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‘Ghostbusters 101 #5:’ Comic Book Review

Are you a fan of both the original Ghostbusters such as Bill Murray and Harold Ramis and the new Ghostbusters like Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig? If you’ve ever dreamt of the two Ghostbusters groups teaming up, Ghostbusters 101 is truly for you. Separated by two dimensions, the characters have come together to fight ghosts on Ellis Island. This is quite similar to how DC Comics and Marvel Comics do their multiverse crossovers within their imprint. It affords creators to allow many well-beloved characters to coexist side by side when they may have not otherwise. It’s always easier to just put them side by side in one universe but, often times, they could be in another universe altogether.

Here, the series has marked its fifth chapter. With news that the two Statues of Liberty are growing in size, Walter Peck is speaking on behalf of the commission overseeing the Ghostbusters. The contradictions between what Peck says publicly and what he says to Janine Melnitz are humorous to watch. It shows how much of a politician Peck really. He is much more direct when it comes to Melnitz demanding that she and the rest of the Ghostbusters offer him an update on the situation. Dr. Jillian Holtzmann arrives on the scene and obviously doesn’t care whatsoever about Peck. It shows she is the type of anti-authoritarian character that can work well against Melnitz’s more reserved and follow-the-rules attitude.

Holtzmann highlighted how she’s from another universe and could mess with Peck. She seems very carefree about most things, too. Melnitz and Holtzmann have their own back and forth which is amusing and shows how long they’ve worked together or how quickly they’ve developed a friendship. It’s something that truly comes from experience. You develop a shorthand with those who you work with. It helps to make things all the easier in the long run. Dr. Erin Gilbert finally gets the focus redirected on what exactly they’re looking for. The Ghostbusters seem to get quite a bit lost in their own drama while not focusing on the task at hand. It could be because some of them have not worked together and this multiversal crossover is new for both groups of Ghostbusters.

Dr. Ray Stanz says something needs to be done about it soon. Gilbert questions why exactly there was not a lock on the dimensional gate. Neither Stanz nor Dr. Egon Spengler really has answers, which questions how responsible they are. Soon, as they finally make their way to Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, where all the supernatural action is happening, the ghost of Herman Melville presents himself as they deal with what seems to be the Whale from Moby Dick. Eric Burnham, the writer, shows he’s a real fan of not only Ghostbusters but Melville’s work, as well.

The obsessions of these characters in going after ghosts and returning those who came to this universe back to their own are not so far apart from what happens in Melville’s story. His story is also about obsessions and how it drives men and women. Burnham is doing the same thing here. Thanks to Holtzmann, they take down down the whale, which leads to gloating by Holtzmann to Dr. Peter Vankman. It’s a nice payoff from earlier in the issue when Holtzmann was ridiculing the techniques by which Vankman uses to capture ghosts.

Dr. Abbi Yates finds herself upset that they’re not catching many ghosts, but Gilbert reminds her they’ve been successful in the past. The interactions with the original Ghostbusters seems to make some characters feel stronger while others feel intimidated. Gilbert’s reminding her she’s had a career ghostbusting is proof that this audience is not as familiar with this new group, because they only premiered in a movie last year versus the original group, which had two movies and plenty of other stories told in other mediums since then.

At the issue’s close, they begin preparing for their next plan to go after the ghosts. This seems to be something they are doing to make up for the previous mistakes they made. Alongside Burnham, Dan Schoening, the artist, is able to portray the wacky world of Ghostbusters but also do very good, detailed caricatures of the actors that portray these characters on screen. In the end, this issue does what any good issue does: It gets you excited to follow both of these groups of Ghostbusters along as they take down more ghosts. Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!

Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, addiction and recovery, and the entertainment industry.

Tommy Zimmer, Fanbase Press Guest Contributor



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