Ghostbusters – Answer the Call #5
Kelly Thompson (Writer), Corin Howell (Artist), Valentina Pinto (Colourist), Neil Uyetake (Letterer)
9 May, 2018
The Ghostbusters’ Dr Jillian Holtzmann has an insane plan to beat the Schreckgespenst, a.k.a. “Schrecky,” the ghost terrorising New York City. It is the kind of plan that is so crazy that it might just work. Well, it had better; the Ghostbusters are running out of options to save the city.
According to Holtzmann, the team needs to re-enter Schrecky’s nightmare-scape and outwit him in his own dimension. This will not be an easy task. Their last visit left them almost catatonic with fear. They will somehow have to conquer those fears once again and come together in the nightmare version of St. Paul’s Chapel, where the four Ghostbusters had unknowingly crossed paths many years ago. In this hidden location, they will make their stand against Schrecky. Will the all-powerful ghost fall for their trap? Have the Ghostbusters thought of every eventuality?
This book is the most action-packed of the series, featuring three battles between the Ghostbusters and Schrecky. But it’s the mystery that really makes it a page-turner. Throughout the five issues, we have seen what happens when the team fails to rely on each other, or when they are overconfident. In this finale, we see how working together is the Ghostbusters’ best strategy. There are numerous moments when things do not seem to be going the Ghostbusters’ way, but how they rally to pick each other up is what makes this book such a positive reading experience. Cue epic moments that will have readers smiling from ear to ear.
The nightmare-scape, which readers first encountered in issue #2, makes a grand return here and acts as an excellent setting for the final battle. Alternate dimensions are always fascinating, but one that delves into characters’ fears, no matter how foolish they may seem, makes for even more interesting reading. I like the fact that the Ghostbusters aren’t miraculously cured of their fears after one visit to the nightmare dimension. The same fears come back to haunt them on their second trip, only this time they are better prepared to face it and are motivated by a plan they know they must execute.
The one thing that I have absolutely loved about this series, right from the beginning, is the banter between the characters. One can immediately see that this is a close-knit team by the way they interact with each other, which is honestly a breath of fresh air in a series about four women. The series has eschewed pitting the female Ghostbusters against each other—a tactic used all too often in comics—instead creating a wholesome group of funny women we would love to hang out with.
It took a while for the art in this series to grow on me, but now at the end, I can earnestly say that Corin Howell’s work is excellent. Yes, the characters look nothing like the actors in the film, but that is the artistic license a comic series must take. Plus, it really helps that the editors have an established guide at the start of each book that identifies the characters, especially as they look so different from their on-screen counterparts.
The cartoonish style Howell employs for the characters’ faces exude a variety of expressions—excitement, fear, relief, joy—that would have been lost in more hyper-realistic drawing styles. It is no small feat to give characters believable facial reactions that are recognisable and animated.
It helps that colourist Valentina Pinto uses an extensive palette of colours to bring both the real world and the nightmare dimension to life. I was particularly entranced by her colour scheme for Dr Abigail “Abby” Yates’ nightmare of clowns. The bright oranges, reds, and greens are a stark contrast to the pitch black used to signify Dr. Erin Gilbert’s fear of bees and failure, as well as Patricia “Patty” Tolan’s fear of abandonment. Pinto’s colours also add definition to the faces, and even to backgrounds, which really make the story come alive. Her use of colour for the action scenes in this book add an almost three-dimensional quality to the panels. Let’s just say that when the Ghostbusters’ use their proton packs, you can feel the energy leap off the page!
Thanks to the combination of Howell’s art, Pinto’s colours, and Kelly Thompson’s writing, this series has had fully-fleshed out characters, locations, and technology. And it would be remiss of me not to mention the artist’s consistency in staying true to the characters’ diversity throughout the series. Lack of diversity is still an issue that plagues the comic industry, so to see a comic series remain faithful to the sizes, shapes, and colour of the actors that portrayed the characters on film is a relief.
This series has been a joy to read, and I am sad to see it come to an end. After all the flack that the film reboot received, it is great to see the characters live on through the comics. Without the baggage of having to create origin stories for the characters, the Answer the Call series has managed to create well-rounded, believable women who share a great dynamic. The characters’ relationships with each other have been built upon in each issue and comes to a head in this book where their camaraderie and friendship not only help make them a better team, but also establish how the power of female relationships can best even the toughest villains.
Answer the Call set out to be a miniseries that brought the reboot Ghostbusters characters to a broader audience. It has been funny, enjoyable, and exciting. Though the story is complete, readers will definitely want to see more of the characters. The question mark accompanying “The End” on the final panel certainly suggests the possibility of more all-female Ghostbusting adventures. If it happens, I will definitely be first in line for the next issue.