Ghostbusters #2

With the original Ghostbusters still missing in action, writer Erik Burnham and artist Dan Schoening, with Luis Antonio Delgado coloring and Neil Uyetake lettering, bring more replacement Ghostbuster adventures to readers in "Ghostbusters" #2. The team is now comprised of Janine Melnitz, the administrative assistant for the Ghostbusters; Kylie Griffin from Ray Stantz's Occult Books store; Melanie Ortiz, an FBI agent recently involved in a relationship with Peter Venkman; and Ron Alexander, who founded the Ghost Smashers in the previous "Ghostbusters" series from IDW.

This issue is an affable balance of behind-the-scenes bureaucratic bumbling, ghostbusting and theories on where the original team is and how they can return home. Given that the new team is three-quarters female, Burnham tosses in some exploitive manipulations from the Paranormal Contracts Oversight Commission and has the ladies suit up in short-legged pantsuits for their publicity photos. Naturally, a call comes in while they're suited up and they answer, as the Ghostbusters should to save the fine citizens of New York. That stirs a subplot and addresses the uniforms depicted on the covers of these first two issues. Additionally, Burnham drops in some fleeting character moments for the members of the team, but Ron Alexander is the one character that gets the most spotlight, having a geek out moment as he gets his chance to use the Ghostbusters gear.

Between Burnham's writing and Schoening's art, I found myself envisioning Chevy Chase in the role of Alexander. True, the character no more visually represents Chase than Schoening's Venkman resembles Bill Murray, but the essence of the actor comes through in the art, gestures and voice of the character. Truly, Schoening's art and Delgado's coloring are the main attraction in this book for me. The art is vibrant, detailed, and invigorating, which is a perfect fit for a story that feels like it could have been combined into a more impactful package. As it is, though, we get more Schoening art this way.

"Ghostbusters" #2 is wrapped up with a two-page backup of "The Real Ghostbusters" that continues from last issue, telling the story of Ralph, a ghost newly introduced to the world within the Ecto Containment Unit. Burnham supplies both story and art for this quaint snapshot from memory lane. There is a very strong representation here from the action figures and cartoon, but the story itself just doesn't feel significant.

The first two issues of this series have been a competent beginning, but "Ghostbusters" #2 could very easily have been "Ghostbusters" #1, or at least the second half of a first issue. I like what Burnham and Schoening bring to this franchise, and they've certainly made their mark with the Ghostbusters. Where it goes from here and how quickly remain to be seen and will certainly shape the success of this newest volume of "Ghostbusters" comic books.

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