Ghostbusters #1

This comic book wastes no time introducing the cast of characters to the reader. Erik Burnham provides concise summaries of the Ghostbusters -- Ray Stantz, Winston Zeddemore, Egon Spengler, and Peter Venkman -- and Dan Schoening matches those summaries note for note, providing in depth visual cues of each of the characters that perfectly align with the personalities the characters displayed on the silver screen in the first film twenty-seven years ago.

Opening the story -- and the ongoing series -- in that manner gets all of the exposition (mostly) out of the way. From that point, Burnham and Schoening are free to do what they please and advance the story at their own pace, which they do quite nicely. The following scene features a run-in with a man of marshmallows and a brother steeped in blue. Both caught me by surprise, tickled my funny bone, and left me realizing that in the early portion of this comic book, I had already gotten far more than I expected.

Of course, the only thing that I expected was a collection of great art from Dan Schoening. Schoening delivered some fabulous art for last year's Ghostbusters special from IDW. As in that issue, Schoening's art is lively and animated and, if anything, his technique and storytelling have ramped up. Schoening is visibly influenced by Don Bluth, but his work doesn't stop at simply aping the art of an animation master. Schoening has a quality to his work that makes the characters pop off the page, not unlike a collection of animated stills pasted together to look like a comic. I'm sure some of that is enhanced by Luis Antonio Delgado's fabulous color work.

In addition to filling this book full of great looking art, Schoening packs his art full of details and adds in surprises, like the aforementioned brother and some possessed bathroom accouterments. The art is worth the price of admission, but Erik Burnham's story plays right up to Schoening's strengths and delivers the Ghostbusters, as they should be.

Ray has some problems and consults Egon, while Winston and Venkman go off to investigate a spooking. The latter find some ectoplasm sliming all over an apartment building and realize that they may be in deeper than they thought.

The story has a bounce and swagger to it quite like the first movie. That movie was unfettered by expectations, and exceeded any and all expectations, rocketing into the public consciousness. This book captures the attitude of the movies and the vivaciousness of the actors from that film without slavishly dedicating itself to a lost cause. This is a new story that has the feel of the original, and it's quite a wonderful tale.

As an added bonus, there are some behind-the-scenes sketch and story development pages and a three-page backup story by Tristan Jones that delivers some foreshadowing to what is coming up next for the Ghostbusters.

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