"Better late than never" I know. Some Real Life shenanigans delayed this commentary, so I apologize. I figured I better get it out before #13 was in the comic shops.
So here we go:
We open with an introduction to Seattle, home of whiny grunge music and overpriced foofy coffee. The intro draws special attention to Dante Barnes, a rock star who spontaneously combusted on stage. You have to remember that one--it was on Allmusic TV News 24/7 back in the day. I'm sure this is just a history lesson and has nothing at all to do with the plot.
Ray, Egon, Winston, and the ECTO-9 have arrived in Seattle, where they're investigating...hm...a Pequod's coffee shop that's burned down. This means that patrons will have to walk all the way to the other Pequod's across the street. (One of these days a fellow Lewis Black fan is going to see these jokes and possibly chuckle at them) The cop on the scene mentions that the shop used to be a club. Egon wonders if it's the same place that Dante Barnes burned up in; it isn't, but the cop admits he may have played here. Best idea, the cop says, is to check on one of Barnes' old bandmates, who now is a DJ (that was the primitive pre-Cambrian form of the VJ, for all the kids in the audience) at KBIB.
Venkman and the ECTO-1, meanwhile, have arrived in Seattle and is arguing with a cop who clearly isn't impressed by him. The ECTO-1's rear end is a mess, no doubt because of the battle with Death Truck (as previously noted, "Who Killed Laura Parr?" takes place between the main stories in #11 and #12). The ticket the cop is writing suddenly bursts into flames, and a flaming guitar appears in midair. Venkman tries to blast it, but it doesn't work. Nevertheless, the cop who thought Venkman isn't all that hot is proven wrong as Venkman's flight suit starts to burn all on it's own.
We switch to a little while later as the Ghostbusters are reunited while Venkman is looked over by an EMT. You can tell things are serious because A) Venkman isn't trying too hard to get down the EMT's pants and B) Ray and Winston aren't blowing gaskets at what Death Truck did to the ECTO-1. Lacking any other idea, they go to KBIB. As Venkman's flight suit is now history, Ray drags out Venkman's dark suit from GB2, though the shoulder logo was clearly fixed at some point.
The Ghostbusters interview Dante Barnes' former drummer, whom I will call Dr. Johnny Fever because he clearly worked for a certain Cincinnati station at some point, who fills in the story: Barnes, Fever, and at least one other guy were in a band on the verge of stardom. Barnes had a song he was trying to write, one that was "in his head, like a dream he couldn't quite remember". Then Barnes met Shelly, and the band started to get more popular, then Barnes and Shelly had some problems and Barnes literally flamed out on stage, still moaning "Let me finish!"
Like many ghosts, Barnes is manifesting because of an unfulfilled goal of his living days: finishing his "dream song"
The ECTO-1 drives around town looking for signs of Barnes, but failing. Winston comes up with the idea of instead of PKE looking for sonic signatures; Egon's reaction is priceless: "I would have come up with that eventually." Venkman is creeped out by Ray's intimate knowledge of catastrophic fires. Neat little bits there character-wise.
The Ghostbusters finally find Barnes in Pioneer Square. They aren't doing real well until Ray and Venkman realize that the ghost's guitar is the focus of his manifestation; after that, it's kind of a quick "zap zap in the trap" ending.
The next day, the Ghostbusters are at City Hall and meet Mayor Norm Rice
--see! This book really does take place in the 1990's! Rice is kinda mad at them for all the fire damage, but the publicity made up for it. Venkman manifests his usual ability to not get along well with politicians, probably because they're too much like him, and tells Egon to gouge Seattle if they ever have to come back.
Venkman is also no doubt glad to get away from the overpriced Pequod’s coffee, not knowing that within a few short years they’ll be on adjacent corners of every city in the country.
Anyway, they're all glad to be heading back to New York and <ironic foreshadowing> the no doubt massive backlog of local work awaiting them </ironic foreshadowing>
Then we flash back to the conclusion of "Who Killed Laura Parr?" When we last left Venkman and Laura, they were in the ECTO-1 being chased by Death Truck.
Venkman decides to try the Slime Blower and...sticks Death Truck to the road, causing it to flip over like that semi in "The Dark Knight". At this point, zapping and trapping the gremlin driving Death Truck is another "zap zap in the trap".
On the down side, I gotta be That Guy again and admit to being sadly underwhelmed just a bit. If it wasn't a sacrilege that would get me chased down by angry mobs with pitch forks, I'd say something along the lines of "I still think the 'Slime Tether' is just too ridiculous and video gamey" and "Great idea the guys at Sierra had. Ray and Egon invent their very own Ghost Gummers. You know what stupid cartoon had Ghost Gummers, right?" but since Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis punched up the script it's Holy Writ and I'm not allowed to criticize it.
So to accentuate the positive: it was completely awesome how Venkman actually stopped Death Truck completely by accident. I guess I'll even say the complete lameness of the gimmick used actually heightened the surreal comedy of it to some extent.
As we well know, not quite the end of this story--a bit of wrap-up next issue.
Next issue: the pigeon named Ron "Jake Kong" Alexander comes home to roost. Lets go Ghost Busters!
(Yeah, I already know Jake isn't calling his group "Ghost Busters". But it technically isn't in the narrative yet, so let me flog that dead horse of a joke one last time)