GHOSTBUSTERS Answer the Question “What If?”

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Ghostbusters Deviations (One shot)
Written by Kelly Thompson
Illustrated by Nelson Daniel.
March 16, 2016, Cover price $4.99

What if…

What if JFK hadn’t been assassinated? What if Admiral Kirk had never searched for Spock after his death? What if Steve Jobs hadn’t gone back to Apple? All valid questions that can be answered in alternate history stories.

Alternate history has always intrigued me, how one little step to the right can have huge ramifications, so I was curious when I opened my Comixology app and saw this title listed.

Courtesy IDW Publishing

 

IDW Publishing has put out a series of alternate history stories on five of their licensed comic books under the banner of “Deviations”. Each of these titles answers on simple “What If” question. What if Optimus Prime hadn’t died in Transformers: The Movie? What if Fox Mulder had been abducted instead of his sister on The X-Files?  In the case of the Ghostbusters, the question is, “What if they never crossed the streams?”

Our story begins thirty-one days after the Ghostbusters failed to stop Gozer by crossing the streams (Spoiler? No. This movie is decades old now) and Manhattan is now covered in marshmallow fluff thanks to its new ruler, The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, a.k.a. Gozer.

The Ghostbusters have spent the past month just trying to beat back the Marshmallow Man’s little cohorts, “the Mini Pufts”, one house at a time.

The residents of Manhattan despise the Ghostbusters for not saving the city and have taken to calling them “The GhostLosers”, a name they have grown to accept.

Feeling sorry for themselves, the guys go back to the firehouse where, after a rather one-sided battle with good old’ Stay-Puft, they have a heart to heart discussion. Gozer doesn’t want to be the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. He’s not scary, he has a permanent smile on his face and he’s as tall as a building. He wants a do-over. Now to get back in time to change history!

Ghostbusters Deviations has a good alternate history story, with good art and a decent plot. A plot that would have been great, had it been longer. The thirty-two page long story zips along way too quickly.  It would have been interesting to find out what else in the world changed because the Ghostbusters lost. Is this apocalypse world wide? What happened to Peck from the EPA? Why are there still people in New York City if this happened a month ago?

These questions are never answered… or really asked. Instead, we get a couple of jump cuts, which I find most unsatisfactory.  This story should have been longer by a couple of pages.  Just some nice quick exposition about how the world changed.

But other than that, the story is satisfactory.  A quick glimpse into what the world would have been like if the Ghostbusters had failed.

Kelly Thompson does a fairly good job writing the characters, the dialogue works well and the characters act like they should given the circumstances they find themselves in.

The art of Nelson Daniel is good. Characters are well defined with expressive faces. The Mini-Pufts are menacing and adorable as described (where they come from is very funny). The Ghostbusters are okay, a cross between the movie versions and the cartoon versions. Ray could be drawn a little better; in some panels, he looks a bit generic or unrecognizable.

Despite the problems I had with this book, I still found it an overall amusing read.

Ghostbusters Deviations is available at Comixology, comic book shops, the IDW Publishing website or wherever comic books are sold.

 

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Thomas Townley

Thomas spends hours playing games, reading books and comic books and watching genre tv. You should too.

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