Fritz Baugh returns with his look at the eighteenth installment of IDW's fantastic Ghostbusters on-going comic book series. Have you been reading? You should! Do it while you still can! Here's Fritz...
Well, since the last issue came out, we got a bit of a reprieve. The entire Ghostbusters creative team, joined by Tom Waltz, will follow up issue #36 (V2#20) with a four-issue crossover with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And it's the IDW version of the Turtles, which are pretty faithful to the originals (Kevin Eastman helps write it, after all) and not those ass-ugly "Doctor Rockso" abominations (thanks for that one, Troy) Michael Bay is shoveling on us in the movie theaters right now. And Erik Burnham, on GBFans, hinted that the possibility of a Ghostbusters V3 is not dead; that'd be neat, of course, but the franchise seems to have a troubled relationship with getting to the third version of something... I guess we'll see...
So where were we? The Ghostbusters have been split into two groups:
Venkman, Ray, Winston, Janine, Mel, Jenny, Dani, Lou, and All The Rest, are on Hart Island dealing with Vigo the Butch.
Egon and Kylie, meanwhile, are back at GB Central dealing with Dana and Louis, who have been taken back over by Vuul and Zinz Clortho, the Terror Bird minions of Tiamat.
So, first to Venkman and company:
Ron tries to shoot Viggy, but Viggy just kind of laughs it off. Winston tries the slime blower; again, nothing, but suddenly some glowy whitish tendrils start to grab the undead Carpathian despot.
Ray is missing all of it, by the way-- he's once more been sucked into another narcoleptic episode courtesy of Gozer. It's kind of a disturbing thought--what if it's been Gozer all long, all the way back to the first appearance of the John Belushi spirit guardian thirty-four issues ago? Or has it been Tiamat all along? Both ideas seem awfully plausible at this point.
Anyway, the white glowy things are spirits native to Hart Island. They take care of Vigo in return for being left in peace. Later, when Ray wakes up, he expresses confusion about Vigo--the mood slime only worked last time because they had access to the receptacle of Vigo's spirit--the painting. Which is about as close as we'll ever get to explaining why he was back there in the Video Game; that must have been an ugly surprise for the museum one day in 1990 or 1991 when their painting of four angels and a cherub turned back into The Sorrow of Moldavia.
Egon and Kylie, meanwhile, aren't having any luck dealing with Vuul and Zinz with the arm blasters (similar to the ones Winston used in "Tainted Love", the first appearance of the new Mrs. Zeddemore), only accomplishing the destruction of the monitor on the reception desk. Yeah, I thought it was funny when Kylie threatened to tell Janine he did that and Egon was all "Please don't." They can just blame it on the Terror Birds, I guess.
Anyway, to free Dana and Louis, Egon and Kylie resort to yet another patented Ghostbuster Risky Plan: tune the ghost traps to the difference in spiritual frequencies etc etc and try to suck the entities out of them. Sensibly, they try it on Zinz first, since Louis is the more expendable of the two-- it works, and a few minutes later Dana and Louis are back to normal (say it with me: normal being a fairly relative term in this case) while Vuul and Zinz Clortho are on their way to a permanent roosting spot downstairs.
Speaking of the new Mrs. Zeddemore, Tiyah's having dinner with a friend of hers by the name of Kaz Gibbons, who seems to not be really happy for her friend. Kaz is in a wheel chair and, in the first panel she appears in, looks like she might be pregnant. I suspect Kaz is related to Bridget Gibbons from Sanctum of Slime, possibly her Mom, though the baby Kaz might be carrying right now wouldn't be old enough if the timelines work out the way we've been led to: this being c.1996, and SOS taking place in 2010 or 2011, Bridget would have to have been an awfully early-blooming fourteen year old for that to work.
The suspicions about Vigo not really being Vigo are only validated when the rest of the team gets back to GB Central-- sure enough, Vigo's still in the painting. Another piece of Tiamat's plan? As Kylie says later in the issue, what happens when she gets bored with "screwing around" with them? Good news, Kylie-- only two more issues left to possibly find out!
So next we get a pretty important scene: Venkman and Dana alone.
There's always been a weird bit of schizophrenia in the franchise's treatment of Venkman and Dana's relationship. On the one hand, it's central to both movies, with Venkman winning Dana's affections, losing them, then winning them again five years later being a central part of his character arc. On the other hand, mostly due to restrictions imposed by Columbia/Sony, Dana is never seen and rarely even mentioned anywhere else; "Mass Hysteria" is only the second time (after the 2004-2005 "Legion" miniseries by 88MPH) that Dana had a role in anything outside a movie or a movie adaptation. That lack of on-screen follow-up is why I can only think of Venkman and Dana as the franchise's "B" couple at best (and there have been times where I'd rank Eduardo and Kylie as more interesting).
And I'm not sure what to make of the scene. The dialog basically tells us Venkman dumped her this time, not because he didn't care--because he clearly does-- but because he doesn't want Dana pulled into all the nonsense with the paparazzi. He makes a bit of a point, but on the whole...well, I guess this is about the best we can get with threading the needle of Venkman's character arc in the movies and pure licensor politics that have kept Dana away. The scene certainly lessens the "Venkman is a loser" factor, but I can't really call it totally satisfying.
So we end with Egon examining Ray in the colander, while Kylie and Winston speculate about Tiamat's plans and try to keep Louis shut up.
Oh, and then Ray levitates, his eyes glow red, and he starts sparking like he was one of the Scoleri brothers.
This... is really, really not good.
(sigh) And only two (or six) more to go