I have never read a Ghostbusters comic. In fact, I wasn’t even aware IDW owned the rights to the classic ’80s franchise until I saw their inclusion in Infestation. Still, I’m a huge fan of the movies, and was especially fond of the cartoon incarnations as well. With the promise of a third film (pending on if Bill Murray ever gets off his old, cranky ass), I’ve been eagerly hoping for a Ghostbusters revival.
Thus far, Infestation, IDW’s first company crossover, has been about wrapping the zombie model around strongly defined, successful science fiction brands. These antagonists have been separately presented as a nefarious lifeless force originating from a black hole, a cybernetic illness that creates an undead army, and a sentient homicidal virus capable of technological takeover.
At first glace, zombies and Ghostbusters seem like a natural marriage in their shared ghoulishness, but actually they sort of clash in concept. Peter Venkman and the boys chase ghosts (or “disembodied spirits of the deceased,” as Egon would say) and zombies are kind of, well, the fundamental opposite. This concept doesn’t escape writer Erik Burnham, who uses the zombies-as-husks point as a major plot motivation.
While the story wasn’t as straightforward as I thought it might be, I did appreciate the novel take on the old zombie hunting story. The Ghostbusters are the first of the Infestation outlets to use the Z-word, so there is a level of contextual familiarly that allows Burnham to take the idea to the next step. I’m not sure if it’s working yet, but it is enough to keep me interested. The real stars here are Venkman, Stanz, Egon and Winston Zeddemore. The interaction is snappy and precise. All the characters are on cue and Venkman shines with sarcastic brilliance. The flow and energy of the dialogue is what primarily carries this first issue.
Kyle Hotz draws a gross zombie, and Dan Brown’s colors give life to a rotting piece of flesh. The feel is rough and bit spooky. It really works in evoking the now-shoddy special effects used in the original movies. Venkman and Stanz are a little too similar in appearance and could have used little more differentials to help the reader identify the characters. Beyond some minor flaws, the illustrations where solid enough to hold everything together.
This installment of Infestation is intriguing, but needed a little more momentum. The strong representation of the characters makes this a good (but not fantastic) read.