TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters
AUTHORS: Tom Waltz, Erik Burnham
PENCILLERS: Dan Schoening, Cory Smith, Charles Paul Wilson III
COLLECTS: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters #1-4
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
GRAPHIC NOVEL PRICE: $17.99
GRAPHIC NOVEL RELEASE DATE: April 2015
By Rob Siebert
By God…dreams do come true.
If you’re a child of the ‘80s, this story is instantly epic simply because it exists. The Ghostbusters and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, two staples of ‘80s pop culture (pop culture in general, I suppose), are together at last. What’s more, they’re in the hands of creators who actually know what they’re doing! The premise alone is enough to prompt a geek out. Hell, they didn’t even need to give this story a title. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters was enough.
Indeed, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of both franchises, IDW has brought them together in this four-issue miniseries. After an accident with Donatello’s transdimensional portal, the Turtles, April O’Neil, and Casey Jones find themselves in an alternate version of New York City where ghosts run amok…until the boys in gray show up to quell the chaos. But oddly enough, a new piece of that spectral chaos emerges that is connected to the Turtles and their universe. And matters grow worse when Casey finds himself caught in the crossfire.
Yes, they took the multiverse route with this one. It was their only option, really. The notion that the Turtles and the Ghostbusters inhabit the same universe, much less the same city, raises too many questions. Most of the story takes place in the Ghostbusters’ world, which again, raises less questions. Could Peter, Ray, and the guys be of use against the Foot Clan, Krang, or some kind of ghostly mutant? Probably. But keeping them in their element is a good way to protect them, and make sure they’re able to stand on equal footing as the Turtles.
In truth, this story doesn’t need a lot of complex storytelling elements to be good. All you really need to do is give them a common enemy to fight, then put the characters next to each other, and let them write themselves. It’s a lot of comparing and contrasting, and playing with the different imagery associated with both worlds. Heck, it’s almost a science (*rim shot*) in and of itself. For instance…
– In the second issue Ray and Donatello are comparing notes about how the Turtles switched dimensions, and generally talking science stuff. Venkman then leans over to Raph and says: “So you have one like that, too, huh?” Raph replies: “At least it’s just one.”
– In the same issue, Leo and Winston have a bonding moment over being the more level-headed ones in their respective groups. They fist-bump.
– The second issue closes with Donatello wearing a proton pack. A goddamn Ninja Turtle, wearing a goddamn proton pack. No lie.
Given the story takes place in the Ghostbusters’ world, Dan Schoening was the logical choice to take the reigns for most of the art, along with colorist Luis Delgado. As fans, we can all be thankful for that. Schoening’s more animated style is a perfect fit for both the Turtles and the Ghostbusters. And he’s just got a great flare for ‘80s and ‘90s nostalgia. Look at his DeviantArt page and you’ll see not only the Ghostbusters, but Back to the Future, vintage Nintendo, A Christmas Story, and a plethora of other throwback material, in addition to your standard comic book superhero stuff. Make no mistake about it, this is his arena.
A lot of the variant covers done for this story are really cool too. Kevin Eastman did the retail incentive cover for issue #1, which is another big thrill for ‘80s comic geeks. Brent Peeples put together a pretty awesome cover to issue #2 with Raph throwing a ghost trap. But my favorite by far has to be Cory Smith’s cover for issue #3, with Mikey wearing a proton pack. The look on his face makes the cover.
My only major complaint about this book is its villain. Chi-You, an actual Chinese war deity, and in the IDW universe the brother of Kitsune from TMNT, is essentially a mildly spooky looking soundboard for clichéd villain dialogue. He spouts clunkers like…
– “When you next see me, you will regret it!”
– “I will peel the flesh from your bones!”
– “Fool. Your skills are nothing compared to mine!”
I’m a big fan of both Waltz and Burnham, and I’ll reiterate that this story is more about the thrill of seeing these two teams next to each other than anything else. Hell, I even like the choice of the Chinese war god. But Chi-You actually threatens to take you out of the story at times because you’re rolling your eyes so hard.
Still, as a lifelong die-hard fan of both the TMNT and the GBs, I was happy with what we got here. It’s not a masterpiece by any means. But it was, give or take, exactly what you wanted to see from a Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters team up. The characters got to play in each other’s sandboxes, and we all got to watch the fun ensue. I’m sure IDW could easily go back to the well with these two franchises if they wanted to. But frankly, I’m more concerned with Burnham and Schoening getting a monthly Ghostbusters series again. C’mon guys, let’s make that happen!
Image 1 from tmntentity.blogspot.com. Image 2 from adventuresinpoortaste.com. Image 3 from retcon-punch.com.
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