When Ray Stantz goes for a tarot card reading and the death card is revealed, Ray is characteristically sanguine. “Death simply represents some form of change,” he reasons, “and that’s hardly something to be afraid of!” But, being a Ghostbuster, Ray should probably know better.
Only moments later the team are fighting a vicious Class Six apparition in the United Nations building, while an audience of spectres scream portentous warnings. And then, when smooth-talking tycoon Erland Vinter sends the Ghostbusters to Venice (the one in Italy, not California) the boys find themselves terrifyingly out of their depth, as they try to clear a humungous assortment of vicious ghosts – including a beak-faced plague demon – from a haunted island in the Venetian lagoon. It doesn’t help that Egon has had to stay back in NYC, following a nasty spectre-spitting-acid-on-his-leg incident, Janine is more over-worked than ever, and Venkman still won’t take things seriously, even when a screaming apparition hurls him through a window. And worse is to come when Egon, who is reviewing the data the Ghostbusters send over to him, begins to suspect that something very sinister might be about to happen.
For a start, fans will be pleased to know that the Ghostbusters travel very well indeed. The picturesque Venice locales make a refreshing change to the skyscrapers and hustle-bustle of NYC and the artwork, as always, is fantastic. The colours pop off the page and the detailed Italian backdrops are wonderful. There’s some lovely character development in here too – Ray finally has a girlfriend (well, sort of) and the mysterious Mr. Vinter obviously has some devious tricks stored up his sleeve, while Janine is convincingly harried as she interviews some hilarious no-hopers in a bid to find a new office help and Venkman is, as always, wise-cracking and acerbic. The dialogue sparkles, the ghouls are ghoulish, and the pace never lets up. It’s good to see the comfortingly familiar (for Ghostbusters devotees) New York Public Library get a name check as well. In short, this series is positioning itself very nicely to be another Ghostbusters classic.
GHOSTBUSTERS INTERNATIONAL / AUTHOR: ERIK BURNHAM / ARTISTS: DAN SCHOENING, LUIS ANTONIO DELGADO / PUBLISHER: IDW PUBLISHING / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 30TH