Fritz Babbles About Ghostbusters #3:
I'll spare you the details, but Real Life has been kicking me in the groin lately, so this review/snarky commentary is a little late.
As the Bear Stearns bear is wrecking the New York economy--and New York City itself--years earlier than it did in Real Life, hurling around Knight 2000s and being a general nuisance to traffic, the Ghostbusters are stuck in traffic and have a flat tire. This is actually a neat little touch, to have them delayed by something so mundane. It also gives Egon a chance to spout some expository dialog; they've pretty much gone from "
Marty Tillis Jim Silver namedropped Gozer" to "OMFG, Gozer's avatar is about to come back again." They might also do something about that troll giving them evil looks.
As all of this is going on, we get what I assume is seeding for a future storyline: two guys in a bar are playing pool and contemplating getting into the Ghostbuster business. I think for now I'm going to call them "Jake" and "Eddie"...well, okay, "Jake" and Jimmy, I guess, because one of them gets a name. If "Jake" had any real future in ghostbusting, he'd notice the undead Earp gang sitting elsewhere in the bar. "Jake" is even plotting on how to steal the Ghostbusters designs. Fool! Ask Paul Smart how that worked out for...
Oh damn, if "Jake" is really the mysterious Roger, I'll take back everything I snarked after the release of #1. "Robo Buster" was one of the best episodes of the series during it's first half, but I felt like it dropped the ball in several ways after the commercial break. After Egon's glorious jealous snitfit, he almost vanishes during the second half when he should have been the person with the second biggest beef with Smart. If Erik Burnham is going into the same territory, I hope he'll be allowed to do it right.
But since I'm probably completely wrong about this, he can get a good laugh out of these comments.
Anyway, after fixing the tire, the guys get back to GBCentral and the requisite ball-busting from Wally Wick. Then the most glorious thing in the issue happens: Janine tells Peck off, big time, leaving the bureaucrat having to make a retreat with his metaphorical tail stuffed between his legs. Even Venkman is impressed, and facetiously claims he's now in love.
Janine: Thanks, but I'm spoken for.
Venkman: And the last thing I want to do is get on his bad side. I feel sorry for what he's gonna do to this "Roger" character. Especially if he really is "Jake".
We switch to the basement, where Ray is down by the big red ECU (previously established in the "Infestation" miniseries) working on a new gimmick trap that looks suspiciously like one of the EGB toys.
Egon, meanwhile, is up in his lab researching Gozer when, in the most effectively creepy twist to the whole story, a new page has literally appeared from nowhere in his copy of the Spates Catalog
of Nameless Horrors. As Ray and the disembodied head of ECTO-X watch, Egon mentions the new entry is about "The Third"--a phrase Ray was warned about in his dream. Uh-oh.
Then somebody calls up to remind the Ghostbusters there's still a giant animated terror bear running amuck in Times Square (apparently), leading to the most injoke-filled panel yet. "Lupusville" with a familiar looking vampire pictured. "Ride of the Valkyries" as conducted by Leopold. Dr. V.s Protien Shakes: "Become a hammy superhero!!!". Charlie Venkman still flogging Hob Anagarak (Probably some fake animatronic version, knowing him). Slimer selling Hi-C Ecto Cooler (with the serial numbers filed off). "Strange Fiction" with an alien dreamed up in "Mr. Sandman Dream Me A Dream". Granny Candy rings a bell, but I'm not sure from where.
Oh sprocking grife, the Junior Ghostbusters. If the Terror Bear stomps them into a greasy paste, I'll declare it my favorite monster ever.
Then we get Egon shooting the bear with another gimmick proton pack, and I'm sure to the delight of many references to the Rookie from Ghostbusters: The Video Game It amazes me how some of the same people who complained about Extreme Ghostbusters because they thought the characters were 'bland" are just absolutely in love with The Rookie from GBVG, despite the fact that he's just about literally a completely blank slate. Some sort of projection thing? Or are Aykroyd and Ramis's names some magic spell that makes even a blank avatar ("character" would be giving him too much credit) an object of fan adoration? Maybe EGB should have splashed "Based on characters created by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis" in much bigger letters right at the beginning of the show.
I guess what I'm getting at is, with all of the stuff IDW is ignoring or changing about GBVG, this brief mention is all the Tabula Rasa that is "The Rookie" deserves. Probably more.
And I hope IDW doesn't come to lean too heavily on gimmick equipment. It's understandable, I guess, in the Video Game because of the whole video RPG mentality of "constant upgrades to bigger and badder stuff!" but even the cartoon didn't go around pulling too many new pieces of gear out of its butt very often. (Sure, they'd do gimmick modifications on the packs or the PKE Meter, but not much new crap) The proton packs and ghost traps are a proven, effective system that works in 99% of all Ghostbuster cases. Even EGB didn't really change the concept much; far less that GBVG did with "boson darts" and "electron cannons" and integrated slime blowers (eyeroll).
Just about the time the Terror Bear is put down, Ray sees
Tillis Silver in the reflection of the ECTO-1's rear window, and is sucked into it. This leads to one of the best lines of the issue as Venkman declares "Egon, you told me our car didn't eat people". Behind them is another in-joke, an ad for Celebrity Magazine featuring it's star reporter, Ann Johnson. (Or, as Venkman had to call her, "Miz Johnson") Fortunately, the Ghostbusters aren't leaving behind as big a mess as usual, as the Terror Bear foofs into a pile of dust.
And then we turn our attention to Ray and Silver/Idulnas, and the most fascinating revelation of the issue. We're used to thinking of Dana Barrett as "special" because both Gozer and Vigo were interested in her (or, to be more accurate, Vigo was interested in her son Oscar). Lots of stuff happens to Egon in the cartoons because he doesn't know when to turn his curiosity off (he's the one who always gets blasted into the Netherwold or turned into a werechicken). But here Idulnas says Ray has his own unique quality...that it wasn't a coincidence that Gozer's destructor form was chosen by him, and that Vigo tried to posess him. And of course that "special" quality is what Idulnas is going to use to reconstitute Mr. Stay Puft and turn him into something more menacing.
And back on Earth, the page in the Spates Catalog has been sprouting like a Brooklyn geranium. It says Idulnas is "The Third", as in third minion of Gozer after Zuul and Vinz Clortho, but since Idulnas is apparently writing the entry himself he says he's going to be better than them. Awfully presumptuous, Idulnas, trying to make yourself sound more badass than characters created by Aykroyd and Ramis. The fanboys won't like that.
And then there's the kicker: an image in the Spates Catalog of four guys who look an awful lot like the Ghostbusters impaled on trees with Idulnas's skull floating in the background. As Egon says, this is "bad".
See you next month for the exciting conclusion.