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'Ghostbusters, Vol. 1 New Ghostbusters:' Advance TPB Review

Though their last movie was Ghostbusters 2 in 1989, the Ghostbusters have become a permanent staple in popular culture, and we all know and love the paranormal antics of Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz, Winston Zeddemore, and their long-suffering secretary Janine Melnitz. Over the years, there have been Ghostbusters cartoons and video games, and I am sure some fan fiction, too.  Now, IDW has revitalized The Ghostbusters through the realm of comics, and, in a way, they’ve done it twice. The New Ghostbusters is a new, ongoing title that picks up where IDW’s initial sixteen issue Ghostbusters series left off, and this collection of the first four issues is loads of spooky fun.

Written by Erik Burnham, with art by Dan Schoening, and colors by Luis Antonio Delgado, the highest praise I can give The New Ghostbusters is that it fits into the Ghostbusters' world so perfectly it feels like it has always been there, while at the same time it does something entirely new and fresh.  That can be a delicate balancing act, especially with a property that people love and that has a strong connection to nostalgia for many of us.  Building off the sixteen-issue original series, which was done by the same creative team, Burnham and his cohorts add to the world they have created, a world deeply rooted in those two classic films, and turn it on its head by taking the Ghostbusters out of the equation, forcing a new group of individuals to step up and take on the supernatural surprises that continue to rear their ugly heads in New York City.  This new team is headed up by Melnitz, the Ghostbusters’ secretary, who knows the ins and outs of the guys’ business and exactly what is involved in busting ghosts.  Her new team is a group of individuals introduced in the series preceding this one, which I had not read, and yet I didn’t feel like I was coming late to the party, since these characters are all re-introduced solidly and succinctly early on, and after I met them, I felt like I had known them the whole time, which is a wonderful feeling.

Speaking of the movies, there are a few returning characters nestled inside this new series, including Walter Peck, the bureaucrat who’s always trying to shut down, control, and generally annoy the Ghostbusters, and not much has changed, except he has come to realize the Ghostbusters are a necessity, though with Janine and her team now running the show, he sees this as his chance to finally exert some power.  One of the most entertaining elements is the new uniform the largely female new Ghostbusters are forced to wear by Peck’s liaison, and there is a clever gag tied up in that which is small but wonderful.  While each issue has its own ghost, this is not an episodic comic as the characters develop over the course of the issues and there are overarching mysteries, especially what happened to the original Ghostbusters.  We do get to spend some time with the original Ghostbusters, and you can feel the camaraderie between them, their dialogue smart, funny, and natural.  Throughout this whole collection, the writing is quick and clever, with just the right mix of comedy, supernatural malfeasance, and scientific jargon you would expect from the Ghostbusters.  Burnham knows this world inside out, making it no surprise this series has been a success, because it is simply a joy to read.  The art is clean, fun, and captures the affable nature of the franchise, and the ghosts are intriguing and sometimes even a bit frightening, even when they are bright and colorful.  The characters also have their own comic book style look, and I thought that was a nice touch, and added to the strength of the series. 

While this series takes place inside the Ghostbusters’ universe, it is its own entity, with characters and stories that build into and enrich the mythos.  Not all the mysteries are solved by the end of these first four issues though, which is perfectly acceptable since this is just the beginning of a new series, and seeds are planted throughout for future stories.  This first volume of The New Ghostbusters works both as an enjoyable continuation from the first series and a perfect jumping on point for those who haven’t been privy to the IDW adventures of the Ghostbusters until now.  If you want a fun, solid story with plenty of action and laughs and want to spend some quality time with old friends and new, then you know who to call.

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