It's time for the penultimate issue of this wonderful comic already. It's been over half a year since I bought #1, thanks to delays with IDW's publishing of #2 and my own delay in writing this post, but it still feels like yesterday that I first stepped into the comics version of the hilarious Ghostbusters Answer the Call film from 2016. Maybe it's because it's just been so good I don't want it to end, or perhaps it's because I've reread them so much! Either way, we've only two issues left to enjoy for now and if this one is anything to go by it's going to be one brilliant, exciting and hilarious finale:
Dr. Abigail "Abby" Yates, played by the brilliant Melissa McCarthy in the movie takes the cover this time and it's another superb characterisation from Corin Howell. But why has it taken so long to write up this issue? That's completely my fault, the blog had to take a back seat to some things in my personal life but now it's catch-up time and it's great fun to be back! Especially with this team of characters. Let's get any negatives out of the way first shall we? Seeing as there's only one it won't take long.
Last time I said the cliffhanger could've been better and I'd explain why in the next write-up so as not to ruin it for anyone. Basically, the story had been rocketing along with Holtzmann at the helm, but then suddenly the last page saw the Ghostbusters looking at a book, the POV being from the book's perspective, the four ladies looking down towards the reader and being in shock at finding out what Schreckgespenst's plan actually is. It felt like a sudden addition just to get a cliffhanger rather than a natural end to the story. A minor negative, but one which is reflected this time, as we don't fully find out what they discovered until the final page of this part. It does feel like a more natural progression to find out here in this issue and it only feels out of place because of the previous one, basically giving us the same cliffhanger two months in a row (don't click on the next image if you don't wish to know what his plan is).
But that's the only negative you'll be able to find here because as per usual characterisation takes centre stage, the teammates bouncing off each other brilliantly throughout. The ghost itself takes a back seat to the development of the Ghostbusters' plan and even a flashback to their youth and a shared memory that has gone unexplored up to this stage. The majority of the issue takes place in the fire station (where they also explore their nightmares and memories) and it speaks volumes to how fun these characters from Paul Feig's movie are, and how well writer Kelly Thompson has adapted and developed them for the comic strip, that it was only upon re-reading the story for this write-up that I noticed this!
For this Holtzmann fan there's some wonderful Kate McKinnon-inspired dialogue and craziness from the mad inventor-scientist, while she's exploring the fears and nightmare visions of each team member.
The story for this episode sees the Ghostbusters formulating their plan from beginning to end and it makes for compulsive reading. During the first few pages it all seems very chaotic but there's an underlying idea which gets developed as they learn more about their internal fears, how the human brain processes fear and what exactly it'll take to defeat Schrecky, the ghost of a terrifying man who tortured people throughout his life in order to understand and control fear. The Ghostbusters know they simply don't have access to enough power (short of a nuclear bomb, much to the excitement of Jillian) to tackle him in the real world, so they'll have no choice but to face up to him in his own nightmare-scape.
But how do they do that without falling foul of his power like they did previously? That's the key to this issue's plot so I won't ruin it for you, other than to say it's an ingenious solution, but one which is proving impossible for them to grasp. It takes that previously mentioned shared memory to click things into place, but don't be thinking this is just a convenient plot device. It so easily could have been in the hands of a lesser writer but Thompson handles it delicately and turns it into something truly believable; there's a genuine reason for each of the team to have this memory and it just makes perfect sense.
Only four issues in (hopefully more to come after this story concludes) and I'm also pleasantly surprised to see how many ongoing jokes are in here, such as the previously-discovered fact the nightmare machine invented by Holtzmann also happens to make the perfect breakfast eggs, there's a very funny return to the movie joke of who gets to exclaim "Let's Go!" first when they head off to bust a ghost, plus we even get the origin of Abby's devotion to soup!
All in all, it's another brilliant issue. Maybe you've read this post and thought it sounds like a filler issue, with it basically being set solely in the firehouse and all about the Ghostbusters formulating a plan. But nothing could be farther from the truth. This is yet another issue which is full of plot development but it doesn't sacrifice one iota the fantastic humour and characterisations the movie and the previous issues have so superbly set up. What normally would never have been explored beyond a panel or two with The Real Ghostbusters or the comics based on the original movie (also from IDW), here we really do get to see how a plan is formulated by this cohesive team, even if it is through chaos and a lot of laughs! It really is quite an original and ingenious issue.
|The covers available for this issue|
Sorry for the delay in getting this issue written up, it should've been here on the blog mid-to-late-March, but checking in with my local comics store (Coffee & Heroes in Belfast) today it appears the publishers have yet again missed their deadlines and #5 is running late. So it appears this is still the latest issue at the time of writing. Let's hope the finale isn't as late as #2! Stay tuned.