Luke Owen reviews Ghostbusters #14
The embodiment of chaos has taken an interest in earth, and the physical laws of the universe are beginning to come apart at the seams. When Newtonian physics falter in New York City and weirdness is on the rise, you know who’s gonna get called…
Mass Hysteria continues as more seeds are planted for what is sure to be one of the biggest story arcs in Ghostbusters comic history.
We’re now two issues into Mass Hysteria and “slow burn” seems to be the best word to use to describe it so far. The last issue served to bring anyone who was new to the IDW Ghostbusters world up to speed (who the New Ghostbusters are, Winston’s wedding etc) while this issue feels like the true first part to the story. Dana contacts Janine about her disturbance and requests the Ghostbusters help – without letting Venkman know – and we also find out more behind Tiamat, the sister of Gozer. Something strange is certainly happening in the neighbourhood as blood starts to rain from the sky, gravity is playing havoc with cars and Winston and his wife find themselves being accosted verbally by a group of pigeons. It’s an issue of building blocks, but Eric Burnham’s superb script never lets the comic feel pointless.
Burnham has been the true genius behind IDW’s Ghostbusters series and its down to just how much he gets and understands these characters and their traits. He nails all of the idiosyncrasies that makes them unique and its in these moments where Ghostbusters #14 really works. Dialogue between Venkman, Stantz and Egon is wonderful and its truly reminiscent of the first movie and the better episodes of The Real Ghostbusters. Of course there are the usual Burnham-isms of dropping in subtle movie references as a nod to fans, but they never overshadow the story that surrounds them. He gets the balance right.
There’s also a nice visual nod to Back to the Future. Not sure why to be honest, but’s pretty funny none the less.
Where Mass Hysteria will fly or fall is in its villain. Tiamat certainly looks spooky enough and the reason she has targeted Dana ties it back nicely to the movie’s origins, but if she pales in comparison to Gozer (who they are clearly comparing her too), then the story won’t hold as much weight. Simply being told that she is dangerous is one thing, showing us is another. It’s too early to be delving into this idea now, but it is worth bearing in mind.
The key to the success of Ghostbusters #14 is that it has set up the plot for the series really well. Nothing is forced and it all feels natural. The comic is not in a major rush to get to the action and it’s doing enough to whet our appetites while never feeling like a piece of filler. Next issue should see the return of another favourite from the Ghostbusters universe. And he needs to stay fit, keep sharp and make good decisions.