Luke Owen looks at Ghostbusters #17 from IDW…
New York’s unknown dead are buried on Hart Island… and their spirits are about to be stirred, raised and conscripted into an army with but one purpose: raising chaos on the streets of Manhattan. The second half of Mass Hysteria! begins here in our celebration of 30 years of Ghostbusters!
After the announcement that IDW’s Ghostbusters series was coming to an end, this review almost feels bittersweet. You can’t argue that Erik Burnham and co. aren’t going out with a bang, but when a comic is this good you just wish you can have more and more of it.
Ghostbusters #17 is split into three sections, all of which are building up to our thrilling finale. The majority of the Ghostbusters (new and old) are heading off to Hart Island to battle a returning Vigo the Carpathian while Egon and Kylie are back at the Firehouse finding out if Dana and Louis are free of their possessions. Meanwhile, Ray is being haunted by Gozer who appears to be warning of the coming of another Destructor.
It’s been said before but it’s worth saying again, Ghostbusters #17 is exactly why Ghostbusters fans have warmed to Burnham’s writing. Brilliant references are jokes are just the tip of the iceberg as the comic goes to great lengths to tie areas of this franchise into one cohesive unit. In this issue alone we get Vigo, The Scolari Brothers, Stay Puft and Gozer – who appears to be in the Paul Rubens role before he was replaced with Slavitza Jovan. These kind of references are put in there by Burnham for fans to take note of and it’s much appreciated that such a beloved franchise is being written by someone who wants to appease the fans.
But this is not just simple appeasing. It would be easy for Burnham to write in established characters just because he can, but that is not what he is doing. Burnham isn’t throwing references against the wall just to make the fans chuckle, they are all tying into the story and the characters that story effects. Mass Hysteria has been a great series and it’s looking like the conclusion is going to be a spectacle.
There has been some criticism laid against Dan Schoening and his artwork, particularly with his characters all having the “Elvis lip” – but his style does work well for Burnham’s writing. The panels with Ray and Stay Puft are gorgeous and his recreation of Vigo as well as The Scolari Brothers are really great. Fans may have wanted a more “realistic” approach, but Schoening can still add the level of threat needed to back up Burnham’s light-hearted-yet-serious tone.
Ghostbusters #17 is a great issue and possibly the best one of this series yet. It sets up our third act brilliantly and there is so much intrigue going into the final three issues.
Luke Owen is one of Flickering Myth’s co-editors and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.