In Review: Ghostbusters: Crossing Over #4

If you're a Ghostbusters fan, this is like Christmas.

The covers: A trio to tempt you to pick up for this outing. Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado are responsible for the A cover which is in the same format as previous A covers. In the foreground is animated series Peter Venkman. Behind him is an Ecto-vehicle, driven by a character I do not recognize, with Slimer and Bridget Gibbons on the roof. And frozen as she makes an airborne spin is Lou Kamaka. Her pose is pure action hero, complete with her gun floating just below her, spritzing a bit of energy. The background is composed of dark blues, surrounded by diagonal light blue rectangles with yellow warning tape in the left corner and bottom right. I have been a fan of these covers and continue to be so. The B is by Tim Lattie and it’s a jaw-dropper as it shows several specters that have been the ‘busters’ foes in film, television, and comics. I couldn’t begin to name them all, but this looks fantastic! In the background kid versions of the Ghostbusters can be seen looking down upon the ghosts, while in the foreground, colored darkly to hide it, is a bust of Egon. This is my favorite cover for this issue. The Retailer Incentive cover is by S.L. Gallant with colors by Delgado. Four different versions of Slimer watch the screen version of the green glob scarf down a cheeseburger and fries. Behind the iconic emerald entity is the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, with his angry eyes watching the feeding fest. This is a fun cover with the characters looking true to their source material and the colors excellent. Overall grades: A A, B A+, and Retailer Incentive A

The story: The Prime Ghostbusters have called on the Ghostbusters from other dimensions to help them capture some spirits that have escaped their facility into other dimensions. The teams entered the portal last issue, but, as revealed on the second page of this issue, have not ended up where and with whom they expected. Jillian Holtzmann is panicking as she and the others have appeared in a dimension that resembles a Sunday morning comic strip. She’s accompanied by the Prime Dimesnion’s Peter Venkman and Melanie Ortiz, the Real Ghostbusters’ Egon Spengler, the Extreme Ghostbusters’ Roland Jackson, and the Sanctum of Slime Ghostbusters’ Bridget Gibbons. This combination of characters is fun, with two of the characters more concerned with tracking down bigger ghosts than the one they’re there to take back. In a darker dimension, Prime’s Egon and Winston Zeddemore, Sanctum’s Alan Crendall, Extreme’s Eduardo Rivera, Answer the Call’s Abby Yates, and Real’s Winston encounter the most infamous spirit in history. Their interactions with this character are creepy and funny, with Abby having a great closing line. Other teams are shown in action, with equally entertaining scenes. One cannot help but be impressed with writer Erik Burnham’s handle of every character, having them be true to themselves, having them in separate environments, and keeping the story rolling. He could have been lost with character interactions, which would have been entertaining, but he keeps the book moving along at a comfortable pace. The book ends with the first team entering a setting that doesn’t please Peter. This story has got some great action, solid scares, and is absolutely fun. Overall grade: A

The art: One of the pleasures of reading the Prime Ghostbusters’ adventures is the art of Dan Schoening. He’s created unique looks for these characters that are just similar enough to resemble their film counterparts, but are uniquely his own design. With this series Schoening doesn’t just have to draw his own versions of the characters, he has to draw all the other ‘busters and have them be true to their original designs. Throw in the extremely different settings and it’s a wonder that Schoening hasn’t gone insane juggling all the styles this series demands. The Sunday comic strip universe is made of six equal sized panels on a page with the characters that inhabit it in very 1960’s stylized art. The houses are also minimally drawn, reinforcing the state of the universe. The second team is a black and white environment, with the spirit that appears initially shown in silhouette. These pages are really spooky due to the absence of color, relying on Shoening’s art solely to create visual tension. A third team is in a “real scenic dimension” and it looks terrific. Had the team just explored this location for the duration of the issue I would have been happy. However, an infamous spirit appears and he looks great. There’s some solid action with this spook and the team’s chase after it. The next team is the most outrageous looking of the heroes and they’re shown in action. I know nothing about these characters, having never seen them before this series, and they are becoming favorites. Their design is great, with the smallest ones being a hoot and a half. Everything about this book looks great. Overall grade: A

The colors: Luis Antonio Delgado is the book’s colorist and his contributions are terrific. The Sunday funnies pages are instantly recognizable in part because of the colors, especially the use of Ben-Day dots. The second team is in black and white, but I’m sure that Delgado helped create the tones of those pages, with the lights from Egon’s device getting some great glowing effects. The blues at the third team’s locale are beautiful. They are one of the reasons I would have been happy to explore this setting. The colors of the sounds used to show the ghost’s arrival at this location are given a rusty hue, aging this character appropriately. When the specter does appear, it’s, sadly, too dark. It’s really difficult to make out this character, especially the top half. I understand the necessity to make this individual dark, because it’s scary, but if the reader is straining to see the illustration it will make the reading experience frustrating. The rest of the book looks fine, but that one ghost lessens the grade. Overall grade: A-

The letters: Narration and dialogue (the same font), yells, an editorial note, ghostly dialogue, sounds, and a robotic Ghostbuster’s unique speech are created by Neil Uyetake. I like when narration and dialogue are two different fonts, rather than differentiated by their color and the shape of the balloons that contain them. The yells are good and strong, being large and thicker than the dialogue, the editorial note is not only in a smaller font, but is italicized to set it apart, and the ghostly sounds, for which this franchise of comics has always used, looks spectacular. The sounds are also fun, with CLOPPITY CLOPPITY CLOP CLOP CLOP, SHHZAAAAAKKKKK, and KRACKLE being really cool. Overall grade: A

The final line: The heroes are in different dimensions trying to recapture ghosts and it ain’t easy. The story is the right mix of scares and humor, with the dialogue between all the characters fantastic, and the visuals are impressive for being so true to their source material and the wildly different settings. If you’re a Ghostbusters fan, this is like Christmas. Every iteration of the Ghostbusters interacts with the others and it’s a blast. Overall grade: A

To purchase a print or digital copy go to http://www.idwpublishing.com/product/ghostbusters-crossing-over-4/

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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