In Review: Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #4

Backstory is revealed of the Ghostbusters' pasts as they plan to take down the monstrous specter.

The covers: Three different covers of this penultimate issue that delves into the ‘busters’ past. The A cover is by Corin Howell with colors by Russell Badgett. This is a great cover focusing on Abigail. She’s not in her Ghostbusters uniform, instead wearing a tan shirt and pants with a brown jacket. She smiles as she points to her left, holding a map with an X on it in her right hand. Behind her is a nicely detailed shelf containing odd containers (with a familiar hat and whip visible), that features a gigantic globe of the Earth. The coloring is in browns, tans, and yellows. Brighter colors would have made this pop out more, but it’s not bad. The Funko Cover Month Variant features a Pop of Jillian within ECTO-1. It’s a cute illustration, with no credit given to the artist in the credits, but why not just take a picture? The cover to get is the Photo Cover RI Variant that features actress Melissa McCarthy as Abigail Yates. This is a great picture of Melissa, showing her from the waist up, looking to her right at something that’s worrying her. I love photocovers and I love this. Overall grades: A B, Funko Cover Month Variant B-, and Photo Cover RI Variant A+

The story: This issue begins out of left field with Erin and Abby tied up back to back screaming their lungs out. They are then falling into the monstrous maw of a gigantic clown. Once within the joker’s stomach they discover that they’re knee deep in honey. Suddenly bees fly down the gullet and the pair are pulled under the gooey, sticky liquid from bees that burst from beneath them. They try to breath but the amber makes them gag. Writer Kelly Thompson then tips her hand to this nightmare on the fourth page, justifying it completely. The dialogue that follows with Jillian and Patty is terrific. Naturally it’s Jillian that explains the science of what’s occurring, with Patty asking questions that the reader will have. However, this is not an info dump from a character, because one of them is also doing something that’s really funny visually. Several hours pass and the Ghostbusters try to make a plan to take out the gargantuan specter that’s haunting the city, resulting in them learning something about one another’s past. This was an extremely clever way to bring the ladies closer together and show that their becoming Ghostbusters was destined. Though I’ve been loving the conflict with the big bad, the pages that show the Ghostbusters in their youth were stellar. It was a golden moment that doesn’t just resonate for the characters, but for the reader. Truly, these characters should be working together. Thompson continues to shine with continuing these individuals’ adventures, keeping them absolutely true to their film counterparts. Overall grade: A

The art: This issue starts strong visually, with the opening horrors of the first three pages visually fun, but after this the visual begin to lessen. I don’t know why this happened, as Corin Howell’s previous work was strong, but backgrounds disappear for several pages in this issue. Pages 4 – 7 are fine, with minimal to no backgrounds, but they’re missing once several hours go by. The characters look fine, they look great throughout the entire book, but because the backgrounds are missing it falls entirely on the colorist to fill in the spaces, and the choices made only highlight the lack of the settings. The flashback pages probably look good, what can be seen of them looks fine, but they are so dark, it’s tough to make out the imagery. In fact, I felt cheated I couldn’t clearly see what’s occurring. Pages 18 and 19 return to the present and the Ghostbusters look good as they rally, but, again, the backgrounds are missing. Why? The character work isn’t so detailed that it would have consumed so much of Howell’s time. One can only assume that he’s skimping on the visuals this issue so that he can have the final issue overflowing with details. At least, that’s what I’m expecting in the next issue. Disappointing. Overall grade: C+

The colors: I feel sorry for colorist Valentina Pinto who is picking up the slack of so many panels that have no backgrounds. The book begins with a panel that’s fairly dim, but the turn of the page has the crimson colors of a creepy clown standing out. Dim golds nicely capture the danger the heroines find themselves in. The first panel on Page 4 uses reds, oranges, and yellows for fun effect. The interior of the Ghostbusters’ headquarters has the expected browns of the building, but when there are no settings, such as at the bottom of 4, the colors become a rainbow similar to spumoni. Why? It makes no sense. All I can guess is that Pinto was looking for a way to jazz up the panels and this is what she came up with. Notice how this combination of colors transforms into more normal tan and yellow backgrounds on 5, but then go through a metamorphosis into a neon rainbow on 8 – 10. Why? The flashback pages happen in an entirely too dark setting. Why? Comic books are allowed to differ from reality, so the coloring could have been brighter, yet still create the evening for the reader and allow the visuals to be clearly seen. I felt cheated by not being able to clearly see these scenes. Disappointing. Overall grade: C+

The letters: Neil Uyetake is responsible for creating this issue’s scene settings and dialogue (the same font), screams, yells, whispers, sounds, and the ghostly villain’s speech. I wanted the scene settings to be in a different font from the dialogue, rather than relying on the coloring of the text’s boxes to inform the reader of a different voice. The dialogue is easy to read, with even the whispers being easy to read, though smaller in size to show the speaker’s words to be quieter. The sounds are few, but fun, with the flashback sequence providing those. I’m liking the majority of what Uyetake is doing. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Backstory is revealed of the Ghostbusters’ pasts as they plan to take down the monstrous specter in the present. The story is great, but is undone by artwork lacking in details and colors that go oddly psychedelic. There’s only one issue to go, so I’ll continue to read, though I’m really hoping the visuals improve in the conclusion. Overall grade: B

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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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