Friday, November 28, 2014

TMNT/Ghostbusters #2

Publication date: November 26, 2014

Written by: Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz
Art by: Dan Schoening
Colors by: Luis Antonio Delgado
Letters by: Neil Uyetake
Edits by: Bobby Curnow

"The Meeting of the Minds"


The Ghostbusters fire their proton streams at Chi-You, who asks his minions who these humans are.  They telepathically inform him of what the Ghostbusters are capable of and, in fear of being trapped again, Chi-You flees with his possessed humans (Casey among them).  The Ghostbusters next turn their attentions to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but after Egon takes some readings, he determines they aren’t supernatural and they all power down.  Winston breaks the ice, apologizing, and after some introductions, the Turtles agree to go back to the Firehouse in lieu of any better options.

Elsewhere, Chi-You decides that since he’s in a new dimension without his family to bother him, he’s free to directly attack the world and conquer it.  He lets his human minions go, as he finds them unsuitable for an army, but he keeps Casey in his thrall.  Chi-You orders Casey to show him where to find more warriors like himself.

Back at the Firehouse, everybody starts getting acquainted.  Donatello and Egon go at it, as Don doesn’t believe in ghosts while Egon doesn’t believe in extraterrestrials.  Michelangelo teases Slimer, against Ray’s advice.  Raph and Peter trade snarky barbs about how annoying and weird their comrades are.  Leo and Winston have a calm and frank discussion about what it takes to keep such unstable personalities in line as a team.  April, Janine and Kylie discuss the trials and tribulations of research, especially how different it is in this more supernatural dimension.

 At Madison Square Garden, Chi-You interrupts a hockey game and transforms all the players into monstrous warriors for his army.  He resists transforming Casey, though, as he intends to use him as a hostage when dealing with his friends.

And back at the Firehouse again, Ray shows Don down to the containment unit.  He wants to get started building another dimensional transporter to send them home and thinks the power source for the containment grid can double as a power source for the transporter.  Don takes a look at the equipment and agrees that it’s doable.

Suddenly, the alarm goes off and they all race to Janine’s desk.  She details the situation at Madison Square Garden and the Ghostbusters suit up.  The Turtles want to come too, since Chi-You still has Casey, but Egon recommends they stay put.  He says that being dimensionally out of sync has caused their energy signature, the key to getting them back home, to degrade.  If they don’t put all their energy into completing the transporter in the next three days, the signature will fade and they’ll never be able to trace their point of origin.

Despite that, the Turtles say they HAVE to save Casey.  Ray figures they shouldn’t go into battle with a demon unprepared, so he gives Donatello his spare proton pack.

Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT/Ghostbusters #1.  The story continues in TMNT/Ghostbusters #3.

*This issue was originally published with 6 variant covers: Regular Cover by Schoening and Delgado, blank Subscription Cover, Retailer Incentive Cover by Tristan Jones, Hot Topic Exclusive by Adam Gorham, Hastings Exclusive by Brent Peeples, and Comic Xposure Exclusive by Shannon Ritchie and Paris Alleyne.


The “characters crossing over fight at first then put aside their differences and team up” cliché lasted half a page, so Burnham and Waltz mercifully skipped that tired essential of the crossover story and got straight to the team-up.  I’m good with that, too, as what would a fight between the Ghostbusters and the Turtles have really looked like, anyway?  One side is a bunch of youthful, highly trained ninjas at their physical peak, the other side is a bunch of middle-aged men with laser guns.  The Turtles would have admittedly mopped the floor with the Ghostbusters, so fans of the paranormal exterminators were saved that embarrassment.

Instead, this issue was the “getting to know each other” phase and Burnham and Waltz indulge in all the similarities between the two casts.  It’s a lot of really fun stuff.  You’ve got Don and Egon trading barbs, as Don doesn’t believe in spirits and ghosts (something he’s gone on about in the IDW TMNT series) and Egon doesn’t believe in aliens (which Don, again, has had experience with).  Both are stubborn intellectuals, so it’s great to see these two brick walls hitting each other. 

You’ve got to wonder how much more convincing Donatello needs, though.  Splinter told him the story of their reincarnation in TMNT #5 and he refused to accept it.  The Fugitoid explained how the concept of the soul works in tandem with the teleportal technology in TMNT #20 and he still refused to accept it.  He learned more about his reincarnation origins via an ancient journal in TMNT: The Secret History of the Foot Clan #4 and he still refused to accept it.  He traveled backward in time and met himself in a previous life in TMNT: Turtles in Time #2 and he still refused to accept it.  Now he’s battling a demon alongside the fucking GHOSTBUSTERS and he won’t let it go.  Man, Donatello, at this point you’re just being a prick.

I think my favorite exchange was between Winston and Leo.  Leo sees a lot of himself in Winston: The guy who goes in first, takes charge, keeps his cool and is the all-around most level-headed and “normal” of the team.  So, naturally, he assumes Winston is the leader.  Much to his surprise, Winston isn’t, which actually raises a good point.  Why isn’t he?  Peter is the most charismatic, business savvy and egotistical, so it makes sense for him to at least *think* he’s the leader, but Winston’s boring, by-the-books, real world approach is sort of the glue that keeps all the insane characters together as a functioning unit.  In a way, he’s sort of the secret leader.

Burnham also works in a really great bit during the exchange between April, Kylie and Janine, when she asks why they still do research through musty old tomes and grimoires instead of transferring everything to a digital resource.  The idea that forbidden knowledge acts as a tether to supernatural entities, who WANT that knowledge to be spread because it gives them a foothold in the living world, thus encouraging the Ghostbusters to keep those sorts of resources inaccessible, is a great bit of world-building.  Even with the ongoing Ghostbusters title cancelled, Burnham is still expanding that universe in big and little ways.  It was tidbits like that which really held his Ghostbusters series together (which, again, you should check out).

Schoening sneaks in more Easter Eggs.  You’ve got human Bebop and Rocksteady at the hockey game and the Konami TMNT Arcade cabinet in the Firehouse.  I’m sure there are more little bonuses here and there, but I’ll have to look more thoroughly.  Not sure if the hockey game was a reference to the film “Slap Shot” or not.  It just… seems like the kind of reference Schoening would make; I can’t imagine he’d pass it up, but I could be totally off (I’m not that familiar with the film).

Anyhow, this issue was kind of a lot of fanwank, yeah.  Just the Turtles and the Ghostbusters palling around, ending with Donatello donning a proton pack.  But jeez, it’s a crossover between the Ninja Turtles and the Ghostbusters.  Indulging in fanwank is sort of the whole point of the exercise.

Grade: B (as in, “But Winston is too humble to admit to being the leader even if he was secretly the leader, so it all makes sense”.)