Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Dan Schoening Easter Egg Hunt: Martin Short and…Grandma Winslow???

***Dan Schoening’s art is filled with delightful Easter Eggs and winks. Here at “Dan Schoening Easter Egg Hunt,” we shine a fresh light on things you might have missed the first time around.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This hidden gem comes to us from 2014’s Ghostbusters #14, and the wedding of Winston Zeddemore. The boys in gray are about to face the heart-wrenching wrath of Tiamat. But in the meantime, Winston has some really interesting wedding guests.

I’ve always remembered this panel because Schoening slipped in, of all people, Rosetta Lenoire. Modern audiences know her best as Grandma Winslow from Family Matters. And low and behold, there she is in her Family Matters get-up. It somehow makes sense, doesn’t it? On the show, her son was Chicago Police Officer Carl Winslow. Carl was, of course, played by Reginald VelJohnson. VelJohnson also had a small speaking role as a prison guard in Ghostbusters. If you know enough to connect the dots, that’s an epic ’80s reference.

Then it was pointed out to me that standing next to her is Frank Eggelhoffer, Martin Short’s character from Father of the Bride. Yeah, I had no idea on that one. Makes me think I need to go back and watch that movie again.

And because we needed another ’90s reference, Schoening threw Roland from Extreme Ghostbusters in as well. Happy to see the team at IDW giving that show some love. Highly underrated, in my view.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.

Posted in Movies

A Ghosbusters In-Depth Review – Good Enough

Ghostbusters, 2016 posterTITLE: Ghostbusters
STARRING: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth
DIRECTOR: Paul Feig
STUDIOS: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures, LStar Capital, Village Roadshow Pictures, The Montecito Picture Company, Pascal Pictures, Feigco Entertainment, Ghost Corps Production Company
RATED: PG-13
RUN TIME: 116 min
RELEASED: 
July 15, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

The verdict from a life-long ghosthead: It’s good. Not great, and certainly not the classic it’s based on. But pretty good. After everything this movie and the people who’ve made it have been subjected to, I’d say pretty good is good enough.

Who’d have thought such a beloved movie, such a cherished brand, could prompt such hate? Just the stuff that’s been thrown at Leslie Jones (#LoveForLeslieJ) is enough to make you want to shower for five days. But the metric ton of sexism, and general brattiness shoveled in this movie’s direction has been preposterous. I love Ghostbusters as much as anybody else on the planet. The original film was a perfect storm of improv, acting, special effects (as they existed then), music, and storytelling. It touched an emotional chord, and captured the world’s imagination like few movies are privileged to do. I hold it very close to my heart.

But it’s still just a movie. A movie co-produced by Ivan Reitman, who directed the original, as well as Dan Ackroyd himself. A movie that clearly adores its source material, to the point that it stops in its tracks multiple times to have scenes with original cast members. It even goes out of its way to use Slimer, and give the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man an appearance. Let’s keep this all in perspective.

Ghostbusters, image 1, 2016While you can’t excuse all the hate that’s been thrown at this movie, when it comes to ’80s kids I think a lot of it stems from the idea that these ladies are “not my Ghostbusters.” I get that. Some of this backlash likely could have been avoided if they’d gone with a Creed style sequel set decades after the original. Same cast as this movie, same creative team, with a cameo from the Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd characters. Obviously, that leaves you with the question of what happened to Egon Spengler. But it could have worked. That’s what I’d have preferred, perhaps selfishly.

To its credit, the remake tells its own story, albeit hitting some of the original’s bullet points. Erin Gilbert (Wiig) is fired from her university position when her belief in the paranormal is brought to light. She teams with childhood friend Abby Yates (McCarthy) and her associate Jilian Holtzman (McKinnon) to research the ghostly and the unknown. Their first case takes them to the New York City subway, where they meet MTA worker Patty Tolan (Jones). From there, a mystery unravels as to how and why the city is infested with ghosts. Like the original, the movie’s climax ends with a fight against a giant, pasty white monster.

While the ghosts and spooky stuff was important, the success of the 1984 film had more with the Ghostbusters themselves. The characters were fun, their interplay was strong (not to mention hysterical), and you were rooting for them. In making a new Ghostbusters movie, remake or not, half your battle is in the creation of new characters. On that front, the movie starts off shakily. But by the second act, we’ve got a good team on our hands. I can’t give enough credit to Feig, his co-writer Katie Dippold, and these ladies for creating characters that are new, yet with a dynamic that feels familiar.

Ghostbusters, McKinnon, WiigMcCarthy essentially fills the Dan Aykroyd role in this movie, becoming the chirpy heart of the team. She plays off the skeptical Wiig, whose more reserved role keep things grounded in the first act, and adds weight to the ghostly stuff once it takes off. I’ve always preferred Wiig in more dramatic roles, and she earns her keep here. Leslie Jones is, frankly, the sassy one. But her character has enough heart to round her out.

Here’s something that won’t earn me any friends: Kate McKinnon’s performance as Holtzman was grating at first. They were pushing her too hard as “the zany one,” which made me nervous for her. If Holtzman had been too flippant for too long, we’d have had…*gulp*…the Jar Jar Binks of Ghostbusters.

Thankfully, the character finds her groove. She becomes an intriguing balance of misfit and super genius. Critics have called this a breakout performance for McKinnon. I’m with them. But yeesh, don’t scare me like that…

Chris Hemsworth surprises with his comedic chops. He could have strictly been a hottie for Wiig to drool over. But he adds real value as yet another misfit, this one comedically out of touch with reality. Based on his role in the climactic sequence, had the Kevin character been tweaked a bit, he might have been okay as the villain.

Ghostbusters, 2016, us against themThere’s a syrupy “rise above ridicule” vibe to the movie that I didn’t expect. The ladies are all outcasts who must overcome the city’s perception of them and save the day. We’re reminded that these four aren’t just coworkers. They’re friends. We get little sentimental moments between Erin and Abby. Patty yells: “Get outta my friend, ghost!” Holtzman gives a little speech about how she finally has a family. You almost expect someone to shout “Friends Forever!” Even our villain is a former bullying victim striking back at society. This idea was present in the original. But they didn’t point right at it like this movie does, and it didn’t seem as personal in nature. How ironic. A movie trying to talk to kids about bullying gets bullied online by adults, many of whom were likely bullied as children.

You know what I’m sick of? “Spontaneous banter.” It’s present in a lot of modern comedies, Ghostbusters included. Characters will be proceeding in a scene. Suddenly, someone will either go off on an unrelated tangent or say something embarrassingly personal. A certain vulnerability or humanity will peek through. Then, as suddenly as they stopped, they’ll pick up where they left off. Sometimes it works. But often it’s inorganic, and kills tension in a scene.

For instance, about midway through the movie a ghost throws a character out a window at Ghostbusters HQ. The ladies end up talking to a cop about the incident, and he cracks: “You saw a ghost? Like the movie with Patrick Swayze?” Melissa McCarthy’s character has a comeback, then suddenly she and Wiig go on a tangent about Patrick Swayze movies. They’re in trouble with the cops because someone was thrown out their window. But the stakes suddenly disappear, then reappear, so we can have banter. StopDoingThat. Not every movie can afford to snip holes in the fabric of its reality so we can have pop culture references.

Slimer

Like a a certain section of moviegoers, I’ve got CGI fatigue. In the ’80s, the Ghostbusters franchise was heralded for its special effects. So to see modern CGI in a Ghostbusters movie feels awkward. I’d wager part of this can be chalked up to the “not my Ghostbusters” factor. But there’s some legitimacy to it. You almost can’t look at these ghosts without being reminded of the live action Scooby Doo movie. But they should be fine for kids and the average moviegoer. Admittedly, our climactic monster looks pretty good. I also like that they added a little glisten to Slimer. He is made of slime, isn’t he?

To its credit, and my great surprise, this movie has one of the best credits sequences I’ve ever seen. They cut in and out of a dance scene, set to “Get Ghost” by Mark Ronson, Passion Pit, and A$AP Ferg. It’s infectiously catchy.

So in the end, was it all that bad? No, not really. It’s not the movie I wanted. But I’m okay with that. After all these years, we finally got a new Ghostbusters movie. And people in my theater were laughing and having fun. It’s tough not to like that.

Kristen Wiig, Ghostbusters premiereThen you have this picture. I absolutely adore this. Look at the faces on those kids! This captures what the new movie can mean to young girls around the world. For that matter, it captures what the old movie meant to so many of us. If you’re a child of the ’80s, swap in a childhood version of yourself and put Bill Murray in Kristen Wiig’s place. Different era, same scene.

Maybe, like the original Ghostbusters, we were meant to pass it on to a new generation.

Maybe we did get the right movie after all…

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Ghostbusters International #6 Review – The Legend of La Llorona

Ghostbusters International #6, 2016TITLE: Ghostbusters International #6
AUTHOR: Erik Burnham
PENCILLER: Rachael Stott
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: June 29, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

If you’ll permit me, I’d like to gush about Dan Schoening some more.

I’ll never discount the work of Erik Burnham, Luis Delgado, or anyone else who has contributed to these IDW Ghostbusters books. As a lifelong fan, they’ve been an absolute joy to read. But what truly sets them apart is Dan Schoening’s stripped down, animated take on the world. That’s been the case from the start. So when a guest artist steps in to try and fill his shoes, they’ve practically been set up to fail.

Rachael Stott, for my money, is the first artist to buck that trend. The issue misses Schoening, but Stott fills his shoes better than any artist ever has.

This issue takes Egon, Kylie, and Melanie Ortiz to Puerto Rico to face the legendary La Llorona. What follows is pretty standard Ghostbusters fare. Exposition, search, discover, battle, capture. It’s not great, but it’s fine. I’ve never been enamored with the Melanie character. She’s always struck me as a very bland Dana Scully wannabe.

Ghostbusters International #6, 2016, Rachael StottThat being said, Melanie does have the best line in the issue. When a hospitalized teenager says “I thought [the Ghostbusters] were all guys,” she replies with a sigh and an eye roll. I think that’s a tip of the hat to the cast of the new Ghostbusters movie.

Stott’s characters look more like real people than Schoening’s ever do. It’s an interesting deviation from the norm. Her Kylie Griffin is particularly strong. But what really endeared her to me was her take on Egon. You can easily see Harold Ramis on these pages. Oddly enough, that doesn’t seem to be the case with the rest of the team. Though we only see them in a brief interlude.

I’m consistently impressed by how much research Erik Burnham puts into these stories. I had never heard the story of La Llorona prior to this issue. But its a significant piece of Mexican folklore. Though as Egon points out, similar legends exist in other parts of the world. Incidentally, I wouldn’t recommend Googling La Lorona if you’re by yourself at night…just saying.

There’s been so much unrest lately about the Ghostbusters remake, with people being upset that it’s not what they remember. As sexist as many of those complaints have been, I wish I could direct all those people to these IDW books. In a lot of ways, these are the sequels we never got. They have their flaws. But as a whole, I really can’t say enough good things about them.

Interior Image from comicsasylum.com.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.

Posted in Movies, Opinion

The Ghostbusters Trailer: Reinventing the Wheel

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I’ve been waiting for the right time to talk about this new Ghostbusters movie. I’m a life-long “Ghosthead,” and naturally I’ve got a lot of…feelings, about this reboot. A great many of us do. Ghostbusters, and the world that movie created, means a lot. It touched our culture, and those of us who grew up with it, in a very special way.

So it’s natural that opinions would be heated at times. But it’s gotten to the point where it was just absurd. Like a bunch of bratty fans flaming the Facebook page for Tufts Medical Center in Boston after the cast visited some sick kids. There was no way I wanted to lump myself in with that crowd.

And yes, there’s a sexist element to it. These Ghostbusters are women, and that rubs certain people the wrong way.

But now that the trailer is here, the time has come. Let’s talk some Ghostbusters. 

In the end, there’s a bunch of stuff here that I don’t mind, and one thing that I do.

For the record, here are three things I do not mind about this movie…

1. The Ghostbusters are women.
2. The costumes are different.
3. The equipment and the car are different.

Making the Ghostbusters women is a fine way to freshen up the franchise. There have been female team members in the cartoons and comics, and it’s never been a rule that girls can’t shoot lasers at ghosts. Male fans that gripe about this are the equivalent of the Little Rascals, i.e. a bunch of little boys trying to keep girls out of their club house. It’s 2016, guys. Get over it. And yes, the toys look different. Again, it’s 2016. Ghostbusters came out in 1984. Concepts evolve with time.

Ghostbusters 2016, the girls in grayWhile I can’t say it was hilarious, from a conceptual standpoint I’m fine with most of what I see here. I’m I’m not too familiar with Leslie Jones or Kate McKinnon. But they look like they’ll be funny, as does Melissa McCarthy. I’m not a big Kristen Wiig fan, at least in terms of her comedy. I actually prefer her in more serious roles. And it looks like we’ll get some of that in this movie, with her being the “straight man,” if you will. As far as this trailer is concerned, the two big complaints I have are that the ghosts aren’t very convincing (which I suppose could change between now and July), and the bit with McCarthy’s head turning around Exorcist-style is pretty dumb.

In the end, most of the uproar about this movie has been overreaction. That being said, this is what bothers me as a life-long Ghostbusters geek…

They are remaking Ghostbusters.

It’s not like Rocky Balboa, or the litany of other sequels released decades later. Director Paul Feig and the gang are trying to reinvent the wheel here, when that’s not necessary.

Paul FeigIn terms of this point, I’ve always gone back to an interview Feig did with Entertainment Weekly shortly after he was announced as the film’s director. He talked about being intimidated by the prospect of taking on something so beloved, and what his thought process was. This is the passage that literally hurts me to read…

“And then I thought, well, what if we just make it new? It’s not coming into the world that existed before. It’s always hard if the world has gone through this big ghost attack, how do you do it again? I wanted to come into our world where there’s talk of ghosts but they’re not really credible, and so what would happen in our world if this happened today?”

Dude, no. You can’t make Ghostbusters new. You can add to it, but you can’t just start over. Why would you want to? Most people already know what a Ghostbuster is, anyway. Why fight that uphill battle? To an extent, it’s like what George Lucas did with the original versions of the Star Wars trilogy. If you take away or change something your audience has loved for so long, they turn on you. So you wind up facing backlash for trying to update something that didn’t need updating.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting a Ghostbusters movie can’t work in the modern era. But why disconnect it from so much of what people remember? Hell, they even try to make up for it in the trailer with that “30 years ago four scientists saved New York” stuff. (Incidentally, Winston wasn’t a scientist. Oops.) It’s like they realized their mistake after the fact and tried to make up for it with the marketing.

Ghostbusters, 1984, original castIn any event, there’s not much of a point to complaining about it now. The movie is made, and it’s coming out. Dan Aykroyd, who has been pushing for a new Ghostbusters movie for decades, apparently likes it. We can take some solace in that, I suppose.

We can also take solace in the fact that, whether this new movie is good or bad, the originals will always be there. There’s a lot of comfort to be found in that, I think. The movies we love never change (unless they’re made by George Lucas). A part of them is forever incorruptible.

Good luck, ladies.

Image 1 from decider.com. Image 2 from dailymail.co.uk. Image 3 from comicbookresources.com.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

A Ghostbusters International #2 Review – Bustin’ on Location

Ghostbusters International #2, cover, Dan SchoeningTITLE: Ghostbusters International #2
AUTHOR: Erik Burnham
PENCILLER: Dan Schoening
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: February 24, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Erik Burnham, Dan Shoening, Luis Delgado, and the folks at IDW have been doing this Ghostbusters thing for awhile now. And as I’ve said before, they’re the best comic book team to ever take on the boys in gray. That’s why I was surprised when Ghostbusters International #1 largely felt like…business as usual. Mind you, business as usual for this book is still pretty good. Perhaps they were simply setting the table before the twist at the end. Either way, there was seemingly no new element of intrigue.

Thankfully, Ghostbusters International #2 both ups the intrigue, and sends our heroes across the globe!

Ghostbusters International #2, Dan SchoeningErland Vinter, a wealthy Scandanavian businessman, wants to buy the Ghostbusters. But while the boys aren’t for sale, Walter Peck arranges for Vinter to have access to them in the short-term. Ergo, Peter, Ray, and Winston find themselves in Italy for a case involving the haunted island of Poveglia.

As usual, the star of this series is Dan Schoening. Granted, one can’t undercut the importance of Erik Burnham’s witty writing to the longevity of the Ghostbusters books. But Schoening’s art is always what has made them pop. Yes, it’s cartoony. But Shoening’s Ghostbusters have always resembled the real actors enough that you buy them as the characters. What’s more, Shoening has never gone too over the top with his renderings. So his work on these books has always had a certain animation-meets-pseudo-realism effect to it. It’s a hell of a lot of fun to look at, especially with all the ’80s Easter eggs he tends to toss in there for the sheer fun of it. You can tell he’s having fun, so you inevitably have fun with him.

Ghostbusters International #2, Dan Shoening, RaySending the Ghostbusters around the world is a fine concept. But I can’t help but wonder how long they’ll stick with it. A few years ago they relaunched this series as The New Ghostbusters, which saw the boys banished to another dimension, forcing Janine and a new team to take over. By issue #4 the boys were back, and the so-called New Ghostbusters would rotate in from time to time. I say this not because The New Ghostbusters was a bad story. I’m just wondering how the Ghostbusters will say “international.” As Burnham wrote in issue #1: “Everything about the Ghostbusters involves New York.”

Still, seeing the boys in Italy is fun thus far. Frankly, I’m just happy to have Burnham, Shoening, and this team writing the Ghostbusters again. These guys were seemingly made to write these characters, and if it were up to me, this series would have continued uninterrupted since it began. I suppose fans can take some solace in the idea that IDW would be stupid not to have a Ghostbusters book on the stands with the new movie coming out this July.

For more from Burnham and Shoening, check out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtes/Ghostbusters

Image from comicbookresourcescom.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.

Posted in Uncategorized

First Impressions: Superman, Aquaman, Ghostbusters, Teen Titans

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Superman #1 (2011)TITLE: Superman #1
AUTHOR: George Perez
PENCILLER: Jesus Merino
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99
RELEASED: September 28, 2011

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

This was a FANTASTIC first issue, which carried over one of my favorite elements from Action Comics #1: Superman searching for truth and justice on the social level in a world that seems dominated by corporate interest.

In this issue we learn that The Daily Planet has been sold to a corporation called Galaxy Communications, which apparently uses illegal tactics and yellow journalism in its reporting. Furious, Clark Kent refuses to attend the big gala in honor of the sale. Galaxy proceeds to change it’s name to the Planet Global Network, and names Lois Lane as their nightly news producer and executive vice president of new media. Suddenly, the city is attacked by a giant fire monster (who apparently has ties to Krypton). Superman battles the creature, and at the end we get a glimpse into Clark and Lois’ personal lives in the new DCU (Remember, they’ve never been married in this continuity.).

Superman #1, 2011, Clark and Lois, Jesus MerinoAs a former reporter, I found the insight into the current state of the news industry to be an effective way to illustrate Superman’s views on white collar corruption. We also see the battle between Superman and the monster from PGN’s vantage point, which is very effective. During the fight, much of the narrative consists of text from a news story later written by Clark Kent, which is cheesy. Still, it’s forgivable.

Superman spends a portion of this issue brooding, which is something we’re not necessarily used to. When the old Superman got angry, often times he was like a parent who’d lost his temper. This character isn’t like that. He seems inclined to be much more emotional, which isn’t a bad thing. I just hope we get a balance between the grim and the optimistic. Superman has been a rather angry young man this month, and he has reason to be. But let’s not turn him into Batman, okay?

All in all, a complete 180 in quality from what we’ve been seeing in Superman recently. I’m very excited about this book.

***

Ghostbusters #1 (2011)TITLE: Ghostbusters #1
AUTHOR: Erik Burnham
PENCILLER: Dan Shoening, Tristan Jones
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: September 28, 2011

I once said that any writer of a Ghostbusters comic book would likely never recapture the magic Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis created in the movies. I maintain that to this day. However, the first issue of IDW’s new Ghostbusters series comes the closest out of any GB book I’ve read (and I’ve read quite a few).

We start the book with Ray having a nightmare, which features a delightful appearance by Ray’s brother, who looks exactly like John Belushi’s character from Blues Brothers. It’s a very endearing tribute. We then go into Winston and Peter tracking down a ghost at an apartment complex, who turns out to be someone that fans know VERY well. Then, in a back up story, we see that Walter Peck (William Atherton’s character from the first movie) will be butting into our heroes’ lives very soon.

Ghostbusters #1, 2011, Dan ShoeningThis book really has the total package for Ghostbusters fans. Burnham’s writing is solid. It’s not too corny, but not too serious either. To me, there’s a delicate balance that goes into creating a Ghostbusters story. You’ve got to make the threat believable and scary, but also be lighthearted and funny. That’s tough to do. But Burnham’s off to a great start.

Dan Shoening’s art is always a treat for me. I’ve loosely followed his Deviant Art page for a few years now, and it’s obvious he’s a Ghostbusters nut. He even co-manned a pitch for a new Ghostbusters comic a few years ago. His art fits the style and tone of the story, and it’s obvious he’s as passionate about the content as any diehard fan would be.

If the book keeps up with this kind of content, Ghostbusters #1 could very well become one of my favorite ongoing titles. I could gush about this book for awhile, but I’d prefer you go out and read it for yourself.

***

Aquaman #1, 2011TITLE: Aquaman #1
AUTHOR: Geoff Johns
PENCILLER: Ivan Reis
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99
RELEASED: September 28, 2011

Well, how about this? An Aquaman who’s aware of his status as a pop culture punch line.

The most interesting moments in Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’ first issue of Aquaman are when ordinary citizens are either chuckling at the character, or saying weird things to him. At one point, Aquaman attempts to have lunch at a seafood restaurant, and someone says: “You can’t get the fish and chips…you talk to fish!” The character himself is getting a chance to respond to the public’s perception of him, which is interesting. Though, I find the idea of Aquaman sitting down in a seafood restaurant in full costume to be pretty stupid.

As a threat known as The Trench makes its way up from the Atlantic ocean, Aquaman and Mera decide that they’re going to live on the surface, and attempt to start a new life. One would assume their lives as superheroes won’t allow this transition to be easy.

Fans have wanted to see Geoff Johns tackle Aquaman for awhile now. They got that in Brightest Day, and they’ll get more of it here. I’ll stick with this series for the near future, simply out of interest for what Johns will do. Plus, Ivan Reis’ art is always lovely.

***

Teen Titans #1, 2011TITLE: Teen Titans #1
AUTHOR: Scott Lobdell
PENCILLER: Brett Booth
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99
RELEASED: September 28, 2011

I don’t think I’m ever going to dig Red Robin’s new costume. It’s just…wrong. It just looks way too cumbersome and silly. In this issue, Tim Drake uses his new wings to block a storm of bullets coming at he and Wonder Girl courtesy of a helicopter. That’s great and all, but the old Red Robin would have simply EVADED THE GUNFIRE!!!!

My disgust with the costume aside, Teen Titans #1 isn’t so bad. We kick the issue off with Kid Flash (who is apparently still Bart Allen, not Wally West), rushing to help with a burning building, but ends up making the situation a LOT worse. This apparently adds fuel to the media’s claims that many teenage meta-humans are menaces. Meanwhile, Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. (see Superboy #1) is hunting down teenage metas, and the poorly dressed Red Robin rushes to save Cassandra Sandsmark, who the press call Wonder Girl. In response to the resulting battle, N.O.W.H.E.R.E. decides to release their secret weapons (or at least one of them): Superboy.

Teen Titans #1, 2011, Brett BoothA few things that caught my attention in this issue:
– It seems to run side by side with the current Superboy story arc.
– Tim Drake will apparently be the one who to bring the Teen Titans together, much like Batman will be the one to form the Justice League (according to solicitations at least). Funny how these two loners are inclined to create superhero teams…
– Wonder Girl’s costume is slightly reminiscent of Donna Troy’s, from the standpoint of the stars in space design. Curious.

Will I come back for more Teen Titans? Probably. The concept of teenagers being reckless with their superpowers intrigues me, as that’s something real teenagers would likely do. But I’m telling you, Red Robin’s costume might ruin it for me. I’m THAT bothered by it.

Interior image 1 from insidepulse.com. Interior image 2 from bleedingcool.com.

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Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

A Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression Review – Chemistry and Comics

Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression, coverTITLE: Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression
AUTHOR: Scott Lobdell
PENCILLERS: Ilias Kyriazis, Michael Dialynas. Cover by Nick Runge.
COLLECTS: Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression #1-4
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $17.99
RELEASE DATE: April 7, 2010

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

You’ll find very few people happier than me that the Ghostbusters are back in comic shops. I doubt you’ll ever see a writer re-capture the magic of what Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis and the others brought to the screen all those years ago. But it’s still a lot of fun to watch the boys in grey suit up and kick some slime! (That’s right, I said it.)

After being defeated by the ghostly villain Koza’rai, the boys in gray each find themselves trapped in a different time period. Their only hope is Rachel Unglighter, a student of Egon’s, who travels back in time to reunite the team and save the world.

Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression #1, VenkmanThis book is pretty accessible to Ghostbusters fans young and old. The story almost writes itself. And with Peter trapped in the old west, Ray trapped in the days of King Arthur, etc, the jokes do too. That’s unquestionably the hardest part of the Ghostbusters movies to replicate on to the page: that comedic camaraderie Murray, Aykroyd and the others put into it. How do you channel the genius of Bill Murray? You can’t. You simply have to do your best.

That’s the thing about the GB miniseries’ that have come out in recent years (to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the first film). In my opinion, they’re only as good as their Venkman. Did Aykroyd create the concept? Yes. Did he and Ramis write the films? Yes. But the Peter Venkman character (along with Sigourney Weaver’s character, Dana Barrett) was what injected some reality into them. He was the healthy cynic. In essence, he was the Han Solo of Ghostbusters (I think that means Egon was C-3P0). So as a writer, the closer you can come to generating something along the lines of Murray’s performance, the better your story is going to be.

I don’t think Scott Lobdell comes incredibly close in that regard, but he does a decent job. For my money, the best Ghostbusters graphic novel out there is Legion by Andrew Dabb.

From an artistic standpoint, Displaced Aggression is pretty “cartoonish,” but I can live with that. At the end of the book, Michael Dialynas pencils a short story about what Janine (the Ghostbusters’ secretary) was doing while the main story was taking place. His style looks a little more “comic bookish” to me. But then again, who am I to say what looks cartoonish or comic-bookish?

Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression, JanineThe real question is, if Janine can get in the book, why can’t Louis Tully?

In the end, this book was fun for me because I’m such a ghosthead. But I can recognize that it doesn’t recapture the magic of the films. And that’s okay. It’s doesn’t look like The Real Ghostbusters cartoon, and the creators’ hearts are in the right place. For me, the latter is what matters most.

RATING: 5.5/10

Image 1 from bleedingcool.com. Image 2 from protoncharging.com.

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