Everyone is answering the call.
The Ghostbusters franchise has gone through a number of varied incarnations over the years, transitioning from the original movies to animated series like The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters to the 2016 movie reboot. One of the perks of IDW’s long-running Ghostbusters comic is that all of these incarnations are allowed to coexist and intermingle. These books have established an entire Ghostbusters multiverse (one in which the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles also exist, because why not?). The premise with IDW’s latest Ghostbusters comic couldn’t be more straightforward or appealing. What if every incarnation of the Ghostbusters joined forces for one epic, paranormal adventure?
Ghostbusters: Crossing Over #1 hinges mainly on the classic team, along with a handful of comic book-specific characters like Kylie Griffin and Ron Alexander and then Dr. Jillian Holtzmann holding down the fort for the Ghostbusters: Answer the Call. No doubt the cast will balloon significantly over the course of this eight-issue story, but fans should be aware that they’re not getting a massive crossover mash-up right out of the gate.
This issue makes for a fairly slow start, but not pointlessly slow. Despite the fact that IDW hasn’t published Ghostbusters as a single, ongoing series in a long time, there’s always a sense that writer Erik Burnham and artist Dan Schoening are telling a continuous, structured story. Even offshoots like TMNT/Ghostbusters have their place in the larger narrative. The methodical nature of this opening chapter is important. Burnham and Schoening continue building on past developments with the main GB team in both their professional and personal lives even as they set up this new crossover. That character-driven approach doesn’t make this issue any less approachable; it simply ensures that readers are more emotionally invested in the conflict right off the bat.
Furthermore, what little interdimensional tomfoolery there is in issue #1 hints at the potential of this series. Holtzmann and Alexander make for a very entertaining pair as they test the limits of their new interdimensional travel tech and inadvertently set the wheels of the series in motion. I’m looking forward to the zaniness that ensues when the Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters teams join the fray.
It’s tough to picture a Ghostbusters comic without Schoenig at the helm at this point. From the early days of IDW’s stories, Schoening has been integral in developing a unique look and feel for the franchise. He doesn’t strive for a photo-realistic, movie-inspired approach. Schoeng’s style is much more expressive and cartoonish, but in a way that looks very distinct from previous Ghostbusters animated series. Though Schoening has also proven himself perfectly adept at recreating the look of Real Ghostbusters and blending the two universes together. No doubt that skill will come in very handy here.
The only drawback to Schoening’s style is that there can be a slightly off-kilter quality to the way some characters look much more exaggerated than others. The original Ghostbusters are basically distorted caricatures of their movie selves, but supporting characters like Walter Peck tend to sport a relatively more realistic look. No doubt Schoening will be able to give each Ghostbusters team its own sense of style, but it’s strange that there’s not more visual consistency in the main Ghostbusters universe.