Home   •   Films   •   TV Series   •   Everything Else   •   Store   •   Search   •   Credits/Legal   •   Help   •   E-Mail   •   The Corner Penthouse
« 18 Years Ago Today...Buying The Real Ghostbusters Soundtrack CassetteSpook Central Halloween Treat - The Real Ghostbusters Call Sheets & Notable Guest Stars »

IDW Ghostbusters: Answer The Call Trade Paperback Book Review

 By Paul Rudoff on Nov. 14, 2018 at 11:22 PM , Categories: Books
Image

It's been almost a year since I reviewed the last IDW trade paperback, Ghostbusters 101. It was our first look as how the female Ghostbusters from the 2016 film would fare in the hands of a more capable writer. You know, someone who wasn't Paul Feig. The ladies returned in their own spin-off series of five issues, which IDW has collected in the Ghostbusters: Answer The Call trade paperback that was released this past June. Yes, it's taken me five months to finally write this review. That's quick compared to other things on my To Do list. So, how well are the ladies handled this time? Read on to find out...

Image

This time, IDW has a female crew of artists handling the three main duties. The story, entitled "What Dreams May Come", was written by Kelly Thompson, with art by Corin Howell, and colors by Valentina Pinto. Neil Uyetake is the "Kevin" of the group; handling lettering on the 124-page book. It takes place after the events of Ghostbusters 101 (wherein the 2016 team met the original 1984 team) and the 2016 movie (which means that the team is now headquartered at the firehouse).

Image

Our story starts with an introduction to who these ladies are, as they're roaming the halls of a Yorkville brownstone looking for the ghost of a little boy from long ago. They find him, but that leads to more trouble and another possession for Abby. The Schreckgespenst (aka Boogieman), Dr. Kruger, sends the ladies into their own nightmare dreamscapes, where he feeds on their fears. Able to conjure illusions to prey on their greatest fears, it can divide and conquer, with designs on turning the world into its own nightmare dimension.

Image

If you're getting a sense of deja vu all over again, it's because the plot is essentially a mix of The Real Ghostbusters: "Mr. Sandman, Dream Me A Dream", Extreme Ghostbusters: "Fear Itself", The Real Ghostbusters: "Mean Green Teen Machine" and A Nightmare on Elm Street (note the Kruger reference). Mind you, a lot of the elements used are tropes that have appeared in countless other media, and are not unique to the episodes and movie I just mentioned. It's just that when the Ghostbusters franchise has already tread this ground a few different times before, maybe you should look at other tropes to base the story around.

Image

While Kelly Thompson's story won't offer up any surprises, I will give her credit for writing a story that is competent and holds your interest to the end. That's not to say that there aren't any notable flaws; aside from the rehashing of common tropes. A significant part of the plot involves the ladies remembering that they unintentionally met before, back when they were all in high school. This deeply-repressed, long-forgotten memory comes across as a completely contrived deus ex machina that never feels natural. It also doesn't gel with the Ghosts From Our Past book, which revealed that Abby and Erin met and attended high school in Battle Creek, Michigan, not New York City; and that they didn't go investigate their first haunted site until their sophomore year of college at the University of Michigan.

Image

I can only presume that Kelly was forced by Sony to include the Kevin Beckman character. For those of you who have been bunking with Patrick Star, Kevin is the idiot "secretary" that was hired by Erin and company because she got all tingly in the loins for him. He's a detriment to the Ghostbusters' business, and to the storytelling of anyone else who has to write stories with these characters. I really wish Sony would allow him to be written out already and replaced with someone competent. In this book, he pulls you out of the story and drags down whatever good Kelly is trying to achieve. I'm trying to avoid giving any big spoilers, so I can't mention how he's used in the end, except to say that it goes against the feminist "propaganda" that Feig and company were trying to push with the movie. It also rips off the ending of The Real Ghostbusters: "Mr. Sandman, Dream Me a Dream", in which the secretary plays the same role in the bust.

Image

I should also note that Jillian Holtzmann creates a Ghost Zamboni machine in, what looks to be, the second or third floor of the firehouse, though the device is never truly needed in the story. The Ghost Chipper would have achieved the same result, which Patty essentially notices, too. My issue here is, how could they fit a large Zamboni machine in the upstairs of the firehouse? It seems like it would be too large and too heavy to build up there, and how would they get it out of the building? From other shots we see of this "room", it's not the downstairs garage bay, as there is a wall where the front entrance would be. Also, the coloring and design is completely different from the firehouse seen in any of the films.

Image

Corin Howell's art works well, although you won't find any hidden Easter egg references like when Dan Schoening is on the job. The references that are there are part of the story, such as Pennywise from Stephen King's It, or the "obey, consume, reproduce, and conform" signs in Holtzmann's cubicle which are a nod to the subliminal messages in the 1988 movie They Live, and a few references to Office Space.

Image

I really want to say a lot of nice things about Corin's drawings, because I always support cute, artistic redheads, but it really goes all over the place. Sometimes there are breathtakingly beautiful close-ups, albeit with LOTS of eyeliner, like these panels below. You'll notice that Erin seems to be Corin's favorite (as she is mine), as she usually got the more detailed depictions with the cutest of noses.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

But then you get a bunch of rough and featureless faces with basic eyes that even I could draw.

Image

There are a few panels where, within the same panel, some of the characters - even the same character - have real eyes, and others just have black dots.

Image

In one panel, poor Abby is reduced to having Pong paddles and balls on her face.

Image

Even sadder is when Erin goes from looking piss-poor in one panel, to fabulous in the very next panel on the page.

Image

I can only assume Corin rushes less important stuff in an effort to get all of the work done on time. She's obviously capable of high quality work, so I can't imagine any other reason for it. Though that doesn't explain why her No Ghost logo on the firehouse sign never looks right.

Image

Included at the back of the book are the variant covers for the five issues. The POW/Stan Lee Comic Box exclusive variant cover of issue #1 features Stan Lee as a ghostbuster, drawn by Dan Schoening, and was originally released on November 16, 2017. With Stan's passing a mere two days ago, I felt it would be a nice tribute to mention this now extra-special cover and provide the title-free artwork (click on Stan for that).

Image

You won't find a bigger supporter of women than me. Well, maybe Otto Titsling, but we all know what happened to him. So, when it was announced that the female Ghostbusters would be put in the hands of talented female comic book artists, and out of the hands of some Hollywood hack, I was excited to see what would happen. Sadly, I was very disappointed with the results. The story is derivative, contrived, and doesn't expand or improve upon the existing lore (it actually contradicts it, if the Ghosts From Our Past book is considered canon). The artwork has moments of greatness, but is hampered by too much roughness and simplistic faces; an issue that's never been present in Dan Schoening's work. The sad truth is that any chance for future Ghostbusters: Answer The Call comic stories likely depends upon the success of this one. Like the movie it spawned from, IDW did not put forth an extraordinary first effort, which lessens the chance of anyone else doing better.

Image

No feedback yet

Leave a comment


Your email address will not be revealed on this site.
(For my next comment on this site)
(Allow users to contact me through a message form -- Your email will not be revealed!)
Who you gonna call?
Please answer the question above.

Established August 1996
SpookCentral.tk


In Loving Memory of Joel Richard Rudoff (July 28, 1944 - January 20, 2014)

In Loving Memory of Linda Joyce Rudoff (July 12, 1948 - November 29, 2015)

Doreen Mulman (May 22, 1961 - March 14, 2014)

COMMUNITY LINKS

NEWS
Ghostbusters Wiki
GB News
GB Fans
Ghostbusters Mania
GB Reboot Facebook
Proton Charging News Archive

FORUMS
GB Fans
EctoZone

OFFICIAL
Ghostbusters Facebook
Ghost Corps Facebook
Ghostbusters.com


Paul's For Sale/Trade List

Ghostbusters Ecto-Web

The Art Of Tristan Jones

Ghostbusters Merch at Amazon.com

  XML Feeds

AWARDS I'VE WON



Photo albums software