Review: Ghostbusters International #1 (IDW Publishing)

ghostbusters international #1The Ghostbusters return in another comic series for IDW Publishing, this time seemingly taking the team of paranormal investigators outside their normal experiences. Erik Burnham continues to write this series, adding it to a number of comic ventures within the Ghostbusters universe and outside of it in crossover series, and he’s joined by Dan Schoening on artwork and Luis Antonio Delgado on colors.

Ghostbusters International #1 does a lot of setup, picking up after the events of Ghostbusters: Get Real and the Ghostbusters Annual 2015. Burnham sets a new course for his crew, one that involves the appearance of a mysterious and wealthy man named Erland Vinter; Vinter is interested in meeting with the Ghostbusters, and he’s also open to handing out a blank check to pay for any damages the Ghostbusters sustain in a quick ‘busting exercise that occurs in the opening pages of the book.

All of the characters from the Ghostbusters crew are here, and for the most part, it’s a good introduction for new readers. Even Janine makes an appearance, if only for a moment – it’s more of a way to work her back into the storyline after the events of Get Real. Burnham makes Ghostbusters International accessible to both newbies and regulars, and that’s nice to see at the start of this new series.

At the same time, there’s a lot of exposition that occurs within the first issue, especially because of Vinter; he’s forced to explain himself at a business meeting, and he comes right out to say that he has every intention of buying the Ghostbusters as a sort of franchise. It’s an interesting premise, because a lot of what the Ghostbusters do is predicated on money, but it’s obviously not meant to be a good decision for the crew.

The pacing is a little slow, but there’s enough action in the middle of the book to make up for some of the more dialogue-heavy areas. The guys are called in to deal with a Class VI werewolf-type ghost that manifests at the United Nations, one that also draws the attention of ghostly men sitting in the aisles. While this event has little bearing on Ghostbusters International #1, with the setup left out of this comic, it’s still a treat to see the guys working again.

As a first issue, though, Ghostbusters International lacks a spark. It’s the way that Vinter as a character is presented, because the meaning behind his purchasing of the Ghostbusters brand is questionable. Presenting it at the end of the issue leaves little room to explain, and it feels less like a cliffhanger than it does a confusing predicament; is Vinter buying the Ghostbusters a good thing, or a bad thing, and what does it mean for the franchise? I’m not sure this first issue has grabbed readers’ attention enough to force them to find out despite some good – if slightly cartoonish – artwork from Schoening and a colorful palette from Delgado. Ghostbusters International #1 is a lukewarm effort right now, but it’ll take another issue to see if Burnham can scare up some interest.

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