In Review: Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #1

Answer the call and pick this up! Recommended, perfect all-ages reading.

The covers: Five variations for fans to track down if one is a completist. The A cover is by interior artist Corin Howell colored by Luis Antonio Delgado. This is an excellent cover for a first issue, showing all the characters clearly as well as several possible supernatural foes. Running forward is Erin, flanked by Abby (who’s ecstatic) and Jillian (who’s holding her proton pack blaster like a guitar), with Patty in the back looking ready for action. The four are set against a beautiful New York backdrop. On either side of the quartet are several ghosts of different designs. The entire image is set in a Gothic triptych. There are heavy tans and yellows on this image, giving it a classy, aged feel. I really like this. The B cover is by Valentina Pinto, this issue’s colorist. The characters are standing, looking up at the reader, with Kevin included. Behind them is the Ghostbusters logo. The characters are almost Manga-like. The colors are good, but I don’t like the way the characters are rendered. The Retailer Incentive Wraparound Photo Cover Variant was the cover I had to pick up. The front of the book is a photograph of Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon as Erin and Jillain, holding their blasters, before the Ghostbuster car. The back cover continues the photograph, with Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy as Patty and Abby holding their guns. This is awesome. I love the movie, so I’m always going to want these photo covers. The RI cover is by Erica Henderson and features Abby looking angrily at Slimer, who’s trying to take away the Chinese take out food from her. Jillian slurps her shake, watching the action, while Patty looks from afar. The characters barely resemble their film counterparts and the top third of the image is dead space. This looks like a sketch made into a cover. The final cover is a POW Entertainment/Stan Lee Box Variant by Dan Schoening with colors by Delgado. This features a close up of a happy Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, looking at his shoulder which has Stan Lee in Ghostbusters gear. Jillian is on top of the behemoth’s head, while Slimer is floating next to Stan. Cute, but only for completists. Overall grades: A A, B C, Retailer Incentive Wraparound Photo Cover Variant A+, RI D+, and POW/Stan Lee Comic Box Variant B+

The story: The Ghostbusters are in a brownstone in the Yorkville neighborhood of New York City on the hunt for a specter. Erin has a bad feeling, Patty says the address of the place sounds familiar, Jillian is happy with the changes she’s made in their equipment, while Abby tries to hold them together on this job. They come upon a turn of the century poltergeist who’s a child with a toy hoop. Erin and Abby’s comments that it’s only a kid sets off Patty, who reminds them of all the films where the kid is the bad guy. Even with the ghost asking if they are his mommy, the four light it up and the spook transforms into a ghastly creature, sending its hoop after Erin. They trap the ghost, even with some slight equipment issues, and head back to base, unaware that Abby has purposely, and secretly, stepped on a piece of their equipment, breaking it. This is a solid opening from writer Kelly Thompson establishing the cast, showing them in action, with plenty of good laughs, and a tease of something being very wrong. The dialogue between Erin and Jillian at headquarters is great, with Patty’s reaction laugh out loud funny — it was impossible not to read her dialogue in Jones’s voice. The villain of the issue is good, with how one of the Ghostbusters is linked to the baddie great. Kevin’s assistance is perfect. The new pieces of equipment that are revealed are completely in line with Holtzmann’s sense of the strange. The cliffhanger is good and the final joke of the issue solid. Very enjoyable. Overall grade: A

The art: Corin Howell was a good choice for this series. Her visuals capture the characters from the film well, her supernatural characters are cartoony, yet creepy, and her settings are excellent. Look at the first page to see how well she creates movement with the four leads making their way through the same hallway. It’s a serious set of four images, establishing the characters, but look what she does with them at the top of Page 2 — Priceless! The reveal of the ghost in the second panel is great, with it dressed appropriately, but look at the outstanding work down with the smoke that encircles the specter. That’s awesome! Could this ghost be any more sympathetic? The ghost’s transformation is great and Erin’s sprint looks super. When the Ghostbusters use their blasters the energy looks the same as the effects in the film. Now go back and look at the backgrounds — Wow! Howell is doing a sensational job in bringing reality to this unreal action. The Ghostbusters’ headquarters is also top notch. The gag involving Holtzmann is given a tremendous sense of motion by Howell that sells the humor superbly. There are two pieces of new equipment in this issue that have great debuts, with the first one having a cool visual and the second being laughable just because of its original purpose. As with the story, I’m really looking forward to seeing what Howell brings to this series. Overall grade: A

The colors: This book does something that is often impossible in comics: the colors are realistic, yet don’t become a smear or blob of color on the page. The first page has the characters making their way through a hall and each stands out against the background, but no radical coloring is done to have a character pop off the page. The colors do go bold to create shocks or surprises, such a with the yellows and oranges at the top of Page 2 and the otherworldly blues used for the ghosts, which make them eye magnets for the reader. When the Ghostbusters use their blasters the colors are bold and echo those of the film. There’s a three panel sequence at the headquarters that don’t contain backgrounds, but Valentina Pinto punches them up with some warm colors that increase as the humor rises. Holtzmann’s first new device spews an incredibly colorful display that had me pause in my initial reading just to enjoy it. Pinto is a welcome addition to this series. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue and narration (the same font), ghostly dialogue, sounds, yells, and whispers are created by Neil Uyetake, IDW’s go-to letterer. The ghostly dialogue looks spooky, the sounds are big and make the actions bigger, and the yells, especially from Patty, are fun. I do wish the dialogue and narration had been two different fonts, as they are two different forms of communication, but they’re differentiated by the shape and color of their dialogue balloons and boxes. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Great beginning that continues the laughs and scares from the film. I’m looking forward to seeing where this is going. Answer the call and pick this up! Recommended, perfect all-ages reading. 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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