In Review: Ghostbusters 20/20

A decent outing that explores the Sanctum of Slime Ghostbusters.

The covers: An appropriate pair to pick up for this issue that looks 20 years into the Ghostbusters’ future. The Regular cover by Dan Schoening with colors by Luis Antonio Delgado has the Sanctum of Slim team barreling down the street. From left to right they are Gabriel Sitter, Samuel Hazer, Bridget Gibbons, and Alan Crendall. Driving their van is Geoff, who has a smile as big as Bridget’s. This is an okay action image, but it’s too far from the characters. Pulling in closer would have shown the title characters better. A very comical frontpiece is the Retailer Incentive cover by SL Gallant with colors by Delgado. This has the heroes within a giant creature’s mouth. Bridget is sitting closest to the teeth, munching on a candy bar. Gabriel has a drill that he’s placing in the beast’s tongue. Samuel has bumped his head on one of the creature’s top teeth, while in the background Alan looks like he’s about to engage in some martial arts with an unseen foe. Skulls and other bones are wedged through the monster’s teeth and tongue. It’s hard to find a focus in this image and the characters look as though they’ve been lifted from a 1980’s independent comic. I’m not liking this cover. Overall grades: Regular B+ and Retailer Incentive D+ 

The story: Bayside, Queens, has the neighborhood nervous when a cozy looking cottage of a home appears out of nowhere. One citizen says the Ghostbusters should be called, but back at their headquarters the veteran Ghostbusters are telling the Sanctum of Slime team that they can’t have the week off, even if they’ve been fighting a chaos god, as seen in the recently completed Ghostbusters: Crossing Over. Peter Venkman isn’t having any of it and orders them to go check out the house that appeared. Before they leave, Egon notices that the slime residue on Alan’s pants are giving off some interesting readings. He wants to study it, but Peter says he can do so after the team returns. At the home in question, Gabriel says it’s giving off some crazy readings. Alan just wants to get the job over with so he can go back to HQ and take a shower. Writer Erik Burnham doesn’t waste any time with the ghosts, as the team finds something not friendly and not alive inside. My only exposure to this team was in Crossing Over, so I was interested to see their characters explored more. I enjoyed this group: Alan wants to make things right, Bridget is no nonsense, Samuel is optimistic to a flaw, and Gabriel is the brains. Alan gets the most focus, since he’s responsible for this issue’s troubles. I like that he’s responsible and that he goes into action when needed. The ghost that the foursome battle seems a little too easy to best and there’s a great reason for that. The true threat of the issue is a neat monster doing some impressive damage. This was enjoyable. There’s also a four page short story titled “Down the Basement Stairs,” also by Burnham. The Sanctum of Slime team is the focus, with Alan, again, getting the focus. The villain he meets is from one of the films. The dialogue is fine, but it’s so short — too short, in fact. The resolution/solution is over in a blink. I know this was a last minute addition, but it doesn’t accomplish much. Overall grade: B-

The art: The visuals on the first story are by Dan Schoening. The arrival of the house on the first page is good, the quaint look of it is disarming, and the reactions from the neighbors appropriate. The stage is set well on the opening page. I’m not liking the look of Peter Venkman. Granted, I have no background with the Ghostbusters in 20 years, but he looks like a caveman. Egon looks like a rooster. It’s an artistic choice, I understand it, but it did startle me each time they appeared. The Sanctum Ghostbusters look good, with Alan being an instant stand out among them when he enters the house. The ghost the team encounters looks great: how else should this spirit look, inhabiting a house that could be made of gingerbread? When this ghost goes into action on Page 6 it’s great. Her power is obvious. The transformation on 7 is excellent: I love the design of this character and I could have stuck with this spook for the entire issue based solely on her look. I love the silhouette at the top of 12. Additionally, the inset panel just below Bridget is perfectly placed. I like the distance from the characters at the top of 14, but I still don’t know what the character on the left looks like because it’s so far away. The entity at the bottom of the page is a fantastic design; this is an absolutely frightful creature. I like the character stances on 16, with Schoening moving the point of view around to make this dialogue sequence visually entertaining. It’s a little thing, but I like that Egon’s entire arm is shown in the third panel, otherwise I might not have know where that hand was coming from. I really like the superhero moment on 18, which is both heroic and hilarious. The final panel is great and the appropriate way to show something disgusting. The back-up story is illustrated by Tim Lattie. I enjoyed the look of this tale, especially the familiar villain. It’s a very stylized look to the characters and I would love to see Lattie do an entire issue. More, please! Overall grade: B+

The colors: Luis Antonio Delgado is the colorist of both tales. The pink colors used on the opening page are not ones I would associate with the supernatural, but they work extremely well considering how the house looks. The harsh orange behind the neighbors amplifies their fear at what they’ve witnessed. I was surprised by the lime green that comprises the walls of headquarters, though it did accentuate that it’s the Sanctum of Slime Ghostbusters in the lead positions. The blues on 6 are terrific and the lighting effects achieved by Delgado on this page make it cinematic. The harsh reds at the top of 12 make the silhouette impossible to miss and fill the reader with dread as much as they do to Alan. I really like the violet tones used on 15 – 20 to create the night. It allowed the visuals to be easily seen and gave the horrors that were occurring a very ominous tone. The reds and lime green at the bottom of 18 up the excitement of the actions considerably. The back-up story uses a lot of browns and tans because much of the story is lit by candlelight. The third page should be a page studied by those who want to color comics to see how to correct place their works on a large illustration: it’s perfection. I also like the shading done on this character. A great job on every page from Delgado. Overall grade: A

The letters: Neil Uyetake is the sole letterer of this tale, though there’s no credit given for the back-up, I’m assuming it’s him. He creates narration, dialogue, and transmissions (all three are the same font), character identifications, an editorial note, sounds, and ghostly dialogue. I wish that three different fonts were used for a trio of texts. They are all different forms of communication, so they should look different. Thankfully the character identifiers are cool and the sounds are outstanding. The Ghostbusters films have exceptional sounds and Uyetake makes every noise unique and wonderful. I also am a major fan of the ghostly speech, which looks as though it’s crawled back from the land of the dead. Overall grade: B-

The final line: A decent outing that explores the Sanctum of Slime Ghostbusters. The story has some fun moments, several good scares, and I learned more about how this team works. The visuals are fine, with the colors being spot on. The back-up story looks fantastic, but is too short to do anything and comes off as a last minute addition, which it was. This is a decent Ghostbusters tale. Overall grade: B

To order a print or digital copy go to https://www.idwpublishing.com/product/ghostbusters-idw-20-20/

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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