"Ghostbusters Omnibus: Volume 1" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Originally Published as Ghostbusters: The Other Side #1-4, Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression #1-4, Tainted Love, Con-Volution, What in Samhain Just Happened?, Guess What's Coming to Dinner?, and Past, Present, and Future
Written by Keith Champagne, Scott Lobdell, Dara Naraghi, Keith Dallas, Jim Beard, Peter David, Kathleen David, James Eatock, and Rob Williams
Illustrated by Tom Nguyen, Ilias Kyriazis, Josh Howard, Dan Schoening, and Diego Jourdan
2012, 286 Pages
Graphic Novel Released on September 5th, 2012
I don't think I'll ever get tired of the phrase "Who Ya Gonna Call?" It's just not going to happen in my lifetime. Growing up with the Ghostbusters, they'll always have a special place in my heart. I still have my proton pack from when I was a kid. You can imagine my delight at the idea of IDW Publishing collecting its previous Ghostbusters comics into this impressive omnibus, especially since these were all comics that I hadn't read before. This tome includes two separate mini-series and six one-shot issues that were released before IDW began its ongoing series.
The mini-series are up front. The Other Side could have been called "The Death of the Ghostbusters" as they bite the bullet -- almost literally -- in this plotline. The boys find themselves in purgatory and there's a bounty on their heads. It seems that the mob bosses of old, including Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel, are running the show in the afterlife. They have a good thing going and they don't want the Ghostbusters messing it up. Author Keith Champagne plays with an area that was never really explored in this world. The cartoons often had Egon and the team going into the containment unit, but I don't think they ever made their way to the great hereafter.
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What was a little distracting about The Other Side was the art. Tom Nguyen's work isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it just doesn't look like the actors that portrayed these characters in the movies. This could be for a variety of reasons, most likely because the publisher couldn't secure the likeness rights, but regardless, these guys look a lot younger than they ever did. This is like the Ghostbuster reboot. Ray looks twelve years old. Winston is like a thug. Egon has a weird spiky haircut. It just feels off. The design for the ghost mob bosses, on the other hand, is pretty great. Nguyen kept these criminals in the afterlife as they were when they were last alive and that includes some big holes throughout their bodies.
The highlight of the omnibus is Displaced Aggression. Written by Scott Lobdell, who is now writing a few big titles for DC Comics and its New 52, the mini-series has the Ghostbusters battling Gozer's father, Koza'Rai. In order to defeat them, the demon scatters the team throughout time and space. Peter is in the old west. Ray is in medieval Europe. Egon is on Mars in the far future. Winston is the only one that gets stuck in present day. You can probably blame the TSA for that. Anyway, what was so cool about this is that these guys are really smart, so they figure out ways to bust ghosts even when they had little to no resources available. Peter makes a containment unit out of an old well. Ray is working on a steam-powered proton pack. There are so many possibilities with this. I would read a Ghostbusters in Time ongoing comic in a heartbeat.
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The rest of this collection consists of one-shots with single chapter stories. They're all pretty good, but Displaced Aggression was still the shining star. All of the comics have that weird issue with the art where they don't really look like the actors, but it grew on me throughout the book. Dan Schoening, the artist of the current Ghostbusters comic, illustrated two of the one-shots. His art works well for the characters, so by the time his issues came up, I was totally on board. Comic fans will love Con-Volution as it's a story about a convention that isn't filled with lame jokes and borderline nerd insults (I'm looking at you, Fanboys Vs. Zombies).
The de-aging of the Ghostbusters aside, this is a pretty dynamite omnibus. Any fan of these characters will want to check it out. It's the further adventures of the team that are more mature than those in the cartoon series, but still in the same vein of the movies. It's a nice balance. It's worth buying just to see Peter Venkman as a cowboy, using a proton pack instead of a six shooter. Very cool.