Fritz Babbles About Ghostbusters #9:
Apologies for the lateness of this commentary--the book came out two weeks ago. I've been having some medical issues of late...nothing major or life-threatening, but just annoying enough to put "Write snarky and not-nearly-as-funny-as-you-think-it-is-and-nobody-reads-it-anyway commentary on awesome comic book" down on the priority list
So..."Haunted America" begins.
A brief bit of set-up with Peck and Mayor Mulligan. Peck points out that the city is gonna get a lot of money from the federal and state governments for letting them "borrow" NYC contractors, which
pretty much undercuts Hizzoner's displeasure with the Ghostbusters being out of town during tourist season.
Holy cow...forgive me for repeating myself, but...
The Portable Ecto Containment Unit vehicle is neat looking. I'm just not sold on naming it "ECTO-2". For the last twenty-plus years, ECTO-2 has referred to either the Ghostbusters mini-
helicopter, which was pretty cool, or as a trivia note for the original name of ECTO-1A (possibly changed as to not contradict the cartoon ECTO-2). I'd really prefer if IDW used the name, to have it be for something closer to the earlier ECTO-2. Call this neat new vehicle ECTO-3 because the ECTO-3 toy, a go-cart with paddles, was super lame; and the cartoon ECTO-3, a motorized unicycle with a sidecar for Slimer, was even lamer
. It'd be neat to have an ECTO-3 that's actually awesome. Or even call it ECTO-9 because it's the next one after ECTO-8
from the Video Game.
And...when the vehicle actually shows up, it does, indeed, seem to be sporting a licence plate reading "ECTO-9". Obviously, I approve.
Even with my affection for the RGB Containment Unit, I think it makes perfect sense and is a nice call-back to have the ECTO-9's portable ECU be patterned off the "hole in the wall" ECU in the first movie. It's a great touch, and means we sorta get to "have our cake and eat it too"--the RGB ECU in the basement, the GB1 one in the ECTO-9.
"The Ghostbusters have been to Detroit before" on the same page as gremlins in an abandoned car factory. Sure, we hear about a "Red Gnome", but between that picture and the giant portrait of the president of Generous Motors over the Mayor's desk, we know what they really mean. It got them meet Aretha Franklin, after all, who's picture is also prominently displayed in the office--just tribute to the Queen of Soul, after all. I bet those gremlins are still trying to crack that ugly shapechanging car.
Anyway, they're in the Mayor's office because there's a problem: the "haunted tour" at Fort Wayne is actually...gulp...haunted.
Cut back to New York, and a simmering subplot we haven't looked in on in a while. Ron "Jake Kong" Alexander and Jimmy "Eddie Spencer" Doesnthavealastnameyet test their new Dematerializer prototype on Larry the Crash Test Dummy, complete with a possible logo for the new group. The test doesn't look to be a successful test. Looks like no shouts of "Let's go, Ghost Busters!" just yet.
We all know why Ray's so eagar to go into Fort Wayne. He was hoping it would turn out even half as much fun as Fort Detmerring--it didn't, but it didn't get recut into a dream sequence either. Still, it gives him a great star turn and broadens his character a bit--his bluff to get into the Fort is the kind of ball-to-the-wall BS job that's usually Venkman's territory.
Man, some of the ghosts in this issue are hideous
. I wonder what dark corner of his imagination Dan reached into to pull these monsters out, but man, it's effective.
The main culprit is General Anthony Wayne, for whom the Fort was named. He was a real guy. Look:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Wayne
Anyway, he's restless because he was shipped back to Pennsylvania for burial, but some of the pieces got lost in shipping. After giving up, he's decided to invade Canada. Because, after all, it's full of unAmerican things like hockey, Celine Dion, and affordable health care.
So...Venkman realizes he's not pulling his mandated level of BS this issue and starts spinning a pitch about a snake oil product called "Ahgotcha Juice" to lure the soldiers into ghost traps. Probably one of his Dad's old products--and ol' Charlie would no doubt be proud to know it worked, sucking in the entire spectral horde except Wayne himself. It's Winston, former military man himself, who convinces Wayne to accept being contained. A nice satisfying end to another great story.
We get the start of Tristan Jones' "Who Killed Laura Parr?" back-up story (the title a call-back to the 1990's show Twin Peaks
, and it's famous "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" tag line) which apparently starts sometime later relative to the main "Haunted America" arc. Ms. Parr apparently dies in an auto accident caused by a ghost, and we flash to the "present" (really about twenty years ago, of course) with Venkman arriving at a diner, and that's about it. I like Jones' version of Venkman here--it looks like a slightly grittier redesign of RGB Venkman than another "We'll make him look as much like Bill Murray as we can without being sued" clone. It even comes complete with Venkman's "Camping It Up" vest.
Back next month (or more accurately, later this month, sigh) for act two of "Haunted America"