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Comic Book Review: Ghostbusters: Ongoing Vol 1

By: Adam Basciano

Ghostbusters - Ongoing v1 cover

“Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night? Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic? Have you or any of your family ever seen a spook, specter, or ghost? If the answer is yes, call the professionals! Psychokinetic energy is on the rise again, business is booming for the boys, and Ray is troubled by what could be a prophetic dream. Is this an ill omen of an upcoming apocalypse, or just a little indigestion?” (IDW)

If you’re a fan of the Ghostbusters films or the animated series, then this book is an absolute must read for you. Writer Erik Burnham perfectly captures the nuances, behaviours, and personality traits of our four heroes. The banter between  Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Raymond Stantz, Dr. Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddmore are absolutely spot on with their live action film counterparts. So spot on in fact, that in your mind’s eye you will hear the voices of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and  Ernie Hudson as you read them. This feeling is helped along by artist Dan Schoening.  While it is quite cartoonish in style, it works for the stories being told, and the characters share a resemblance to their live action portrayals.   This all works in the books favour, especially given that this book is in the continuity of the films.  Film favourite antagonists Slimer and the Stay Puft  Marshmellow Man are present to cause New York a scare. The Ghostbusters also have to deal with government liaison Walter Peck as they did in the first film.  However, there are plenty of new threats including, a statue of a bear that comes to life, and the spirit of Ellen God, the headmistress of an orphanage who was haunting her old stomping grounds. There’s also the overarching villain of the four issues who has something specific in mind for Ray. The way it ends, that entity has a potential for a return. I won’t spoil anything, but this final battle offers a clever nod to Dan Aykroyd’s past as a member of the “Blues Brothers.” Also read the Ghostbusters case files in between issues. Adds more context and detail about the ghouls being vanquished in each particular issue.

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As a fan of this franchise, this book is true to the spirit of the franchise, and in actuality can act as a proper sequel to the feature films.  It relies on the staples that people know and love, but isn’t afraid to expand on them, or get a little darker when need be. The books may not be very accessible to those that haven’t seen the films.  But if you haven’t seen those, you absolutely should, and then immediately follow it up by reading this graphic novel.

Overall Grade: 8/10

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