Ghostbusters Volume 5: The New Ghostbusters

Once upon a time, I seem to remember Ghostbusters Volume 5: The New Ghostbusters being called The New Ghostbusters Volume 1, a more welcoming title to someone like me new to the series. If I’m counting right, this volume collects Ghostbusters Volume 2 (2013) #1-4.

It’s the restart gimmick that drew me in. The Ghostbusters we know from the movies — Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston — have been snatched, and those close to them have to both fill in with the ghost fighting and figuring out what happened to them. The new Ghostbusters are mostly women, and one, Janine Melnitz, is my favorite character from the film (where she was played by Annie Potts). The others are goth-y Kylie Griffin, Ray’s bookstore assistant; Melanie Ortiz, an FBI agent who knows Peter Venkman; and Ron Alexander, a “huckster” (thus keeping the “are these guys serious?” flavor of the movie).

Because the cast is starting new, in a way, I found the story welcoming to a new reader. There are some references to what I assume are prior comic stories, but nothing that gets in the way too much. I also liked the spiky caricature style, which suggests likenesses while keeping a movement-focused animation feel and plenty of expression. In terms of the dialogue, the characters sound distinctive, always a plus.

Since the characters are new within a familiar structure, the story has an excuse to evoke favorite moments from the film, such as battles with an officious bureaucrat, without being accused of being repetitive. In fact, because most of the new team are female, they put a new spin on the challenge. Unfortunately, the overall tale is pretty superficial, with lots of handwaving explanations, and the guys return without the new team doing much of anything. Still, it’s entertaining enough, particularly if you’re a fan of the concept or can read the book for free. (Check your library.)

The problem with this kind of story is that we’re supposed to be rooting for the originals to return. I was, but not at the expense of never seeing more of these great new (to me) characters and their struggles. I’ll be checking into future issues to see if they continue to be a significant part of the story. Issue #5 is out now, and Janine and Kylie play significant roles, while the others are mentioned as well, so that bodes well for keeping me interested. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)

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