Longtime SPT friend and contributor Fritz Baugh is back with his reviews of IDW's amazing on-going Ghostbusters series. The issue continues the series' Mass Hysteria event and features a few familiar faces that haven't yet appeared in the IDW Comics! Spoilers are abound below, so consider yourself warned!
Troy's graciously allowed me to continue, on the new SPT blog, the snarky reviews of IDW's Ghostbusters comics which I used to post on the SPT message board. While the SPT board is now no more, I also cross post them at my own web site: you can see the reviews of previous issues here.
With that out of the way, on to the current issue!
Fritz Babbles About Ghostbusters #31 (V2#15)
I had a real decision when buying this issue. Which cover to buy? I hated both of them. Not the fault of the artists--just the subject matter. I leaned toward the Tristan Jones one because it was the RGB version, but then again, it also had the subject matter trying (and failing, as he almost always does) to look heroic or competent or something.
Ah well... I know Louis Tully is a popular character and lots of people are excited about his IDW debut. I'm just not one of them. This does not have anything to do with Rick Moranis, a very talented and funny actor who was great in the first movie and in other films like Spaceballs. The blame for my disdain lies solely, as many know, with Ghostbusters II: after funny and effective use of the character in the courtroom scene, they made the mistake of keeping him around. I understand the reasons from a purely real-world standpoint: Moranis was a rather hot item in 1989, as well as good friends with Harold Ramis from the Second City days, so it didn't make much sense (to them) to just have him in the courtroom scene then go away. But look at the awful stuff they came up with to "justify" having Louis in the rest of the movie: a bunch of dumb Slimer scenes that even they didn't even think were good enough for the final cut of the movie, and the complete assassination of Janine's character compared to the way she was written and portrayed in the first movie. She was basically dumbed down to make the sleazy Janine/Louis work (and even then, it didn't). Worst of all, in a comedy movie, the scenes just weren't funny. They were more squicky and uncomfortable. (Editor Troy's Note: To be Fritzy's devils advocate, I happen to find the Janine/Louis scenes in the second film one of the highlights of the movie. The two acting like hormone-charged teenagers on a babysitting gig tickles me every time.)
But enough of that rant that most of the posters on the Ghostbusters boards have heard before.
Spoilers Ahead, as usual:
We start this issue a few days earlier at LaGuardia Airport, as Louis arrives in New York from Ocala, Florida, meaning that after Egon threatened to send him to the Netherworld (or that's what I like to imagine what happened to get him to go away) he moved closer to his mother. He's met at the airport by his cousin Sherm, a podiatrist who looks suspiciously like Eugene Levy. Well, not a coincidence--as the more dedicated Ghostheads are well aware, Levy was, indeed, originally slated to play Sherman Tully in Ghostbusters II (GB2), but his scenes were cut. You can see a version of what might have been at the fansite GBFans, where the GB2 comic adaptation was posted; on the one hand, it was another instance of GB2's insistence on aggressively repeating the same beats as the original film (by having Mayor Lenny demand the Ghostbusters' release instead of Sherman writing it at Louis's prompting), and Levy is awesome; but on the other hand, with all the out-of-nowhere stuff Louis was at the center of in that movie already, it's probably the wiser decision to not truck in yet another instance.
Turns out this scene takes place about the same time Winston and Tiyah are getting hitched--we see the rain of blood from Louis and Sherm's point of view as the drive from the airport. Sherm doesn't seem fazed--after finding your son masturbating with an apple pie, nothing is gonna shock you anymore.
We return to the "present", as Dana tries to escape her now bricked-up apartment. It...doesn't work, and she's soon under Tiamat's spell. "One down, one to go" the Queen of Chaos says cryptically. Gosh, what could she possibly mean by that? Maybe connected to a past incident involving Gozer, Dana, and a character who just happened to show up this issue?
The scene shifts to Ray's Occult, where Mel, Kylie, and Eduardo are comparing notes and researching Tiamat and Gozer's history--we see the five-headed dragon version of Tiamat from "I Am The City" and Gozer, in an infrequent callback to pre-Burnham/Schoening IDW stories, in the form of a giant slug thing like the Ghost of Christmas Future's vision in "Past, Present, Future"--and Eduardo states that maybe it's time to, despite Dana's desires and Janine's orders, bring Ray at least in on this. This really annoys Kylie, because she agrees with him, and agreeing with Eddie really annoys her (their Unresolved Sexual Tension at work). So she takes it out on his deck of cards instead.
Helen Schreck of ABS News is updating us on the rain of blood as we switch to Bob's Country Bunker, where Louis is trying to get drunk on 7-Up and wondering why it's not working. A rather strikingly good looking blonde woman saunters in and starts hitting on him, which hasn't happened to him since back in the Keymaster Cologne days. But unlike most of the women who pick him up in bars, it doesn't take until the next morning for her face to sprout scales. No, he hasn't wandered into another V reboot by mistake--it's Tiamat. After Louis faints, she drags him out of there; the other bar patrons don't do anything, because hey, it's a bar--they see stuff just like this all the time.
Back at Ghostbusters Central, Venkman and Wally are having another one of their fights. Janine is on another call when the phone rings, and against Wally's wishes Venkman answers it.
It's a voice saying two words: "Peter... help..."
You know all those times in IDW's stories where Egon is just not giving a shit about what anybody is trying to tell him or get him to do until Janine either gets in trouble or starts yelling at him about it? Yeah, this is like that. On steroids. Without a word--which, as Wally quickly points out, is completely uncharacteristic--Venkman vaults out of his office, runs to the all-new ECTO-5 motorcycle, and burns rubber out of the firehouse like a bat out of hell.
Any guesses who and where?
Yep. Venkman skids to a stop at the Upper West Side, and Dana's apartment. So he does know where she lives and that she's still in New York. We know Dana's already possessed, so he's clearly been lured here; the rest of the Ghostbusters, original and New (even Ron "Jake Kong" Alexander) arrive. Venkman's mad because nobody told him Dana was in trouble again; Janine tells him that was at Dana's insistence so piss off. Just about then, Janine hears a voice from her darkest romantic chapter, filtered through photonegative Gothic font.
Dana and Louis dangle like puppets from the building. "Tiamat will see you now"
Holy cow. And the story's not even halfway over, kiddies!
See you next month!