In Review: Ghostbusters 101 #4

This series continues to bring out the best of the movies in an all new adventure. Recommended.

The covers: A threesome to scare up if one is a collector of ghostly covers. The Regular is by Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado and continues the map of New York City with characters running in front of it. This issue features (who I believe to be) Cait Banner, Dr. Ray Stantz, and Evan Torres making their way to the right. When this cover is placed next to other Regular covers it forms a giant map with all the characters. The Subscription has some of the cast reenacting the iconic poster from The Breakfast Club. From left to right are Erin Glibert, Jillian Holtzmann, Ray Stantz, Peter Venkman, and Janine Melnitz. Cute and funny frontpiece from Tim Lattie and Delgado. My favorite cover is the Retailer Incentive cover that features a wraparound Photo cover. The front features a radiant Leslie Jones as Patty Tolan, while on the back is Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore. Both sides of this cover are stellar. Overall grades: Regular A, Subscription A, and Retailer Incentive A+

The story: With realities merging, both Ghostbusters teams have met and decided to team up. Since it seems that the dimensions are colliding on Ellis Island that’s where they go. Before they arrive there’s plenty of fun interactions from writer Erik Burnham. Jillian can’t keep still and digs through the other team’s gear, coming up with a big gun that impresses her. Patty realizes that Winston is the spitting image of her uncle, thirty years younger, but he looks just like the older man. This realization makes Erin wig out, “Oh…Oh…This is…This is bringing things back. Maybe this is all a dream. An awful dream, but like the Wizard of Oz? Where folks from real life show up in your dream as something different?…I just have to force myself to wake up and –” She’s unable to finish her sentence because Jillian has to test a theory in a funny way. Their dialogue is cut short when they arrive at the island, which has a portal above it releasing a stream of energy. There’s some good foreshadowing from Patty who tells Winston that Ellis Island used to be called “Gibblet Island” because the location was used to execute pirates. Back at their headquarters, Kylie is showing Abby the books they have on the spiritual realm. Egon shows up to put in his two cents just as a tremendous BOOM hits them. Leave it to Kevin to explain what’s happened. Burnham has got a perfect handle on all the characters, with all their voices sounding true to their film counterparts. Once again, Jillian is a high point in the book for outright comedy, though Egon and Abby have some fun lines as well. There are also some solid scares with ghostly pirates, though they’re not the worst of the apparitions the Ghostbusters have to fight. The conclusion to this issue is funny, with both teams doing something they shouldn’t have done. Overall grade: A

The art: The first three pages of this story have the Ghostbusters traveling by boat to the island. This would seem to be a tough job for any artist, as the characters are trapped in a confining location and they’re giving a lot of information. Visual tedium could set in, but artist Dan Schoening does an outstanding job making the trip interesting to look at. The first panel on Page 1 establishes where the characters are located. The second panel shows several of the characters, with Jillian being hidden by the lid to a case she’s looking into. This leads to a big laugh at the bottom of the page when Jillian reveals what she’s found. Helping with the humor is the devious joy on her face. Patty gets some good panels on the second page when she speaks with Winston, which is followed by Erin freaking out, but brought back to reality by Jillian. There’s a partial double-page splash on 4 and 5 which has Schoening doing an excellent job on the setting. Additionally, the boat is closer to the reader and he does some really fine detailed work on it. When the spirits appear to battle the heroes they look terrific and their skirmishes with the ‘busters are fun. The second panel on Page 10 has an incredibly subtle visual that made me laugh out loud, with the dialogue increasing the humor. The real threat of the issue appears on 13 and has a really cool design — scary and funny. Another great visual gag ends the book, with post-its being a surprising source for humor. Schoening can do no wrong. Overall grade: A

The colors: Luis Antonio Delgado with Anna Chher are the colorists for this issue and they improve the stellar artwork of Schoening considerably. On Page 1 the reader knows that the situation is not normal, as the sky is a crimson red at night. Though the heroes are on a boat, at night, they can be clearly seen, with colors used to darken them slightly to create the evening. Jillian is a standout character for her lightly orange tinted glasses becoming a focal point when she appears. The rip in the sky is a wonderful liquid blue, while the pillar of smoke emitting from it is a light violet; both colors stand out against the red sky. The ghosts in this issue are bright emerald with an outline of spectral lime, making them seem illuminated in every panel they’re in. The monster that appears on 13 is a warm rose, giving it a demonic aura. The post-it gag works because of the neon yellow that appears throughout the panel.  The final panel of the book needs to have precise coloring to sell the action and seal the joke in the dialogue and Delgado and Chher make it work handsomely. Overall grade: A

The letters: This issue’s dialogue, sounds, and ghostly waits are created by Neil Uyetake. There’s a lot of dialogue for Uyetake to place in panels and he’s always done a commendable job placing it without stepping on key elements of the art, and he continues to do so in this book. The sounds are really fun, from the tiny TEK to the ghosts getting zapped — POP, SHWAK, WUP. What’s also a plus is that they visually are fun, with the letters warping in odd directions, as one would expect if they were the sounds of ghosts getting taken out. The big bad of the book has got a particularly creepy font for its screams, looking like bones. Uyetake always does an excellent job on whatever he does. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Strong writing maintains the laughs and scares of the films and the visuals are of the highest caliber. This series continues to bring out the best of the movies in an all new adventure. Recommended. Overall grade: A

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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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