Re-imagining or filling in the blanks of canon is always a tricky element but creativity takes a stride within certain aspects. The issues reviewed below takes this into account with both old and new IP though the take of New Visions places the visual one perception farther and, in doing so, becomes the most daring.
Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary Prime The original 4 plus Janine take on another interesting ghost but this one plays a little more linear. Ray is led to an artifact that has a very high PKE reading. When water is dropped on it, it takes control of Egon. The reveal connects it to Atlantic. After saving Egon, the showdown happens in Battery Park and the eventual reveal which involves a nice visual and verbal quip with Ray speaks to the exact right tone that Ghostbusters needs that hasn’t been really captured on screen since the 1st one.
Star Trek: New Visions #18 Optimizing stills from a series to create new stories has just become more possible with Photoshop and other programs so pieces like this are possible and make them more genuine at times and keyed into stories than some of the crossover attempts. The main story here: “What Pain It Is To Drown” keys into a civilization that precipitates on water pushing large bubbles into space and leading the Enterprise to a planet that eventually tries to pull the ship and one of its shuttles into the vortex. Spock and McCoy confront the being controlling it who simply wants to die and make a spectacle doing it. A mind meld ensues but almost causes trauma to Spock according to Bones. The story line is effective and to the point. The beginning of the next take “The Hunger” seems to be a little more basic but at least Chekov has moved up in rank.
The Q Conflict #2 This continuation of an almost all-star games where Q and his fellow omniscients like Tremaine and some others from the TOS use the captains and ships from the 4 series (except Enterprise and Discovery) in a series of tests seems uneven. While interesting, many of the personalities sometimes don’t work and the art is slightly off. This adventure involves finding portal gateways like those provided by the Traveler but from a long dead race called the Iconians. While most of it is by the book, the aspect of Riker using command codes to outmaneuver Picard shows a dexterity of will and competition
Captain Saru Set between the 1st and 2nd seasons of “Discovery” when the ship is in space dock for repairs (not unlike the beginning of “Wrath Of Khan”), the Discovery is called out to deal with a starship that has gone missing in a nebula where many of the navigation systems don’t work (again like “Khan”). As there is no set Captain, Saru is given a task to go figure out what is wrong. He takes a skeleton crew only to be ambushed by Orions (in what would have been a good regular episode but alas wouldn’t fit in the timeline of the 2nd season mythology). While Tilly and Michael play into the story, this is more completely about the strategy of Saru and actually plays more in tune with his transformation later in Season 2. Nonetheless, it is a good representation of a character building tale for a character with an undeniable journey set in the best Star Trek traditions.
By Tim Wassberg
The ideas in this batch of comics explores certain structures between ideology and tone, sometimes conflicting within each other through simple story risks that don’t work or moments of enlightenment that don’t truly come to fruition.
GI Joe: A Real American Hero #257 The story of GI Joe & Cobra is invariably the same except when aspects of the supernatural intrude. Like one of the reader comments brings up and an editor responds that while that may make the strikes a little bit unbelievable, it shakes up the status quo plus confuses and frustrates a character like Cobra Commander who simply wants to cause chaos. Dr. Demon is the inherent threat in this instance. Demon has gone insane as his consciousness fills that of a robot and begins to jump back and forth into different bodies. This identity crisis works well as an inherent metaphor though it is not explored as such.
Star Trek Vs. Transformers #2 Sometimes mash-ups can work like butter but other times the connections are simply too disparate despite a lot of canon elements between both. Here the crew of The Animated Series Enterprise discover the Autobots partially powered down on a planet. The Decepticons have meanwhile already made contact with the Klingons. While the matchup makes sense in certain ways, it is the tone that is off because it has to adhere both to a certain style of dialogue of one mixed with the other. The conflict for the most part is base yet it does fulfill the story requirements.
Euthanauts #4 A gang of would be superheroes in a sense based on the pursuit of death and perhaps the unsung rules of moving on definitely has potential either as an existential journey or like “Beetlejuice”, a reflective surface where the ideas of one world conflict with another. Some of these possibilities are addressed through the character of Thalia who does not know what to hold onto in life. This shell of antisocial perception gives her an interesting insight though not very engaging character features, either inwardly or outwardly. Circe by the reverse is like the Harley Quinn of a funeral home but with not enough story line within this specific comic utterance to give her breath. But, per usual, the Black Crown label does explore interesting territory.
Ghostbusters: Crossing Over #8 This conclusion to the multiple dimensional cross over story line culminates with the take down of another body but it works within that structure since said malevolence is in the specter of Medusa per se. Everything they do, she indicates makes her stronger since chaos begets chaos. Granted most things get tied up in a single bow. But like anything “Ghostbusters”, in the middle of all science is a human story. The aspect of Ray separated by the ghost Jenny whom he fell in love with speaks back to the 1st Ghostbusters and maybe some psychology within Dan Aykroyd, its creator himself. Also the evolving idea of Janine and her possibilities is also interesting but not as dynamic in terms of story structure.
By Tim Wassberg
This progression of the Ghostbusters story is all about the different perceptions and implications of the different experiences they go through. With “Ghostbusters: Spectral Shenanigans” [Eric Burnham/IDW/336pgs], the story picks up after “Ghostbusters II” in terms of the movie using the texture of Gozer and addressing it to show a parity between the actions of the movies and their aftermath. Walter Peck is given oversight of the Ghostbusters business in this iteration, Egon no longer has a romantic inference with Janine and Venkman is completely and continually out of sorts with Dana nowhere to be seen. The humor throughout and the art is right on point with the right balance of comedy and horror. The essence of ghosts that cannot be contained as well as different approaches to how ghosts can perceive time (i.e. within an orphanage where the interior is lost in time) give different story structure to what the Ghostbusters franchise is capable of. The remainder of the graphic novel has the Ghostbusters being loaned out across the country which is interesting showing the interaction of this crew in places other than New York. The New Orleans angle integrated with a voodoo princess and her wise mother definitely keys into what the ghost structure of this franchise is all about. Two other adventures in the Roswell desert as well as in an old historical fort where a ghost army has risen up work because the ghosts’ reason for unrest truly make sense. Within this structure, a “Ghostbusters” TV show could work. Surprisingly, this hasn’t been floated yet. This idea of roaming Ghostbusters is integrated with the aspect of a mobile containment unit within a large motor home. This is something that night not have made sense in 1984 but definitely in 2018. The final adventure involving a dead musician doesn’t have the weight of the other stories but still works to a point. “Ghostbusters: Spectral Shenanigans” definitely expands the idea of Ghostbusters in a way that perhaps the “Crossing Over” storyline doesn’t and in doing so very much grows the mythology of these scientists.
By Tim Wassberg