgets, and bric-á-brac on shelves. The cemetery where the ghost is battled looks amazing and features statuary that would look familiar to anyone who’s been to Fantasyland for a wild ride. If you doubt my praise, skip to 18 to look at the first panel — it’s flawless in every possible way. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Excellent work on this book can also be found in the coloring by Luis Antonio Delgado with Anna Chher. The book has realistic colors that call back to the films and give this book a strong sense of reality. Case in point, look at the first page. The bar has the colors one would associate with an upscale pub, while the colors of the mayor’s office connote his position. The Ghostbusters’ headquarters is colored as it looks in the film, with the characters’ wild hair colors and skin allowing them to pop off the page. The cemetery is dark as expected, however it is still bright enough for the reader to take in all that Schoening has drawn — this is a key sign of an outstanding colorist. The ghost are wonderfully white and blue, and they explode off the page with their colors. Making the final spirit especially strong is the coloring of the sounds it emits. This is a great job. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Television transmissions, dialogue, sounds, singing, and ghostly dialogue are created by Neil Uyetake. There’s a lot of dialogue that has to go in several panels and not once does Uyetake’s work feels like it’s crowding the artwork. The singing is very fun, done in a font that looks as though it’s actually being sung. It’s the sounds that really stand out once again on this book. The large ghost at that end of this book has some outstanding ones and Page 16 has a good variety that are outstanding. Overall grade: A

The final line: I don’t want this to end! Having both teams working together is fun and makes me want to watch all the films as soon as I’m done reading. If a comic can get a reader to run to rewatch the films, it’s more than successful as a companion piece to them. This book shows that two teams are indeed better than one. Overall grade: A

To purchase a print or digital copy go to http://www.idwpublishing.com/product/ghostbusters-101-5/

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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