Luke Owen reviews the latest issue of Ghostbusters…
“After several tough cases, the Ghostbusters are ready for a real day off from dealing with the supernatural… but that doesn’t necessarily mean the supernatural is going to take a day off from them. Ready to settle in and do some relaxing, they are surprised as a spectral child appears before them, speaking one word before it disappears — help.”
Poor old Winston. While Venkman, Stanz and Spengler are to be remembered forever within video games, artwork, t-shirts etc., Winston Zeddemore will forever be known as “the 4th Ghostbuster”, “the one who joined late” or “the one who isn’t a proper Ghostbuster”. Even when he is a permanent fixture in Ghostbusters II, he still feels like a secondary role – not even involved in the initial discovery of the river of slime that runs underneath New York.
However Winston doesn’t always sit on the sidelines. He had a pretty big role in the cartoon series The Real Ghostbusters and he gets a lot of action in the current IDW comic series – in particular Ghostbusters #16 where he gets to take centre stage in a sort-of-but-not-really Christmas themed issue.
After proposing to his girlfriend, Winston and the Ghostbusters are called into action by a spectral child who needs their help. But as Winston rushes in to tackle the ghost and save the kid, a force field is placed around the house trapping him on the inside and his co-workers on the outside. Now Zeddemore has to tackle the ghost of his former army drill Sergent as well as learn some home truths about his life as a Ghostbuster.
Upon receiving Issue #16, I fully expected this to be a buffer “Christmas Issue” with no real plot or character motivation to bridge the gap into the new year and set up the formation of The New Ghostbusters (coming Q1 2013). But it was really nice to see that Erik Burnham has kick started the process now while still keeping the issue Winston focused. It’s a nice balancing act that never feels like it’s taking on too much. We get a good view into Winston’s army history as well as his personal life and how his work effects the relationship with his now fiancee. And while Winston is battling his foes, we are re-introduced to Janosz Poha (from Ghostbusters II) who is being contacted by the evil spirit that Egon hinted at in Issue #15. Despite the spirit disguising himself initially as Vigo to trick Janosz, he is unwilling to bow down to the spirit and we get a nice insight into how the character has dealt with the events of Ghostbusters II as he attempts a normal life. Little touches like this are what have made Burnham’s run of Ghostbusters so good. He is clearly a huge Ghostbusters fan who believes in continuity between all iterations of the franchise and he does this to an almost flawless degree.
Ghostbusters #16 is a Winston centred story and it’s a really nice one too which feels like a nice change of pace from the last few issues. The artwork from Dan Schoening is once again ace with a light cartoony feel that still remains threatening when the reader is faced with danger. The final panel of the comic is a real highlight and a great teaser for the next few issues. Ghostbusters #16 looks like it would be a throw away seasonal comic, but it’s a really decent Ghostbusters story with some good character, lots of heart and an intriguing set-up for the eventual fall of our heroes…
Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.