Ghostbusters: Answer the Call: Fear is a Construct

Ghostbusters Answer the Call 3 Cover A. Written by Kelly Thompson. Drawn by Corin Howell. Pub: IDW Publishing. 7 February 2018

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #3

Kelly Thompson (writer), Corin Howell (artist), Valentina Pinto (colours), Neil Uyetake (letters)
IDW Publishing
7 February, 2018

The Ghostbusters are in bad shape. The evil Schreckgespenst, a.k.a. Shrecky the Ghost, a.k.a. Kruger the Mad Scientist, got the whammy on them and forced the quartet to face their worst fears. They come out on the other side much worse for wear.

Ghostbusters Answer the Call 3 Cover B. Written by Kelly Thompson. Drawn by Corin Howell. Pub: IDW Publishing. 7 February 2018
Regrouping at a nearby diner, the Ghostbusters try and pick up the pieces of their shattered psyches. Unfortunately, the usually peppy engineer Holtzmann is badly affected and it has a cascading effect on the others. When physicist and leader Erin attempts to lift Holtzmann’s spirits by sharing her experience, she inadvertently gives Holtzmann an idea to beat Shrecky.

Meanwhile, the city is still under siege by Shrecky’s forces. While Holtzmann works on a new device, Erin, historian Patty, and physicist Abby head back to Kruger’s lab to uncover more information. They are not prepared for the horrors they uncover.

Ghostbusters Answer the Call 3 Page 18. Written by Kelly Thompson. Drawn by Corin Howell. Pub: IDW Publishing. 7 February 2018
Patty, funny and real.

This issue belongs to Patty and I love it! There are so many laugh-out-loud moments in this book, most of them featuring Patty, and, although laughs are to be expected from this series, the comic timing of the writers here is excellent. I enjoyed chuckling to myself while reading. The previous issue went into some dark territory for the Ghostbusters, so some light-hearted frivolity was much needed here. And the next time someone calls me a naysayer, I plan to use Patty’s line: “You say naysayer, I say ‘voice of reason.’” Should work like a charm!

We get to see the Ghostbusters’ assistant, Kevin, a bit more in this book. He is, as always, completely incompetent, cutting the phone lines because too many people are calling for help. Typical Kevin. But I do love his excitement at being asked to help Holtzmann with her experiments. He may be dumb but he just wants to be a part of the team. Aww.

Ghostbusters Answer the Call 3 Page 15. Written by Kelly Thompson. Drawn by Corin Howell. Pub: IDW Publishing. 7 February 2018
The chemistry between the characters pops off the page. Readers can easily pick up on the established relationships with just a few lines of dialogue. This is evidence of a well-planned series and the writers’ understanding of the characters. It certainly helps readers connect with the Ghostbusters better.

Three issues in and I feel like Abby is being short-changed. Abby was possessed in the first issue of this series, which meant she had no development there. The follow-up story did not deal thoroughly with the impact possession had on her. Now, in this issue, we still do not have a good grasp on her personality. She is funny and sarcastic but is rarely the centre of attention. In this story, she prompts the team to go back to Shrecky’s lab and initiates the dismantling of a wall that may be covering vital clues to Shrecky’s work. But the bulk of the pages are focused on Patty’s insights into Shrecky, Holtzmann’s genius and Erin’s empathy. Abby seems very one-dimensional in comparison. One hopes that in the final two issues of this series, we will see her evolve more. Till now, she has not brought much to the plate.

I also think that the characters, barring Holtzmann, appear to recover far too quickly from facing their fears in the previous book. At the diner, Patty objects to Erin trying to make light of the issue but we do not get to see much more emotion from them. Don’t get me wrong, I do not want an entire Ghostbusters comic dedicated to them discussing their feelings, but having them immediately return to the fray? It seems a bit unrealistic, even for a comic book.

Ghostbusters Answer the Call 3 Page 11. Written by Kelly Thompson. Drawn by Corin Howell. Pub: IDW Publishing. 7 February 2018
I was initially unsure about the art because the characters look so unlike their on-screen counterparts, but I have changed my mind about it. Divesting the comic series from its film connections makes sense and has the potential to reach a wider audience. I loved the film but there was so much external misogynistic hate directed towards it and the people attached to the film that I am glad the comics are trying to forge their own path.

The art is consistent with the series’ comedic style and adds to the humour. There is a lot of detail included in each panel which helps build the surroundings of the characters. But I find the panels too symmetrical. Almost every page is neatly divided up into rectangles. It worked better in the previous issue which required that kind of symmetry to show the “fear dimension,” but here it is just too monotonous. I would have liked some variety in the pages.

However, the stilted art and the few characterisation issues are easy to overlook because the story itself is so thrilling and funny. I loved this issue and, though it wasn’t as vast a story as the second instalment, there are so many laughs to be had here that more plot would have got in the way of the humour. If the next issue manages to give Abby more to do, I see a fantastic conclusion in the series’ future.

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books, or video games. E always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. Louis' podcast, Stereo Geeks, is available on all major platforms. Pronouns: E/ Er/ Eir