Sunday, December 10, 2017

TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 #5


Publication date: November 29, 2017

Written by: Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz
Art by: Dan Schoening (pgs. 9-20), Pablo Tunica (pgs. 8-11), Charles Paul Wilson III (pgs. 1-8)
Colors by: Luis Antonio Delgado
Letters by: Shawn Lee
Edits by: Bobby Curnow
Published by: Ted Adams

Summary:

In the garden dimension, the Turtles reunite with the spirit of Tang Shen, their departed mother.  Ray tries to take a PKE reading of Shen, but Winston slaps the meter from his hand and tells him to show some respect.  Shen tells her sons how proud she is of all of them and then thanks the Ghostbusters for not only making this reunion possible, but for being such good friends and mentors to her children.  Feeling the Collectors/Dun drawing nearer, Shen bids her sons farewell and disappears.  As the garden dimension begins to fade away, the Turtles and Ghostbusters open up a portal and return to the Firehouse.  When they get to there, Donatello and Egon hand out the proton weapons and let everyone in on their plan.


Later, in Central Park, the Collectors/Dun arrive.  Peter approaches them (Egon having calculated their arrival point in advance) and gives them the option to surrender.  Dun laughs and swears that once he has dealt with the Turtles, he will build a trans-dimensional criminal empire.  Peter was just a distraction, of course, and the Turtles get the drop on Dun.  Using their proton weapons, they're able to injure the Dun entities, but they quickly put themselves back together after each blow.  Peter and Winston try to slow Dun down with their proton streams, but he's too powerful.  Eventually, he trashes all the proton weapons and shrugs off the proton streams.


However, it was all just another diversion, giving Egon and Ray time to calibrate the Portal Trap.  They open it and suck Dun directly into the Containment Unit, where the power source is strong enough to keep him from crossing dimensions and escaping.  With the day saved, Donatello laments that it's time they all went back to their home dimension.  Michelangelo is bummed, as he wanted to visit the Ghostbusturtles again.


Later, back at the Firehouse, the Turtles and Ghostbusters say their goodbyes.  Leo wishes he and Winston could hang out without monsters trying to destroy them, but Winston says that's just the way things are.  Raph asks Ray if Dun can ever escape from the Containment Unit and he assures him that their tech is airtight.  Peter gives Mikey a beginner's guide to psychology text, encouraging him to study the subject. Donnie promises to send Egon his notes and data on the Metalhead consciousness transference once he finds them.  With all the goodbyes said, the Turtles enter the portal and return home.


Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 #4.  For the Turtles, the story resumes in TMNT (IDW) #76.

*For the Ghostbusters, the story resumes in Ghostbusters Annual 2018.

*Donatello last met the spirit of Tang Shen in TMNT (IDW) #45.  Leonardo last communed with the spirit of Tang Shen in TMNT Universe #5 (in the back-up).  All four Turtles encountered a living Tang Shen via time travel in TMNT: Turtles in Time #2.

*This issue was originally published with 3 variant covers: Cover A by Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado, Cover B by Charles Paul Wilson III, and Cover RI by Adam Gorham.


Review:

The conclusion to this crossover offered some surprises and also played it by the book, but I think it struck a good balance.  The Collectors/Dun were defeated in exactly the way Donnie and Egon said they would defeat them several issues ago.  Essentially, their plan went off without a hitch and there were no wrinkles in the strategy. 

In some sort of way, that might have actually been LESS predictable than the alternative.  In the back of my head, I was waiting for the part where the plan would break down and they'd have to think of a solution on the fly, which is the formula almost every narrative where a strategy is introduced in advance tends to operate on.  The fact that it was resolved precisely how the characters said it would be resolved near the start of this mini kinda took me by surprise, even if it didn't leave me with any shock or awe.

The REAL surprise element instead came in the form of Tang Shen popping up.  It's almost a non sequitur to the plot and serves strictly as a detour for the characters.  Again, I was anticipating Shen to turn out to be some illusion created by Dun to trick the Turtles or whatever, but that wasn't the case.  It was just an opportunity for her spirit to tell her kids how much she loves them and that's it.  The moment doesn't tie into anything else going on in the book, it's just THERE, but it also winds up being one of the better parts of the whole miniseries.

Quite a lot of this mini involves the Turtles dealing with some emotional baggage and getting advice from the Ghostbusters, who serve sort of as mentor figures for them.  Winston helps Leo deal with his responsibility complex, Peter helps Mikey get to the root of his abandonment issues, Ray diagnoses why Raph is so angry and lonely all the time, and Egon and Donnie overcome their survivor's guilt by comparing near death experiences with one another.  There's a LOT of psychotherapy going on in this mini and it almost feels like the reunion with Tang Shen was a reward the Turtles received for getting over their emotional issues.  So in some way, her scene is led into and isn't quite the non sequitur I made it out to be.

An anonymous commentor in my last review also brought up a good point I hadn't considered, that the Ghostbusters are some of the few adults whom the Turtles know and can confide in.  Most of their friends are either fellow teenagers, weird mutants or space aliens.  The Ghostbusters are just normal adults, and while they aren't exactly surrogate parental figures to the Turtles, they do act as mentors for them.  The dynamic was unique, because this wasn't one of those team-ups where both sides acted as equals to one another.  The Turtles definitely looked up to the Ghostbusters as adults and actively sought out their advice, while the Ghostbusters saw the Turtles as extraordinary teenagers with lots of potential, but still teenagers in need of guidance.  A LOT of writers tend to forget that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are still teenagers and it's always a little weird when the adult characters they meet regard them as contemporaries rather than kids.  While the Ghostbusters don't necessarily treat the Turtles as peers (save perhaps Egon/Donatello), they DO treat them with respect.  It was a very complex dynamic and I applaud Burnham for going that extra mile when a "superhero team-up" style crossover likely would've been ten times easier to write.

I suppose if I have anything else to bring up, it's that I think (THINK) this is the first time we've seen the inside of the Containment Unit in the IDW comic.  We've seen the inside of the Real Ghostbusters' Containment Unit in the comic, during that crossover, but I don't think we've ever seen the inside of THEIR Containment Unit before.  And, yeah, it's basically exactly the same as the inside of the one from the Real Ghostbusters (a weird dimension of floating rocks and power cables).

You know, I never really understood how that worked.  The science of the equipment in the Ghostbusters universe is that the ghost traps separate the ectoplasmic energy that makes up the ghost from the psychokinetic energy that gives it the power to manifest itself in the physical world.  I always figured the Containment Unit was just this huge vat of ectoplasmic energy where the ghosts, cut off from psychokinetic energy, are incapable of reforming themselves.  So whenever it's depicted as basically being another dimension entirely, I'm always left scratching my head as to where that came from.  Was it an existing dimension that the Ghostbusters hijacked when installing the Containment Unit?  Or did they CREATE their own pocket dimension to store ghosts in?  How fucking BIG is it (it looks endless)?  And if the Ghostbusters have the technology to basically create entire universes, why the hell are they working as exterminators and not just ruling all of reality as the literal gods they have become?

Oh man, why am I even thinking about this stuff?  It's fucking Ghostbusters.  The inside of the Containment Unit looks the way it does because its fun to see cameos from all the previous ghosts they've caught sitting around and sulking.  It's a comic book, it doesn't have to make sense.

Anyhow, TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 definitely upped the game on the first crossover and I loved every page of it.  A little dense with continuity between the two books, which might discourage newcomers, but I think readers familiar with one or the other title will have a blast.  And those who read both will feel extremely rewarded.  They tease a third crossover in the denouement, but I dunno.  It took 25 years to get Ghostbusters 3 (in the form of Ghostbusters the Video Game).  How long will we have to wait for TMNT/Ghostbusters 3?  Hopefully less than a decade.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 #4


Publication date: November 22, 2017

Written by: Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz
Art by: Tadd Galusha (pgs. 1-3), Dan Schoening (pgs. 4-7, 17-18), Pablo Tunica (pgs. 8-11), Mark Torres (pgs. 12-15), Charles Paul Wilson III (pgs. 16, 19-20)
Colors by: Luis Antonio Delgado
Letters by: Shawn Lee
Edits by: Bobby Curnow
Published by: Ted Adams

Summary:

In the Post-Apocalypse world, the Collectors confront Winston and Leo, who can't put a dent in them with the proton streams.  Before the Collectors can nab them, they're suddenly called back against their will.  Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, Winston and Leo open a new dimensional portal and bail.


In Purgatory, the mad Darius Dun is so angry that the Collectors let the Turtles escape that he performed the summoning ritual a second time just so he could berate them for their failure.  Furious, the Collectors decide that since the price for the first summoning was a portion of his soul (which drove Darius mad), the price for a second summoning would be the rest of his essence.  The Collectors consume Darius, but his will overpowers their own and he takes over their hive mind.  Darius tells Bronson that with this new power, he will get his revenge on Splinter and the Foot Clan, but first he's going to decapitate the Turtles.


In the animal world (the city of Zoo Amsterdam), Michelangelo reasons with that universe's Ghostbusters, insisting that Peter is not an entity that needs to go in the Containment Unit.  He proves that Peter is an alternate universe counterpart to the "Ghostbusturtles" by showing them his proton pack.  The Ghostbusturtles run some tests to confirm Mikey's story and then free Peter.  Peter compliments Mikey on talking his way out of a bad situation and, after suggesting a psychology degree, the two open a new portal and leave.


In the Scandinavian afterlife, Raph has no luck piloting Ray's body against his own possessed form, as Ray is too out of shape to fight.  Coming up with a plan, Ray tells Raph to use the spritzer of positively charged mood slime on his possessed body, but he'll have to spray his body and Ray's body simultaneously.  The mood slime, which reacts to anger, drives Raph's spirit out of Ray's body and the Viking spirit out of Raph's body, allowing Raph to retake his own body.  Ray then opens a portal and the two escape before the rest of the Viking ghosts can attack them.


At the warehouse in Red Hook, in the Ghostbusters' dimension, Donatello and Egon put the finishing touches on the Portal Trap and the proton weaponry.  Donnie asks Egon what it was like being truly dead and brought back to life.  Egon admits that his only real regret is that he was revived by supernatural means and not scientific ones and envies that Donnie was able to cheat death using technology.  Before they can discuss it further, Donnie gets a notice on the portal tracker that the other Turtles and Ghostbusters have convened in the same dimension.  Suspecting trouble, Donnie and Egon grab the gear and open up a portal to join them.


They find the others all together in another dimension that looks like a garden.  But another figure has joined them and claims to be the one who summoned all of them to her garden.  The Turtles recognize the spirit as Tang Shen, their mother.


Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 #3.  The story concludes in TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 #5.

*Dr. Danny Welker is named after Dan Aykroyd and Frank Welker, two actors to have portrayed Ray in the Ghostbusters franchise.  From that, we can presume that the remaining "Ghostbusturtles" are Dr. Harold Lamarche, Dr. Bill Music (or Coulier) and Ernie Hall (or Jones).

*Ray mentions the time that Winston was possessed by Chi-You in TMNT/Ghostbusters #4.

*This issue was originally published with 3 variant covers: Cover A by Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado, Cover B by Mark Torres, and Cover RI by Ben Bishop.


Review:

The dueling narratives wrap up in this issue, in time for the conclusion next chapter.  What's refreshing is that each conflict is resolved differently and some in ways that might be seen as unsatisfactory had this been an episodic anthology.  But by divvying up the arcs a little each issue, I think it gave Burnham and Waltz freedom to resolve some of those arcs without any action; because if one ends with a peaceful exchange of words, that's okay, because another ended with blasting and punching.

Winston and Leo escape the Collectors through what at first seems like Darius' stupidity, but turns out to be part of a master plan he'd concocted either before or after he went insane.  That a rather D-list Turtle villain could overpower the will of four godlike trans-dimensional entities is maybe a little iffy, it at least took him off the sidelines and into the battlefield.

Mikey talking his way out of the standoff with the Ghostbusturtles was what I was getting at in the opening paragraph of this review.  Sandwiched between two action-heavy tangents, it worked great and resolved the conflict in a manner that complemented Mikey's earlier therapy session with Peter.  It was also a good showcase of Mikey's personality as a people person.  He's very outgoing and extroverted (a "party dude", if you will) because he likes people and he GETS people.  And of all his brothers, he'd be the first one to try a non-violent approach to solving a problem.  I'm glad we were able to get this ending thanks to the mini's format.

The Ray and Raph storyline, as I said last review, was falling flat for me and it didn't pull any fourth quarter miracles, here.  Ray using the positively charged mood slime to drive Raph's angry spirit from his own body as well as the spirit of the Viking ghost from Raph's body was actually pretty clever, but it was accompanied by a rather eyerolling sequence where Raph tries to stammer out why he's so grouchy all the time.  What was more fun about their team-up was that they were the odd couple pairing in this mini and so it was fun to see a badass brawler try and work together with a doughy optimist.

Egon and Donnie end their conversation comparing their flirtations with death and the revelation from Egon was a bit surprising.  The idea that, as a scientist, he had to rely on what was essentially "magic" to bring him back from the dead when technology, his life's passion, should have been sufficient... it bruises his ego and leaves him feeling inadequate.  That was a dimension to the character I'd never considered before, especially since Ghostbusters 101 had mostly overlooked any emotional aftermath on his end from his death and resurrection, so I'd just figured he was over it.  One of the reasons why Burnham is so good at writing these characters; he can tell you something new about them without having to fundamentally change them.

As for the cliffhanger, I feel foolish for letting it take me by surprise.  By that, I mean, I should have expected Tang Shen to pop up the second Charles Paul Wilson took over the pencils.  One of IDW's traditions since nearly the start of their TMNT series has been to utilize him on any issues or segments of issues that take place in Feudal Japan or feature an appearance from Tang Shen.  Kind of a big hint.  But I guess I had my blinders on, because I didn't see that one coming.  But hey, it is Saturday night, after all.  I've got other things on my mind.

TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 #3


Publication date: November 15, 2017

Written by: Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz
Art by: Dan Schoening (pgs. 1, 10-15), Pablo Tunica (pgs. 2-5), Mark Torres (pgs. 6-9), Tadd Galusha (pgs. 16-20)
Colors by: Luis Antonio Delgado
Letters by: Shawn Lee
Edits by: Bobby Curnow
Published by: Ted Adams

Summary:

In Purgatory, Darius looks in on the Prison Dimension and finds the Turtles have escaped.  He begins to grow furious, but Bronson assures him that the Collectors will recapture the Turtles in short order, though he tries to remind Darius of the price for contracting them.


In the animal world, that dimension's Ghostbusters (anthropomorphic turtles named Bill, Danny, Harold and Ernie (in absentia)) use their gel packs to incapacitate the "entity" Peter and "save" Michelangelo.  They haul Peter back to their Firehouse while Michelangelo follows on the rooftops.  Mikey sneaks down into the basement to free Peter from the gel before he's put into their Containment Unit, but he's attacked by Bill and Harold, who try to stun him with lasers.


In the Scandinavian afterlife, Raphael comes to and finds that his and Ray's bodies have been possessed by Viking ghosts ("Gjenganger") who are using them to feel the thrill of mortal combat again.  Now disembodied spirits, Ray and Raph first try to convince the Vikings to release their bodies willfully, and when that doesn't work, the two work together to force the Viking out of Ray's body.  They retake Ray's body, but now they're both stuck in it at the same time and have to figure out a way to exorcise Raph's body without damaging it.


Back in the Ghostbusters' dimension, Egon and Donatello are testing out their new equipment in a warehouse in Red Hook that Peter had leased for "fantasy camp".  Donnie enters a containment enclosure as Egon releases a ghost to attack him.  Donnie is able to fend it off with his proton-powered bo staff, but the Portal Trap fails and a spirit from the Containment Unit nearly escapes.  As Egon recaptures the ghost, he and Donnie exchange stories about their own deaths and out-of-body experiences and both admit that they feel survivor's guilt as a consequence.


In the Post-Apocalyptic world, Winston is about to open another dimensional portal when his control bracelet is stolen by a punk frog.  He and Leonardo chase the mutant amphibian, but it leads them into an ambush where three other punk frogs are waiting.  Leonardo and Winston easily beat up the punk frogs and get the control bracelet back, but the delay was too long and the Collectors arrive.


Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 #2.  The story continues in TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 #4.

*The Ghostbusters fantasy camp was established in Ghostbusters 101 #1.

*This issue was originally published with 3 variant covers: Cover A by Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado, Cover B by Tadd Galusha, and Cover RI by Chris Johnson and Mark Englert.


Review:

The format for this weekly miniseries actually falls somewhere in-between the formats of the previous two weekly miniseries.  Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything was a hectic mess where the narrative and artists changed every couple of pages and half the fun was just trying to keep track in the face of all the spontaneity.  Dimension X was a much more straight-forward anthology, wherein each issue was an isolated story by a different creative team.

TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 is sort of the best of both worlds.  Each issue tracks four different stories by four different artists, giving it the sort of anthology feel of Dimension X but without segmenting the narratives so much, while also giving it that "jam session" feel of Bebop & Rocksteady albeit with more coherent structure.

To talk about each story segment, I'll begin with the Peter/Mikey tale.  While the Collectors had previously taken on the identities of the Peoplebusters in the IDW comic, they didn't have much in common with the Peoplebusters who had appeared in the Real Ghostbusters cartoon beyond appearances.  The turtle-Ghostbusters in this story are the cartoon Peoplebusters in all but name and visual likeness.  They use back-mounted packs of "gel" (not ectoplasm) to capture humans in an alternate universe where they're either feared or outlawed.  Naming them all after the cast of the original Ghostbusters film was cute and the absence of Ernie would be another reference back to the cartoon Peoplebusters, who inexplicably lacked a Winston doppelganger (rectified by the IDW comics).  As someone who has already confessed to loving the Peoplebusters as villains, between the Collectors and the turtle-Ghostbusters it's like I'm getting DOUBLE the Peoplebusters in this mini.  Can't complain about that.

Pablo Tunica's art in this segment is as wild and lavishly detailed as what we saw from him back in "Toad Baron's Ball".  His character models are perhaps mushier than some people would like, but I dig the fluidity of his layouts and the expressiveness of his characters.  And I dunno what it is, but I LOVE exaggerated caricatures of Bill Murray.  When an artist gets all of his most out-of-proportion features right, like his widow's peak, saggy cheeks and bulbous nose, he ends up looking really, really funny.  Like a Swedish troll or something.

The Ray/Raph segment isn't really doing it for me, yet.  On paper, it sounds interesting: Ray and Raph are polarizing personalities and they have to work together in one body to stop a bunch of Viking ghosts and escape before the Collectors show up.  So I'm not sure what it is about this portion that hasn't grabbed me.  Each segment tries to fit in a "tender moment" between the Ghostbusters and the Turtles, and while others have done it gracefully, the bit where Ray peeks into Raph's memories and asks him why he feels so lonely came off a tad cringy.

Mark Torres' pencils seem to also be at odds with Delgado's colors, which may be why the end result is sort of awkward and uncertain of itself.  If you recall, Torres previously drew the excellent and often overlooked TMNT: Infestation 2 miniseries, which was horror-themed and boasted Hellboy-inspired colors by Jay Fotos.  Delgado's bright and glowing colors, while a superb fit for Schoening's animated art style, just don't align with Torres' pencils.  The pencils/inks look like they want to be dark and spooky while the colors try to make everything bright and whimsical.  It's a bit like watching a horror movie with the lights on.

The Winston/Leo segment got most of its story content covered last issue, as the two had their heart-to-heart.  That left this issue with a gratuitous nostalgia cameo from what I'm guessing are supposed to be new incarnations of the Punk Frogs.  I wasn't sure, hence why I used lower case on "punk frogs" in my summary, but the part of me that craves obvious answers insists that these unnamed mutant frogs in punk attire were intended to be THE Punk Frogs.  And if so, congratu-fucking-lations, IDW.  You are the first team of writers to utilize the Punk Frogs as ACTUAL PUNKS.  How many decades did that take?

Tadd Galusha's art gets the darker coloring treatment that I felt Torres should have gotten as well.  Did Galusha color his own pages?  I'm pretty sure Tunica colored his own pages, since the style is definitely his, so maybe Galusha did his own colors, as well.  Whatever the case, the atmosphere of the post-Apocalypse makes it through nicely and, layout-wise, I like how frequently Galusha's characters break through the panel borders.

For Egon/Donnie, their segment in this issue consists mostly of that heart-to-heart stuff I was talking about, though done with more grace than Ray's "Why are you so lonely, Raph" thing from a few pages earlier.  Be it by coincidence or by design, both characters have near-death (or death-death) experiences that they can talk to one another about and it makes for a pretty insightful conversation.  Egon isn't as comfortable as Donnie when it comes to talking about "feelings", but you can tell he wants to get some stuff of his chest and share with an individual who has more or less been in the same rare predicament he has.  The struggle in the dialogue is nicely staggered without feeling like Bendis-esque rambling.  Framing it with a test of the new equipment was a nice way to keep the visuals engaging through a sappy conversation, though Schoening's layouts weren't exactly his career's most inspired (pages consisting mostly of horizontal bars).

TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 is hitting some deeper ground than I was expecting it to, mixing a fun adventure full of nostalgic fanwank with some legitimate character exploration and growth.  Gratuitous corporate IP crossovers rarely put forth this sort of effort.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 #2



Publication date: November 8, 2017

Written by: Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz
Art by: Dan Schoening (pgs. 1-5, 18-20), Mark Torres (pgs. 6-9), Pablo Tunica (pgs. 10-13), Tadd Galusha (pgs. 14-17)
Colors by: Luis Antonio Delgado
Letters by: Shawn Lee
Edits by: Bobby Curnow
Published by: Ted Adams

Summary:

Ray and Raphael, Peter and Michelangelo, and Winston and Leonardo are busy rapidly hopping through dimensions to keep the Collectors from getting a bead on them (including brief layovers in the Fred Wolf TMNT dimension and the Nickelodeon TMNT dimension).


Meanwhile, Egon and Donatello continue working on a means to capture the Collectors.  Having lost his notes from when he and Donatello first built the teleporter, Egon needs Donnie's help in retrograding their upgraded dimensional portal back into a one-way trip machine.  The plan is to create a portal that will lead directly into the Containment Unit, but without letting any incarcerated ghosts out, so that they can force the Collectors into captivity.  The bigger issue is how they will hold the Collectors and force them through the Trap Portal.  Donnie has an idea about that.


Ray and Raph arrive in a snowy forest dimension and are immediately attacked by spectral birds.  The act of messing with dimensional integrity apparently riles up and attracts supernatural entities, hence why they seem to be attacked by ghosts and monsters wherever they go.  A lumbering spirit then takes Ray hostage and Raph puts on his proton pack to try and save him.


Peter and Mikey arrive in a dimension populated by anthropomorphic animals.  Peter lends Mikey his jumpsuit so the Turtle won't be naked and the two decide to go exploring.  After bumping into an anthropomorphic rat, Mikey breaks down and tells Peter all about the falling out he had with his father, Splinter.  Using his psychology skills, Peter tells Mikey that he's still a kid and has set his father up on a pedestal.  However, Splinter is still just a human being (more or less) and prone to making mistakes, large and small.  Mikey starts to feel better, but the two are then interrupted by that dimension's incarnation of the Ghostbusters: Four anthropomorphic Turtles.  The Turtle-Ghostbusters, mistaking Peter for a demon, try to blast him.


Winston and Leo arrive in a post-Apocalyptic city and are immediately attacked by killer robots.  Winston blows them away with his proton guns and the two duck for cover in an abandoned building.  Leo tells Winston that all of their problems are his fault, as he was Splinter's Chunin when his father ordered the assassination of Darius Dun; the event which ultimately resulted in the dilemma they're in, now.  Winston reassures Leo, telling him that he can't be responsible for everyone else's decisions and he can't survive with the weight of the world on his shoulders.  Winston then awkwardly transitions from military rhetoric to scientific jargon, leaving Leo to think he sounds like Donnie.


Back in the Firehouse, Donnie is putting the finishing touches on the Trap Portal when his helmet gives him a shock.  Donnie begins talking like Winston and Egon fears that the helmets they're using to exchange psychic readings is causing their consciousnesses to mingle.  Another shock and Donnie's consciousness momentarily expands.  He sees the Collectors and realizes he can use this flaw in the helmets to his advantage.  Janine then enters with the ninja weapons Donnie had rush ordered and Donnie lays out his plan.  They're going to merge the Ghostbusters' proton weapons with the martial arts weapons to take the fight back to the Collectors.


Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 #1.  The story continues in TMNT/Ghostbusters #3.

*When Winston and Leonardo enter the dimension of the Fred Wolf TMNT, the ghost they encounter is the spirit of Lord Shibano, who appeared in the episode "Blast from the Past".

*Egon mentions the time he was killed, which happened in Ghostbusters International #7.  He was brought back to life, but his notes were destroyed in Ghostbusters International #11.

*Donatello mentions the time he participated in professional wrestling in Dimension X, which happened in TMNT: Dimension X #3.

*Donnie mentions the last time his body and soul were in two places at once.  He had his mind separated from his body and placed in Metalhead in TMNT (IDW) #45.

*This issue was originally published with 3 variant covers: Cover A by Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado, Cover B by Pablo Tunica, and Cover RI by Donny Tran and Delgado.


Review:

The characters pair up and split up in this issue and the fun is seeing each Turtle and Ghostbuster work together to get through a problem.  With the introductions having been taken care of in the first crossover, this time around the characters are able to cooperate like old friends and I think it makes their interactions more entertaining.

Burnham and Waltz throw a bit of a curveball, too, in regards to the pairings.  Some of the characters get matched with their obvious counterparts, like Egon and Donnie (the eggheads) or Winston and Leo (the straightmen), but the rest get a bit of a shake-up.  The rebellious Peter gets paired with Mikey rather than the rebellious Raph, while the childish Ray gets paired with Raph rather than the childish Mikey.  It's a good mix and match that breaks the formula some rather than saddle everyone with their obvious soul mate.

One of the things I love about the Ghostbusters as characters is that each one was designed to represent a different aspect of the sciences.  For instance, Peter Venkman, with his Ph.D.s in psychology and parapsychology, represents the soft sciences.  It's why he's so good at manipulating people (mainly getting a rise out of them) and talking his way out of problems.

Egon Spengler represents the STEM fields, like engineering.  He designs all the equipment, thinks in complex mathematical formulas, and speaks in a scientific jargon that needs to be translated for the laymen in the audience.

Ray Stantz is somewhere between Peter and Egon (he assists Egon in designing the equipment and can translate his jargon for Peter's benefit), but I always saw him as representing the research sciences.  Whenever there's an urban legend to be recollected, an obscure scrap of folk lore to be cited, or a chapter and verse from Tobin's Spirit Guide to be referenced, he's the one to do it.  He did own that book store in the second movie, after all.

Winston is a little different; he represents practical application and real world experience.  He got his job with the Ghostbusters not because he was a super genius with multiple Ph.D.s, but because he replied to an ad in the newspaper.  In the original script, novelization, and most prominently in the IDW comics, he's a former Marine.  In the Real Ghostbusters, he was a former construction worker.  In all versions, he's a man of faith who goes to church and brings a spiritual perspective to each case.  But regardless of the universe, Winston comes from a blue collar background and his lifetime of experiences and hard-earned skills make him every bit as indispensable as the other Ghostbusters with their purely academic backgrounds.  And he's also proof that ANYONE can be a Ghostbuster, not just hyper-intellectuals, which made him my favorite character as a kid.

The reason I went off onto that tangent just now is because you can see a lot of those angles worked into the characterization of the Ghostbusters in the IDW comics, especially in this miniseries.  You can see it in Ray, as he rattles off a ton of techno mumbo jumbo to Raph, but with a legitimate enthusiasm that Egon often lacks.  Last issue, Winston was the one to suggest that the interdimensional limbo was the religious concept of Purgatory, and in this issue he uses his military training to try and rally a depressed Leonardo.  And the scene where Peter applies his psychology degree to help Mikey work through his parental abandonment issues was absolutely perfect.

It's easy to try and pigeon-hole each character as being something blander, like "the nerd", "the joker", "the optimist" and, uh, "the other guy", but so much more work went into developing these characters than just throwing darts at tropes.  It's why the Ghostbusters as a team are so well balanced and also why you can tell when a writer doesn't get what makes them tick (especially when you get a writer who doesn't know what to do with Winston; I hate that).  It's that sort of craftsmanship and forethought that separates the original Ghostbusters from the 2016 versions, who were exactly the sort of hollow tropes the original characters were designed to avoid being.

I know I'm talking more about the Ghostbusters in these reviews than I am the Turtles, but c'mon.  This is a TMNT website and I talk about the Green Machine all the fucking time.  Who knows when I'll get to ramble on about the Ghostbusters again?  Let me have this.

Anyway, this issue was defined more by the ways the characters interacted than the actual plot.  The scenarios exist to facilitate those interactions, so I won't say anything was particularly lacking.  The references to both series are a bit dense for new readers or for someone who follows one book and not the other.  For example, the Ghostbusters go on about how they used to be against protonic dispersal of ghosts due to the danger it represented (a major plot in IDW's Ghostbusters Vol. 1) but later figured out a means to make it temporary and less end-of-the-worldy (as seen in Ghostbusters 101).  If you haven't been reading the Ghostbusters book, then all of that just comes at you as words words words and you might not get the significance.  Likewise, Mikey rambles on about his reincarnation and Shredder's beheading and Splinter taking over the Foot Clan and readers who only follow the Ghostbusters book might find it all a bit suffocating.

But not me, because I read both!  Ha!