In Review: Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #3

The Ghostbusters go on an intel mission to get back at the spirit that terrorized them.

The covers: A very varied trio to chose among for this third issue. Corin Howell provides the art and Russell Badgett the colors for the A cover. Continuing the theme of the previous issue’s A covers, a Ghostbuster gets some focus against a detailed background. This features Patty dressed professionally, standing before a bookcase that’s packed with volumes of spirit lore. She looks great and the title of some the volumes have some funny titles, my favorite being My Floating Girlfriend. The B cover is by Jessica Hickman and it’s an Artist’s Edition cover, meaning it’s intended to look like a drawn page that an artist would submit for publication (before those darned computers started being used to create art). This black and white cover has all four of the Ghostbusters shooting their proton packs’ rays at a ghost that’s before them. The specter has a skull face, long hair, clawed hands, and the outline of a torso. The women are cartoony, but close enough to resemble the actresses who portrayed them in the film. Nice, but I would have liked to have seen a background included. My favorite cover of the three is the RI Photo cover featuring the fantastic Leslie Jones. She is one of my favorite cast members on Saturday Night Live and I thought she was fantastic as Patty Tolan in the film. This image, from the end of the film, has Patty in a yellow top smiling. Her gold necklace that sports her name can be easily seen. The warmth this picture exudes is fantastic. I hope to track down a copy of this cover. Overall grades: A A, B C, and RI A+

The story: The four personal hells that each Ghostbuster was hit with last issue are shown again: Erin was assaulted by giant bees, Abby was turned into a clown, Patty was surrounded by spirits saying her name, and Jillian became a conformist who lost the use of her hands. Writer Kelly Thompson then moves to a diner somewhere in midtown where the ladies are in a silent funk after what happened. Erin breaks the silence by saying, “So…that happened.” The other three turn to her, with Patty the only one to have a verbal reaction to what she’s said. Abby quickly joins Patty and Erin’s conversation, correcting her friend that they didn’t get away, Kruger left them. Shockingly, Jillian says, “It let us go. You know what that means? That means it saw what we had to offer and it was unimpressed. Kruger doesn’t even see us as a threat.” She then gets up and leaves the Ghostbusters. The three look on silently. Erin gets up and finds Holtzmann sitting in the alley, unwilling to talk about what happened to her. This is a really dramatic scene, as Jillian is usually the comic relief in this series and she’s completely shook by what’s occurred. Thankfully, Erin says something to change her teammate’s mood, resulting in the wacky scientist making a realization. One of the best moments of the book is in the final panel of Page 7 and I loved it. Back at headquarters plans are made with Kevin getting involved, much to his joy. Three of ladies end up going to a location, discovering some creepy stuff, as well as some restless undead. The action at this locale is the perfect match of funny and scary, with Patty taking something which provides the cliffhanger of the issue. This was a fun installment and has me continuing to root for these Ghostbusters. Overall grade: A

The art: Corin Howell is the book’s artist and his versions of the heroes look good. They’re close enough to their film counterparts to be familiar, yet different enough so that Howell can create them in this own style. The first page is a great summary of the hells the ladies went through last issue and the change of setting on Page 2 is jarring and calming. There’s a lot of detail at this locale and I’m impressed with what Howell does with this place; the point of view of the first panel is particularly impressive. The reactions from the ‘busters to Holtzmann’s sober statements on 3 effectively communicate to the reader their shock. Howell’s ability to move the point of view around serves him well for the scene in the alley, with him expertly telling the story from several different angles. Page 6’s third and fifth panels stand out for the high angle and the close-up on Erin and Jillian’s mouth. Kevin’s reaction to be included in the action on 9 has him getting an ultra cartoony visual in the fourth panel, which matches his demeanor perfectly, with the last panel on the page also having him look good. Beginning on 10 the Ghostbusters are in a creepy setting and Howell shows he can create goosebumps by using black spaces extremely well. The ladies’ reactions at the bottom of 12 are great. The reveal on 14 is good with the items in the jars being neat nasty objects. The characters that show their faces on 15 are good, with their numbers increasing the frights. I really enjoyed the panel that crosses the top of 16 and 17: it captures the familiar actions in a really cool way. Kevin’s headpiece on 19 had me thinking of another male character in the same situation from the first film and it made me giggle. The final page teases trouble, but shows nothing, as the point of view (See how well Howell does this?!) will leave the reader guessing until the next installment. I’m liking Howell’s work. Overall grade: A

The colors: The first page is a colorful experience because of the four different nightmares of the Ghostbusters. The middle two panels have the most dynamic colors, featuring good uses of red, and as a whole the page looks good. Valentina Pinto uses the expected tacky colors for the interior of the diner well, with red and yellow being familiar and just wrong. The scene in the ally also has some neat shading, with Holtzmann being primarily out of the light, matching her mood. When the tone goes upbeat, notice how the powder blue sky is used to create warmth. The interiors of the team’s headquarters is really dark, especially at the top of each page. Pinto could have cheated reality by using lighter colors to make the visuals more easily seen. Where darker colors work is at the mysterious building the heroes enter. When the ghosts appear they are given spectral blues, which contrast well with the proton pack’s blasts. The last panel of the book would have been much better had it been lighter, but most of the art can be seen. There are also a few sounds, SHHHHZZZAKK and CLICK among them, that would have also been better had they been colored differently, since they blend in too easily with the artwork. Lighter colors in certain scenes would have improved this book. Overall grade: B-

The letters: The book’s text from Neil Uyetake includes scene settings and dialogue (the same font), screams, ghostly speech, whispers, yells, laughter, and sounds. I’m really disappointed that only coloring and the shape of the boxes differentiates scene settings from dialogue. This is the only comic I can think of in years where the scene settings are the same font as the dialogue. Thankfully, the rest of the text looks fine, with the sounds being cool, though some are lost in the coloring. Overall grade: B+

The final line: The Ghostbusters go on an intel mission to get back at the spirit that terrorized them. Solid one-liners, an interesting plot, and entertaining art make this an enjoyable outing. Overall grade: A-

To order a print or digital copy go to http://www.idwpublishing.com/product/ghostbusters-answer-the-call-3/

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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