IDW Ghostbusters On-Going (Volume 2) Issue 20 Review

"We came to kick ass and chew bubblegum... and we're all out of - - wait, Janine! Are you chewing bubblegum!?! Dammit!"

With apologies to SPT's good friend Fritz Baugh, this review should have gone up two weeks ago but I was waiting to read the issue myself and post my thoughts at the same time. Especially since I have many positive comments to counterpoint some of Fritzy's self-admitted snark. While I read the issue, and loved every minute of it and find it to be a really fitting bookend to a great set of stories, my counterpoint has been holding this article up. So, without any more delay, here are Fritz's thoughts on the issue and I'll be posting a separate recap of the IDW on-going series and just how much it meant to me a bit down the road.

As usual, spoilers are to be found below. Here's Fritz:

So... when we last left our heroes, Gozer had been thoroughly trounced by Tiamat, and Winston had just offered himself as a sacrifice if she'll just go away.

So what happens next?

Well, the short version:  Tiamat wins.

Here's the good news about it:  she isn't trying to take over or destroy the world, so she doesn't. She just wanted to kick Gozer's ass, and once she did that-- last issue-- all that was keeping her here was the entertainment value.  And her real agenda.

You see... Tiamat, as it turns out, isn't really a villain.  She's a plot device.

So for the anniversary story, we needed a bunch of set pieces to recall the movies. Dana and Louis are trucked in, just so they can be possessed by Tiamat's pets Vuul and Zinz Clortho, and  transformed into animals.  There's a great big battle on a roof top, involving almost every character ever introduced in the IDW series, and Tiamat is "defeated" by Crossing the Streams.

But since we hadn't done any GBII set pieces, she stuck around long enough for the Scoleri Brothers and Vigo to (sorta) make an appearance, as well as making sure that some of the IDW characters who hadn't been in the big battle in #16 get to show up.

But in #20 (#36) at last we see Tiamat's other function:  in-story continuity editor.

From a Ghostbusters Message Board: Give Tiamat his marriage to Tiyah?  I heard that offered as a joking possibility*, and boy, would that solve the "IDW made a big change in the status quo" issue... but then again, you’d have to be insane and stupid to think that was a good idea, and Joe Quesada thankfully doesn't run IDW.

For the life of me I can't find the post where someone suggested that.  I reread threads on #19 (#35) from the IDW board and GBFans, and didn't find that comment.  I found comments suggesting Tiyah was going to die, but not that one.  I wish I could find it-- I'd like to compliment them on their prescience.

Well, Joe Quesada doesn't run IDW, but IDW doesn't own these characters. I guess I should have figured that the "permanent" change to the status quo in #13 (#29) wasn't going to be, but it was such a beautifully done ceremony, a great pay-off to years of character development, and knowing how Sony seems to sometimes forget Winston exists, maybe they'd let one permanent good change through?  Nope.  I just wish IDW hadn't leaned on call-backs to one of the shittiest comic book stories of all time to do it.

On the plus side, sacrificing your married life to save Earth from possible destruction or domination by a Sumerian goddess makes a lot more sense than doing it to appease an editor-in-chief's midlife crisis.  And hey, as the last few scenes show, if that Volume 3 does come along, Tiyah could easily be written back in as Winston's girlfriend, the same place she was before.

And the other plus side:  it worked.  With Gozer defeated, guest appearances made, scenes recalling the movies enacted, and pesky permanent status-quo changes eliminated, Tiamat just packs up and leaves.  She isn't blown up, she isn't slapped into the Containment Unit;  the villain of the big anniversary story just gets bored and leaves.  Like I said, Tiamat wins. 

The transparent "well, we need to put our toys back where we found them since there's no guarantees of a Vol. 3" angle continued in the epilogue.  Dani and Lou join Ron and Whatshisface at Ghostbusters:  Chicago Character Limbo Division.  (Jenny "Looks Like Donna Dixon" Moran isn't mentioned, so maybe she stayed in New York to keep close to Ray "Looks Sorta Like Donna Dixon's Husband" Stantz).

Thankfully, Louis goes back to Ocala.  Dana goes home before Oscar arrives back from his weekend with Andre, and other than the fact that he has a birthday card and a new jersey to pee on courtesy of Venkman, he's none the wiser.

Mel and Kylie, similarly, go into… well, "They’re available if we can use them later but if we can’t they live happily ever after off-screen" mode.

And Roger? Well, he got an offer to teach in San Francisco.  He asked Janine to go with him, but she refused.  "Too much New York".  I almost feel bad for EgonLite;  there's been some implied  strain on his and Janine's relationship ever since Roger found out about her past (including the not-so-distant-past kiss) with EgonActual, what with him not going to Winston's (now out-of-continuity) wedding, but it had to hurt.  He probably had to deal with the knowledge that he was going to have a tough time becoming anything more than "The guy she has because she can't get the guy she wants", and that sucks.  For her part, well, this makes the second relationship left in flaming wreckage for her.  The only bright spots are that Roger was a quantum improvement over the last one... and of course EgonActual is still in New York.  Ah well... Roger Baugh will ensure that I personally will be in the answer to a Ghostbusters trivia question for years to come.

Which inevitably brings us to Egon's offhand comment about being in a "similar situation" to Winston and a certain "photographer from Queens". I think I'll avoid reading too much into this--I mean, after all, Egon occasionally says strange things-- but it makes one wonder.  I think Egon has been at the center of more subplots that didn't pay off over the last three years than any of the other Ghostbusters.  What was going on with his book designed to "stimulate" the female libido (revealed one issue after remarks about Janine seeming more "aggressive")?  Or the gris-gris, which looked like a Chekhov's Gun of some sort but only seemed to pop out a little flag that said "bang" (and not even in capital letters)?  I guess the "forced delusion" business is just one more "noodle incident" to throw into the pile.

I guess I should say a few more words of parting, but the silver lining is... we're not done yet.  The Ghostbusters series may be gone, but the entire team of creators is back next month with a Ninja Turtle crossover. So four more months of IDW Ghostbusters goodness to go!  

See you then!