The Ghostbusters song was at #1 on the charts on the day I was born, August 19th, 1984, and the franchise has pretty much followed me ever since. I’ve loved both movies, the first one especially, and have watched them more times than I’d care to count. Usually on television, where they have become a staple of holiday programming. I grew up with The Real Ghostbusters on Saturday morning, although I was young enough that I have trouble remembering specific episodes I know I watched it religiously. And I had the toys. Wow, those toys. So many ghosts that did crazy, wild things. I remember playing with the Ecto-1 and the four Ghostbusters for hours.
So I’m excited about checking out this issue, Ghostbusters #15 by Eric Burnham and Dan Schoening, published by IDW. It seems like the type of thing that would be right up my ally. Honestly, the only reason I’m a Ninja Turtles-nut as opposed to a Ghostbusters-nut is that the Ninja Turtles were producing better comics when I was a kid.
The story so far tells us that the dispersed atoms of all the ghosts the Ghostbusters have been fighting have joined to form Megaspook, and the the Busters have teamed with the Smashers to stop it. I’m going to assume Smashers is short for Ghostsmashers and is a rival ghost-stopping team and move forward with the issue proper until proven otherwise.
We open to the Megaspook having almost enveloped New York, flooding it with ectoplasm, and seemingly killing the crew of a news helicopter in the process. We then cut to an elderly man and a person I assume is Ray watching in horror. Maybe-Ray says he has to let Death free.
I’m very confused already. I get the feeling I’m coming into a multi-parter here, but I’m not sure.
Cut to Walter Peck tearing the assembled Ghostbusters and Ghostsmashers a new one for causing this mess, as Ray is hit on by a blonde Ghostsmasher named Jenny. And it is not the same character I thought was Ray from before. I have no idea who the unnamed man with the old man was.
Ray and Jenny then team up in a Wright-Brothers model helicopter in order to get close enough the Megaspook to try and trap it, before it can split off into individual ghosts. They successfully trap the ghost, but it proves to be too much and the traps explode, releasing Megaspook into a giant devil-like creature.
Back with the unnamed guy, as it turns out he trapped Death in a sack some time ago, preventing Death from doing the natural duty of bringing spirits to the other side. And we get his name: Eugene. Eugene sets Death free who envelopes him, using his form to fight the Devil creature. The fight ends very quickly and all is well, with Eugene crossing to the other side having sacrificed himself to avert disaster.
If my review here feels rushed, it’s because the issue itself does. Really the issue could have been condensed down to 2-4 pages because all of the Ghostbusters’s actions were essentially for nothing. Only Eugene’s really mattered. And that’s the problem with a dues ex machina ending: it leaves you feeling cheated of a conclusion to the actions of the characters, because the actions of the characters had nothing to do with the conclusion. If they were going to go this route, much more time should have been spent on Eugene.
At the same time, aside from the ending, I liked the idea of the Ghost-Smashers and that they were just “sweeping things under the rug” as a method of ghost-catching as Egon put it, then telling everyone it was clean. I think a plot like this, with a rival paranormal team going awry, would have made a great third movie back in the day.
The art by Schoening took some getting used to, but now that I am I like it. It’s weird to see the Busters not in their 80s cartoon looks, with Egon being blonde and everything else, but that never did match the movies. I guess they were going for a more movie-accurate look. It’s just not how I’m used to my Ghostbusters.
It was a good issue, but a rushed conclusion. I doubt reading the whole arc would have helped that. A rushed conclusion after three issues would make me feel even more cheated than a rushed conclusion after one.
The story so far tells us that the dispersed atoms of all the ghosts the Ghostbusters have been fighting have joined to form Megaspook, and the the Busters have teamed with the Smashers to stop it.