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Ghostbusters - The Other Side, Issue 1 Review

Publisher: IDW
Title: Ghostbusters: The Other Side
Issue: 1
Date: October, 2008
Author: Keith Champagne
Art: Tom Nguyen

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Ghostbusters - The Other Side, Issue 1 We enter this comic at a jog, which accelerates to a run throughout. Being the first issue in the series, and given how far removed it is from the heyday of the movie, it was refreshing that the need to spend the entire first issue on exposition and clumsy character development was not present. Instead, we see some nefarious dealings going on between two groups of underworld spirits, and the boys in gray burst in on the scene to show them how they do things downtown. From there, it's a matter of possession, research, revelation, poltergeist telekinesis and wholesale murder! But, I'll try to make this short review as spoiler free as possible.

Being a huge fan of the series, I do have to remember that I am probably better versed in the technical and personal details of this particular universe than the average reader. The lack of character development or explanation may then be somewhat confusing to someone who is just picking up the book with no prior information, but much like the current G.I. Joe Modern Era line of figures from Hasbro, companies are certainly realizing the possibilities in catering to existing fans rather than relying on creating new fans from whole cloth. It is certainly true that allowing characters to reveal their strengths, weaknesses, and quirks through the unfolding of events in the fullness of time is far less ham-fisted than devoting needless pages to dry introductions, which will simply leave so little of an impression as to be immediately forgotten in any case. I imagine that over the next three issues of this limited series, we'll have plenty of time for the characters that we all know and love to be colored right up to the lines by this creative team.

In an effort to avoid either summarizing events in the book or providing too many spoilers, I'll not discuss too many specifics, but there was one page, or at least several panels, which put a big uber-fanboy smile on my face and caused me to set down the comic and reflect on the great job they had done. Near the outset, after the team has fought with the group of spooks who were about to fight amongst themselves, and finding that one of their number is in some trouble, the remaining team is theorizing. As usual, Ray and Igon are quoting from their favorite obscure spirit tomes and parahistorical references, but the delightful thing came when Winston finished their thoughts with a perfect scholarly quote from the very book they were referencing. What really frosted the cake was Ray commenting to Winston how 'all that studying was worth it, huh Dr. Zeddmore?'!

While this is pretty awesome on it's own merits, that Winston went on to get a doctorate after the events of the first two movies, it goes further than that in tying in to a cut scene that I seem to remember from the first film. In particular, I either saw or read that when Winston first approaches the firehouse, looking for work, that he was supposed to have a thick bundle of papers under his arm with his credentials: degrees, awards, publications, mass hysteria! As we all remember from the actual final cut of the film, he basically has a newspaper with a want ad, and gets the job immediately upon meeting Venkman and Stantz. Now, it is entirely 100% possible that I was having some sort of psychotic fit and imagined the whole movie tie-in, and as a friend of the Preserve has already pointed out, Winston being the 'everyday guy' is a cool and important character type, but I still find my enjoyment of this alternate scene knows no bounds. I like to think that the writers, being the huge Ghostbusters fans that I hope they are, were also familiar with this scene, and have restored to Winston the equal status that he was originally due. Either way, it's a great part of this new story, and hopefully now when you read it you can enjoy that little tie-in as well.

The book is a great length, not slapped together and short but not too wordy and dull. Pacing is good and they sure end on a crazy cliff-hanger which helps to explain the title of 'The Other Side'. Your best bet? Run down to your local comic shop, hope that they still have issues in stock, and enjoy the read!
Posted by charlie on October 16th 2008, 08:07 AM
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