Written By: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Corin Howell
Lettering by: Neil Uyetake
Colouring by: Valentina Pinto
Cover Art: Corin Howell, Jeffrey Veregge
Published By: IDW Publishing
Alright. So, let’s have a little recap for those of you just joining us. Oh, and a mild spoiler alert for good measure.
The Ghostbusters are back at it again bustin’ ghosts and feeling good. However, their ghost-busting world is turned inside out when they encounter a Schreckgespent who has taken the form of Doctor Kruger. Kruger is an experimental, slightly crazy, scientist from the 1900’s who enjoyed playing with people’s fear. I think we all see where this is going. Full of confidence, the team head into the Empire State Building to bust a now really big Kruger-ghost who hopes to trap the world in a nightmare realm of his own making. This backfires massively, leaving the team looking for a new way to get back at him!
Holtzmann, the genius that she is, figures it out in the drop of the hat and soon the girls are in the belly of the beast. By belly of the beast, I mean the “Secret (evil) lab of Dr. Kruger” (See Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #3). Thankfully, or regretfully, the beast had eaten a few of Kruger’s journals and Patty’s searching leaves the group realizing that a solution is needed as soon as possible! Aside from using her ‘dream machine’ to make some mean-looking eggs, Holtzmann has convinced the other Busters that the only way to beat Kruger is on his own turf. However, Kruger’s malicious targeting of individual fears means that getting on the same patch of Kruger’s turf is no easy task!
Armed with the theory that they can overcome each other’s individual fears if they work together inside Kruger’s hellish nightmare dimension, and a few Proton Packs, the team head to the Empire State Building to clean up Kruger’s nightmare-verse once and for all.
Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #5 starts off with everyone hoping Holtzmann’s plan works… And Holtzmann hungry for scrambled eggs. This is the big one. The fate of New York, and the world, rests on the Ghostbuster’s shoulders. Again.
The stylistic juxtaposition between the way Corin Howell draws the Ghostbusters and Kruger is perfectly poised in this issue. Kruger’s towering figure is as menacing as ever! Reminiscent of the Babadook’s grandfather in his terrifying design, Kruger plunges the girls into his nightmare realm once more. Howell’s decision to leave much of the background black in these scenes amplifies the isolation of the protagonists, drawing your focus even more to their expressions. Throughout the issue, Howell reflects the fear, determination, and gratifying relief that the reader feels perfectly within these and even without dialogue, this issue would be as thrilling and tense.
Howell’s juxtaposition is aided by the skilful colouring of Valentina Pinto. Each page is gifted with the perfect balance of colours. Kruger is menacingly surrounded by looming shadows and ethereal pastels; meanwhile, the proton beams of the Ghostbusters’ allows Pinto to play with vivid purples, pinks, and bright yellows. Their optimism is matched by their vibrancy and each splash of colour acts as a beacon of hope for the success of our protagonists.
The whole issue, and perhaps Kelly Thompson’s entire narrative arc writing for Ghostbusters: Answer the Call so far, revolves around themes of perseverance and teamwork. It begins with each protagonist’s fears being explicitly mentioned; each harbour a primary physical and emotional fear, instantly placing them in the realm of the believably realistic. While the physical fears make their appearance in the panels, it is the emotional fears which cut through the narrative and keep you hooked.
Abby is afraid that her figurative ‘living the dream’ is in fact a real one; the fear that nothing is ever as good as it feels. Patty’s fear revolves around being alone and never fitting in. Erin is afraid of being a failure, being mocked for her beliefs. Holtzmann is afraid of not being able to create. Each of these fears offers the opportunity of reflection for the reader and, in my experience, leaves you feeling grateful and inspired. The issue has also given Kelly Thompson the opportunity to significantly develop each of her protagonists. Abby, Patty, Erin, and Holtzmann are all confronted with their fears and all overcome them. Their attempt to fight through the physical obstacles of their fears, such as Erin’s giant insects, to help each other overcome their emotional fears is valiant and ultimately satisfying.
If your heart isn’t warmed by the friendship shown by the four Ghostbusters, then perhaps the friendship of FIVE Ghostbusters is what you need! Kevin’s appearance in the last pages, jumpsuit on and Proton Pack equipped, is the perfect end to the narrative arc. This issue gifts the reader with a rare glimpse at the full Ghostbuster’s team, an image that I can only hope we see more often. Kevin is always the face of enthusiasm and, with no thought to his own safety and seemingly no knowledge of Holtzmann’s plan, bursts in to finish off Kruger once and for all when the plan looks to have failed. His appearance both offers an important piece of comedic relief, calling out “eat protein bean!”, and a perfect summary of the gratification gleaned from the five issues. Kevin’s eagerness to help, and his excitement to prove that he is apart of the Ghostbusters team is finally rewarded with Holtzmann’s admission that he has “always been part of the team, dude.”
Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #5 is a fitting end to a five-issue narrative arc and leaves you waiting eagerly for the next chapter in the Ghostbusters’ world-saving heroics! (And also hoping that Kevin finally gets his own car!)