In Review: Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary: Ghostbusters: One-Shot

A fun, but quick, one-shot that shows the Ghostbusters at their finest.

The covers: A trio of covers to choose among for this anniversary one-shot. The Regular cover by Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado has the boys standing on some damp ground. Surrounding them is an immensely high wall of water containing all kinds of marine life, including fish and sharks. Oh, and there’s the face of a very upset bearded man. This is the perfect tease of what’s to be found in this issue. The Retailer Incentive cover by Anthony Marques, J. Bone, and Delgado has the Ghostbusters’ logo peeking out from the bottom right corner. Next to it is a smiling Ray. Behind him is grinning Peter. Opposite and behind him is a very thin Winston and a shocked looking Egon behind him. All the characters are on a light orange background. This is okay, but I’m not liking the likenesses too much. Better is the IDW Convention Variant cover by Shoening and Delgado. Gozer is in the upper left and Vigo is in the upper right. Between both spooks is the angry Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Below them are the four ghostbusters  and under them six of the movie ghosts, including Slimer. All of these characters are framed in a beam of energy from the proton pack guns. ECTO-1 is under this and to the left is the Ghostbuster’s ghost logo holding up a green 35 and a proton pack is in the lower right. This is fantastic. Overall grades: Regular A, Retailer Incentive cover C, and IDW Convention Variant A+

The story: Erik Burnham’s tale titled “Heavy Water” introduces Dr. Abner Polk, an appraiser of artifacts recently shipped to the Met from the Mediterranean. He’s baffled why he’s received a court order that allows the Ghostbusters to look for a “psychokinetically charged artifact” he’s just received. Ray finds the tablet and he Peter take it back to their headquarters where even Egon can’t translate it. Peter brings in a stack of books that Egon and Ray are hoping will help. However, Peter drops the stack on the table, spilling a bottle of water near the artifact which causes the liquid to swirl about it before engulfing it. A form rises with the tablet as its center. No one can understand what the specter is saying, but the problem is solved when the table attaches to Egon’s chest and he’s possessed by the spirit. The poor buster flies out the window in search of answers to the state of the world. “What? It’s not the first time he’s jumped out a window,” is all Peter can say to Ray. Getting Winston and loading up ECTO-1, the trio are able to discover where the spirit is. How Ray is able to clear the civilians from the location is smart and funny. The conversation at this site is great and how the possession is solved is classic Ghostbusters. I loved the reality check that ends Page 13. The final confrontation with the spirit is really quick, with his presence solved, sadly, quickly. However, a bigger threat appears and, again sadly, it, too, is solved quickly. This story could have gone on much, much longer. I enjoyed this, but the ghosts were so quickly overcome. This might be because I’ve never read a contained Ghostbusters’ comic before. Entertaining, but too quick. Overall grade: B

The art: I am always impressed by the visuals of Dan Schoening. I love the interiors of the Met where Dr. Polk has all the artifacts he’s to go over spread out. It’s a big place and it’s filled with neat details. The characters look terrific. Look at the joy on Ray’s face at the bottom of Page 1 showing how he is in his happy place. Peter’s stance on page 2 is perfectly in line with Bill Murray’s portrayal without having the character look like the actor — great stuff! I like that the design of the tablet is simple, making it look like it really couldn’t cause any possible harm. The movement between panels four and six is a terrific way to show action occurring. The appearance of the spirit on 4 is excellent. Such a reveal would startle anyone, but notice how the boys are absolute calm and collect at the freak show coming into existence before them. Egon’s new look is funny and creepy, which is exactly the right tone to strike in a Ghostbusters book. The setting, as with all the settings by Schoening, looks great on Page 9 and the bottom panel on this page is fantastic. I love the Ghostbusters’ reactions to what everyone is doing. The action on 12 is awesome with a true reveal given and Egon in a different state. The final panel on 13 is very serious, but also grounds the events of the previous page in reality. Astute readers will notice Janine is standing in front of an infamous object on Page 15. The composition of the spirit on 16 looks outstanding and I definitely could have seen much more of this ghost. The contrast between panels five and six on 17 is laugh out loud funny. The tease of what’s inside this force is excellent and the object that emerges from it on 18 is killer. Schoening is an illustrating god. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The first panel of the book has no background, focusing entirely on Dr. Polk’s shock. Colorist Luis Antonio Delgado gives him a bright orange background to amplify the shock of what he’s reading and works very well. The glows coming off Ray’s equipment have the perfect electronic radiance. There are a lot, seriously a lot, of panels that feature water and Delgado does an exceptional job in giving life to the liquid; rather than give everything a monocolor blue, there are different shades in every aspect of the otherworldly water. I love the paling of Egon’s flesh when he’s possessed and how his hair looks like liquid flame. The sounds on this book pop out strongly every time they appear, with those at the top of 17 being my favorite combination. Delgado can do no wrong. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Narration, dialogue, scene settings, and transmissions (all the same font), the ghost’s untranslatable dialogue, ghost speech, and sounds are created by IDW’s go-to letterer Neil Uyetake. I was disappointed to see that four texts were only differed by the shape and color of their boxes or balloons that contain them. Different fonts would have been a better visual clue for the reader to recognize that he or she is looking at a different form of communication. The Ghost’s dead language (pun intended) looks fantastic and the familiar ghostly speech used for all spirits in this franchise looks great. The sounds are visually fun, with each looking like the words they’re made from. Overall grade: B

The final line: A fun, but quick, one-shot that shows the Ghostbusters at their finest. This story could have easily gone on for more than twenty pages, and I would have preferred that. However, what’s here is enjoyable, with the visuals off the chart brilliant. This is the perfect read for all ages and fans old and new. IDW continues to make Ghostbusters incredibly fun. Overall grade: A-

To order a print or digital copy go to

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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