"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / Ghostbusters #4" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz
Illustrated by Dan Schoening
2014, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 28th, 2014
After rescuing Casey Jones from the clutches of the evil demon Chi-You, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Ghostbusters use their combined intellect and fighting prowess to ready themselves for the final battle (not to mention preparing a device to get the Turtles back to their home dimension). With all the setup out of the way, the vast majority of this issue is one big fight scene. Chi-You's forces storm the Ghostbusters' firehouse headquarters. Raphael, Leonardo, Peter, and Winston have to hold them off while Egon and Donatello finalize the teleporter and Ray, April, and Kylie calibrate some sort of machine. No pressure, guys.
This is the popcorn movie chapter of the TMNT / Ghostbusters crossover. The two groups have already passed the pre-team-up battle amongst themselves and got to know each other a bit. Now you get to see everything else that writers Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz didn't fit into the previous issues. Leonardo sliding down the fire pole? Check. Michelangelo in a Ghostbusters uniform? It's there! Donatello and Egon having a total nerd session? You bet your ass that's included. The personalities of each team are perfectly captured here.
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What is immediately apparent is that the Turtles and the Ghostbusters aren't a perfect match. Despite the fact that they're both pop culture icons and hugely responsible for the person I am today, there's not a lot of synergy. The Ghostbusters are a team of scientists...and Winston. The Turtles are the opposite. Donatello does machines, remember? The others are fighters. They get along with Winston and, to a lesser extent, Peter, but they have almost nothing to talk to Ray or Egon about. There's no common ground. Donatello is in his element though.
As much as the eight-year-old inside of me would have loved to see this crossover continue on forever, it had to come to a close. There wasn't really much else to do aside from putting Chi-You in a cage...or rather, a trap. Casey Jones was already saved, so they're no longer in danger of losing a friend. You've got the best minds on both teams working on the teleporter, so there's no doubt that will be finished. It's just cleanup at this point.
Dan Schoening's Ghostbuster work has always been phenomenal. There's a cartoonish quality that just works so well here. What's interesting is that the Turtles look much more realistic than the Ghostbusters. These are not the versions from the 1980s cartoon. It's a subtle move to provide another reason that they just don't belong in this dimension (outside of the fact that they're walking, talking, mutant turtles).
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Chi-You in his various forms is a suitable adversary for the Turtles and Ghostbusters. He mixes both the ninja and supernatural, so everyone needs to work together to take him down. The horns are present in every one of his transformations too, which is a nice touch. Although the Turtles have fought aliens, robots, and mutants, ghosts are still a bit out there for them. How can you punch a spirit? Similarly, the Ghostbusters are used to shooting specters from afar with their proton packs. When a demon gets up close and personal, ready to punch them in the face, they're just unprepared.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / Ghostbusters is a damn fun comic. Burnham and Waltz pack the book with pop culture references (Michelangelo shouting "They're here!", which I read like the kid from Poltergeist) and fun sight gags. The nostalgia factor definitely helps keep the book exciting through the four issues. Part of me still can't believe it actually happened, and the world of nerdom is better off for it.