"Ghostbusters: Answer the Call" #1 Comic Review
Written by Angry Scholar
Published by IDW Studios
Written by Kelly Thompson
Illustrated by Corin Howell
Colors by Valentina Pinto
2017, 32 pages, $4.99
Comic released on October 25th, 2017
IDW’s ongoing Ghostbusters is a fantastic book, perfectly matching the tone and humor of the 1980s originals, showcasing some great art and some of the best colors in the business. It’s a definite standout, especially for something that (let’s face it) could have been just another cheesy franchise tie-in.
(No free pass for that awful Funko promotional spot, though. Just… bleh.)
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The first issue of the new Answer the Call series also seems to perfectly match its source material, which as you can imagine can be both good and bad. If you liked the 2016 film, you’ll probably like this, and vice versa. That’s true of any cross-media franchise, but the newer ‘Busters film is more polarizing than most, so it seems likely that this will be too.
The story picks up shortly after the Ghostbusters 101 arc, with the 2016 ‘Busters back in their dimension and stumbling through a more mundane haunting. I say “stumbling” advisedly: while the original-universe ‘Busters are far from perfect, there is always a sense of control underlying their chaos. (Mostly in the form of Egon.) The 2016 crew, on the other hand, just seems to not know what they’re doing. That’s how the film set it all up, of course, so the book is just staying true to the source material—but the result is that it’s hard to care about anything. They aren’t particularly compelling characters to begin with—watered-down, zanier versions of their original counterparts—and the story here doesn’t give them much to go on. It’s all jokes about Kevin being dumb and Holtzmann being insane, and whoops! Abby is possessed. Holtzmann also has a proton whip thing, again.
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So, yes, a routine haunting. A little child ghost. They manage to catch it, but in the meantime Abby gets possessed, becoming a vehicle for a new Big Baddie, a ghost who preys on human fear. Now, with Mr. Topstache on the loose, presumably the ladies will have to, you know, stop him?
The artwork is competent, though a major departure from the glossy, cartoony look of the main Ghostbusters book. Lots of heavy lines, a slightly unfinished quality, and some slightly manga-esque facial expressions and shading work give the book a sort of dōjinshi (fan-made) feel, not necessarily bad, but somehow less effective, in this context, than the polished Saturday morning cartoon look of the Burnham/Schoening/Delgado book.
It takes time for a new book to get going—32 pages isn’t very much, after all—and I’m hopeful that this one will pick up. For the record, less Holtzmann (and no Kevin) is better.