Thursday, 24 May 2018

GHOSTBUSTERS ATC #5: MORE PLEASE! ENCORE!

<< GO TO ISSUE 4

Cover art by Corin Howell, colours by Russell Badgett

A bittersweet moment this, as here we have a magnificent, not to mention hilarious conclusion to What Dreams May Come, the first story in the Ghostbusters Answer The Call comics series.  Unlike the comics of my own youth, or indeed IDW's own G.I. Joe A Real American Hero continuation, a lot of comics, particularly licenced fare these days tend to come out in short bursts.  They come out and tell one story over several months, then stop, only to reappear with a new story numbered again from #1 a little while later.  While Marvel and DC have continuing issue numbers, they seem to reset them every other month at the moment, so it appears to be rare for a comic to not do so.  It's a shame, as I'd love to get my teeth stuck into an ongoing monthly comic, with different stories lasting various amounts of months then straight on the next, based upon these four women (and Kevin) instead of a start-stop collection.  For now though we'll have to wait and see, hoping sales have been sufficient enough to warrant another series shortly.

With a passionate fan base clamouring for new stories featuring Dr. Erin Gilbert, Dr. Jillian Holtzmann, Patricia "Patty" Tolan and Dr. Abigail "Abby" Yates, somehow I think it's already a given they'll be back.  This part starts off the same way as the first and third ones, with a panel for each of the Ghostbusters already in the midst of this issue's story.  I've loved it when they've been presented to us like this before, so I was a very happy fan to see this one more time before the end of this series.


For now though what we have here is probably the funniest issue of the run, which is saying something!  That first page of strip above perfectly sums up the issue in more ways than one.  Exciting, animated artwork from Corin Howell (coloured by Valentina Pinto) alongside humorous captions for each of the 'busters, with Holtzmann's being that bit different.  As always.  After a few weeks away from them, this page will make any fan grin from ear to ear and get them all settled in, ready for the 20 pages of strip and the rip-roaring climax.

Last time the Ghostbusters were experimenting with equipment that would allow them to share the same nightmares.  When they'd gone up against the ghost of Doctor Kruger, aka Schreckgespenst, aka "Schrecky" in the real work they'd found themselves woefully underpowered, then when they tried fighting him in his Nightmarescape they were frozen with fear and discarded by the evil doctor and torturer as not worthy of his attention.  Last issue they discovered a shared memory, one that had frightened them as kids but which was so hidden in their minds they knew Schrecky wouldn't be able to use it against them.  Armed with special head bands that'll allow them entry to his 'scape without detection, they set off to bust him.


What an entrance by Holtzmann!  Kate McKinnon has to take a large amount of credit for the creation of who has become one of my favourite movie characters of all time.  Her skill as a comedian, her timing, ad libs and ingenuity in crafting Holtzmann have won both her and the character a legion of fans.  From that portrayal comes the comics version.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, writer Kelly Thompson does a perfect job of adapting the Saturday Night Live star's comedy to the page, the artwork being that bit crazier for her than the rest too.  I'm really going to miss her!  (It doesn't help SNL has just finished its current season too!)  But let's get back to the story and the plan they spent last month crafting.

Of course it doesn't go as planned, no where near as planned.  It just wouldn't be Ghostbusters if it all went without a hitch, sure it wouldn't?  Very quickly the team find themselves separated and alone in a living nightmare world, just like before.  I don't want to give anything away as it's all very clever in how they eventually regroup and attempt to bust Schrecky again, with a surprise which will thrill fans of this new take on the classic franchise.  Oh how I'd love to show you something, or quote some great lines towards the end of this final chapter but it'd not only spoil the story, it'd also rob you of the laughs I had when you get around to reading it for yourselves.


Speaking of which, if you've missed out so far don't fear, IDW have a graphic novel collecting What Dreams May Come slated for release in June.  For those who have been buying the comic you've got a selection of covers to choose from as always, although I personally just go for whatever my comics store gets in, which is always Cover A.  This means I've a matching set, which you can see below this month's choices.


I really couldn't have asked for more from this series.  In fact, it's far surpassed my expectations.  The anarchic, natural and often ad libbed comedy of the movie couldn't have been easy to transfer to this form and, while I was obviously excited by the launch, I was initially nervous about what that first issue would turn out like.  I shouldn't have worried.  While we got an interesting story with a formidable foe, some spectacular spectral artwork and great pacing throughout, the characters themselves and the comedy of the movie are front and centre.  We even got some unexpected character development, some which were very funny little moments and some which surprised with their depth, in particular for Holtzmann.

But most of all it was a right laugh!  You'll hear the voices in your head as you read their lines and at their pace of delivery, the writing somehow having perfect comic timing, and you'll be giggling away from start to finish.  Perfect.  Just perfect.  Looking forward to more, hopefully much more from these characters and this creative team.

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