In Review: Ghostbusters: Crossing Over #1

Dimension hopping gone awry leads to frantic fun and frights with the Ghostbusters.

The covers: Five frontpieces for you to find if you’re a feverish fan. The A cover is by Joe Quinones and has some limited colors on it that make the characters really stand out, but does come across as a bit odd looking. It looks as if Ray is in the passenger’s side of ECTO-1 looking in shock at the chaos of tangled bodies at the bottom of the fireman’s pole. At the very bottom is Ron Alexander, with a woman with violet hair on top of him, with Winston on top of her, and with Kylie sitting on him. Sliding down the pole with massive smile on her face is Jillian. To the far right is Egon, geared up, and looking in frustration at the mass of bodies as he walks away. Nice, but complete coloring would have made this look better. The B is by Dan Schoening with colors by Luis Antonio Delgado. This has Jillian in the foreground, eating some Pringles with a devious smile on her face. Just behind her, completing a leap is Kylie, with her proton pack’s gun leaving some yellow and blue residue in the air. Just above her is a black and white cat, looking nonplussed as it falls to the ground. High above them all is Ray in ECTO-2. All the characters look great and the diagonal blue columns of various shades gives the characters a speedy movement. This is the cover I picked up. The Retailer Incentive A cover is also by Quinones and features the exact same art as the A cover, minus the colors. This looks fine, but I prefer it colored.  Better is the the Retailer Incentive B cover is by Tim Lattie with colors by Delgado. This has Kylie, Peter, and Patty suited up and ready for action, unaware that Slimer, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and a ghost are surrounding them. On either side of Kylie at the bottom is the room service tray from the first film and ECTO-1 with an orange specter above it, matching its speed. There’s a lot going on with this cover and it all looks terrific. The colors really make the ghosts pop. The Convention Variant Photo cover features the boys from the first film standing outside their headquarters. From left to right are Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson. I love photo covers and I love this. Overall grades: A B, B A, RI-A C, RI-B A, and Convention Variant A+

The story: The issue begins with Ron Alexander recounting to his friend Jimmy the tale of Egon helping a radioactive toad, or was that a radioactive lizard…?, from another dimension get home. It was then that the Ghostbuster realized that there were other dimensions. Learning this, Ron was able to contact Ghostbuster from another dimension Jillian Holtzmann, who would like to be able to use portal technology to go to other Earths. Ron wants to use the technology to transport tourists and make some money. They’re tolerating one another so they can create their own portals. Walking over to the control console, Ron clicks a button to test the device. Meanwhile, Ray tells Egon he’s curious about the inner workings of their ghost containment unit. He postulates that the ghosts could be in a pocket dimension roaming free. Ray would like to observe them because they could learn a lot about the poltergeists. “We still need to be very careful,” Egon says. “This is potential dangerous territory.” Erik Burnham has set up the premise and the threat of this new series smoothly and quickly. After all, what could possibly go wrong with either groups’ work? This pair of heroes is left for some fun ghostbusting occurring in a restaurant. There’s some terrific lines, some solid scares, and one heck of an ending to the proceedings. This is a good way for Burnham to show the reader what the Ghostbusters do if they’re unaware of what the team does. Following this is a surprising two page sequence where Walter Peck — HISSSSSSSSS — makes an unusual request of one of the characters. Alternate dimension visiting is then shown, resulting in some funny business and one Ghostbuster doing something mistakenly. This was a great entry issue story for this franchise and had some excellent laughs and a great sense of impending danger. This is exactly how I want my Ghostbusters’ stories to be. Overall grade: A

The art: Continuing to put a fantastic spin on all the familiar characters is artist Dan Schoening. He is a definite gem in the world of comics with his incredibly detailed visuals and his ability to create characters that are famous and frightening. The first two panels of the book are visual funny just for having Egon looking at a humanoid frog and then a humanoid lizard. Schoening had me just with this pair of panels. Ron is just delicious in his design, looking sleezy slick, like any role for Paul Rudd before he was Ant Man. On the first two pages she appears, Jillian is a visual treat, moving with over the top gesticulations and poses that perfectly capture Kate McKinnon’s actions. Ray is a constant source of joy, with a smile that is both dopey and endearing. The scenes in the book that follows the Ghostbusters’ attempts to capture a ghost in a restaurant are terrific. I love the first panel showing Peter’s reaction, followed by the explosion of food. The ghost looks great — not scary at all, that is until the first containment beam hits it and its visage complete changes making it a terror. The final view of the creature is a solid shock. The fourth panel on Page 11 contains a perfect visual joke to the left of the trap. Walter Peck’s two pages have him and his office looking like the definition of bureaucracy. However, notice that Schoening often has the man at a tilted angle, showing that there’s something not right about the man. Very clever way to make him unsettling. The exits on 16 made me laugh out loud, especially with one character’s movements being exaggerated. One of my favorite original characters of the comics appears on 18 and she’s always outstanding to see. The final page is made up of nine equal sized panels with one character making a stupid move. The final panel is the perfect visual to leave the reader on the edge of his or her seat. I love Schoening’s art. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Luis Antonio Delgado is the book’s colorist. He starts the book off well with two panels that comprise a flashback and each is colored in faded colors to make it obvious to the reader that these scenes are set in the past. Notice also how Delgado has colored the dialogue boxes in these panels to make it easier for the reader to recognize that a conversation is occurring. The steel grays in the first panel on Page 2 have them standing out ominously against all the browns in the setting. Jillian’s glasses have got a delicious orange tint to them, alerting the reader to her unusual nature. The firehouse reds for the containment unit are a visual warning to the reader that within it lurks dangerous things. The beams that the Ghostbusters blast out of their proton packs are colored spectacularly, looking as luminescent as those in the films. I particularly like the crimsons and oranges on page 10 which are spectacular. The pinks used on the portal’s energy center is an unusual choice, but works perfectly in the Ghostbusters’ universe for being so unusual. Delgado is the cherry on top of Schoening’s visuals. Overall grade: A+

The letters: This issue’s text includes dialogue, whispers, sounds, signage, yells, and ghostly speech. Considering all the details in the art, it’s impressive that letterers Robbie Robbins & Tom B. Long can insert any text into the panels without covering important visual elements, but they so handsomely. The sounds on this book are incredibly fun, with SHUM, STOMP, and VWOOOOORP being my favorites. The best visual text in the book is the ghostly speech from the spirits, which consists of bolded letters unevenly set next to each other, giving them a definite otherworldly feel. Overall grade: A

The final line: Dimension hopping gone awry leads to frantic fun and frights with the Ghostbusters. A wonderfully twisted premise with impressive visuals make this one to pick up and place in your own personal containment unit. 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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