This, right here, this is why I love IDW. This issue encapsulates it all. Not only does IDW have the Ghostbusters licence and is making new stories based on the characters, but they’ve also seen fit to produce comics based on the television show from my childhood, The Real Ghostbusters. This show was awesome when I was young. For whatever reason I don’t remember a lot of it, but I remember the animation being top notch and the writing being smart. And Slimer, everyone remembers Slimer, because this was the only universe in which he existed as their mascot and yet somehow became the mascot for the series: not sure how that happened. Either way, the fact that IDW even tries to please everyone by releasing multiple versions of the same franchise is wonderful to me. Makes me wonder if we’ll get a New Ghostbusters revival.
Anyway, this one-shot continues the Mars Attacks theme that was running through the IDW titles a little while back, and it really makes use of the crossover well. It doesn’t feel forced. In some ways every Ghostbusters episode was the same: a kind of Ghost Story / Backstory on the Ghost, and then the Ghostbusters finding a way to defeat it. This issue is no different, except in that the Ghosts this time are the Ghosts of Aliens.
The origin goes that, way back on October 30, 1938; Martians were orbiting the Earth on an observation mission and mistook the airing of The War of the Worlds for a real radio report depicting their troops attacking. Thinking they’ve missed the bus, the Martians… Attack. When they arrive though they realize they’d been “duped” by humanity and try to escape, only to be caught in a meteor shower and killed. This whole sequence is very clever. New readers might think the Martians are silly for believing the broadcast was real — but when first broadcast, many people thought The War of the Worlds was real, so that’s not that much of a stretch.
The script is written by Eric Burnham, who does a great job of capturing everything he needs to in this early few pages. The Martians talk — which seems weird to me, but I’m not on the franchise and it may be normal — and are drawn in an ultra-menacing way by Jose Holder, looking more like skulls floating in fishbowl helmets than anything else.
The transition scenes are hilarious — the Ghostbusters “Ghost” (you know… the one on their symbol) narrates the transitions in a very Sinatra-esque manner, saying things like “we now return you to the present day – and the Real Ghostbusters!” It’s hard not to feel he’s voiced by the narrator that would bring you back from the commercial break during the old show.
The Ghostbusters are fighting a giant Nutcracker and it’s amazing. Egon has blonde hair! Ray’s a redhead. These aren’t just the Real Ghostbusters… these are MY Ghostbusters. Nothing against the main IDW series — but I do sometimes have trouble telling the characters apart in their faux Humberto Ramos style they’re drawn in.
After defeating the Nutcracker the team is chilling out at the Firehouse Headquarters when Janine fields a call from New Jersey — site of the Martian crash from the prologue. They drive out and encounter a crazy-eyed man who insists he saw the Martians crash as a child, even though nobody believed him. He believes the ghosts of the Martians were disturbed when the cable company was installing something. Peter is dubious, but Egon is getting strange readings… no sooner is that said than the Ghost-Martians attack. It’s a hard fight with lots of flashy effects that eventually ends with one Martian left hard to beat. The Martian takes control of the still-operational spaceship under the ground and flies it into the air — initiating the self-destruct when there. The Ghostbusters call it a job well done and go back to celebrate… but while they do, Slimer notices the Ghost of the Martian has followed them home. Is this the end?
This is a simple issue, but a good one. The art is well done if a little crowded at times, but overall everything works. My one gripe about these specials is that they never seem to affect the main story of the title they feature in: I have doubts the Martian Ghost will turn up again in the Real Ghostbusters title, though I could be wrong. I’d be happy being wrong. But it’s not something I see happening, because most comic publishers are forward-thinking enough to say “What if we lose the licence? Then we can’t reprint Ghostbusters #24 because the Martian Ghost was in it, but that’s when Egon and Janine finally got together and now the trade makes no sense without it!” There’s whole chunks of 80s Marvel Continuity that can never be reprinted because they lost licences and at that time they kept their licences in-Universe. Transformers was once a part of the Marvel Universe after all.
This issue, in the end, did what it was supposed to. I picked it up because of the crossover and it got me pumped for The Real Ghostbusters series, so expect reviews of that soon.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“this one-shot continues the Mars Attacks theme that was running through the IDW titles a little while back, and it really makes use of the crossover well.”