Saturday, December 9, 2017

TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 #3

Publication date: November 15, 2017

Written by: Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz
Art by: Dan Schoening (pgs. 1, 10-15), Pablo Tunica (pgs. 2-5), Mark Torres (pgs. 6-9), Tadd Galusha (pgs. 16-20)
Colors by: Luis Antonio Delgado
Letters by: Shawn Lee
Edits by: Bobby Curnow
Published by: Ted Adams


In Purgatory, Darius looks in on the Prison Dimension and finds the Turtles have escaped.  He begins to grow furious, but Bronson assures him that the Collectors will recapture the Turtles in short order, though he tries to remind Darius of the price for contracting them.

In the animal world, that dimension's Ghostbusters (anthropomorphic turtles named Bill, Danny, Harold and Ernie (in absentia)) use their gel packs to incapacitate the "entity" Peter and "save" Michelangelo.  They haul Peter back to their Firehouse while Michelangelo follows on the rooftops.  Mikey sneaks down into the basement to free Peter from the gel before he's put into their Containment Unit, but he's attacked by Bill and Harold, who try to stun him with lasers.

In the Scandinavian afterlife, Raphael comes to and finds that his and Ray's bodies have been possessed by Viking ghosts ("Gjenganger") who are using them to feel the thrill of mortal combat again.  Now disembodied spirits, Ray and Raph first try to convince the Vikings to release their bodies willfully, and when that doesn't work, the two work together to force the Viking out of Ray's body.  They retake Ray's body, but now they're both stuck in it at the same time and have to figure out a way to exorcise Raph's body without damaging it.

Back in the Ghostbusters' dimension, Egon and Donatello are testing out their new equipment in a warehouse in Red Hook that Peter had leased for "fantasy camp".  Donnie enters a containment enclosure as Egon releases a ghost to attack him.  Donnie is able to fend it off with his proton-powered bo staff, but the Portal Trap fails and a spirit from the Containment Unit nearly escapes.  As Egon recaptures the ghost, he and Donnie exchange stories about their own deaths and out-of-body experiences and both admit that they feel survivor's guilt as a consequence.

In the Post-Apocalyptic world, Winston is about to open another dimensional portal when his control bracelet is stolen by a punk frog.  He and Leonardo chase the mutant amphibian, but it leads them into an ambush where three other punk frogs are waiting.  Leonardo and Winston easily beat up the punk frogs and get the control bracelet back, but the delay was too long and the Collectors arrive.

Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 #2.  The story continues in TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 #4.

*The Ghostbusters fantasy camp was established in Ghostbusters 101 #1.

*The purple ghost Donatello battles is the Mouth Critter from Trendmaster's Extreme Ghostbusters toyline.  That one's so obscure, user "Dwite Fry" had to clue me in via the Comments section.  Thanks!

*This issue was originally published with 3 variant covers: Cover A by Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado, Cover B by Tadd Galusha, and Cover RI by Chris Johnson and Mark Englert.


The format for this weekly miniseries actually falls somewhere in-between the formats of the previous two weekly miniseries.  Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything was a hectic mess where the narrative and artists changed every couple of pages and half the fun was just trying to keep track in the face of all the spontaneity.  Dimension X was a much more straight-forward anthology, wherein each issue was an isolated story by a different creative team.

TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 is sort of the best of both worlds.  Each issue tracks four different stories by four different artists, giving it the sort of anthology feel of Dimension X but without segmenting the narratives so much, while also giving it that "jam session" feel of Bebop & Rocksteady albeit with more coherent structure.

To talk about each story segment, I'll begin with the Peter/Mikey tale.  While the Collectors had previously taken on the identities of the Peoplebusters in the IDW comic, they didn't have much in common with the Peoplebusters who had appeared in the Real Ghostbusters cartoon beyond appearances.  The turtle-Ghostbusters in this story are the cartoon Peoplebusters in all but name and visual likeness.  They use back-mounted packs of "gel" (not ectoplasm) to capture humans in an alternate universe where they're either feared or outlawed.  Naming them all after the cast of the original Ghostbusters film was cute and the absence of Ernie would be another reference back to the cartoon Peoplebusters, who inexplicably lacked a Winston doppelganger (rectified by the IDW comics).  As someone who has already confessed to loving the Peoplebusters as villains, between the Collectors and the turtle-Ghostbusters it's like I'm getting DOUBLE the Peoplebusters in this mini.  Can't complain about that.

Pablo Tunica's art in this segment is as wild and lavishly detailed as what we saw from him back in "Toad Baron's Ball".  His character models are perhaps mushier than some people would like, but I dig the fluidity of his layouts and the expressiveness of his characters.  And I dunno what it is, but I LOVE exaggerated caricatures of Bill Murray.  When an artist gets all of his most out-of-proportion features right, like his widow's peak, saggy cheeks and bulbous nose, he ends up looking really, really funny.  Like a Swedish troll or something.

The Ray/Raph segment isn't really doing it for me, yet.  On paper, it sounds interesting: Ray and Raph are polarizing personalities and they have to work together in one body to stop a bunch of Viking ghosts and escape before the Collectors show up.  So I'm not sure what it is about this portion that hasn't grabbed me.  Each segment tries to fit in a "tender moment" between the Ghostbusters and the Turtles, and while others have done it gracefully, the bit where Ray peeks into Raph's memories and asks him why he feels so lonely came off a tad cringy.

Mark Torres' pencils seem to also be at odds with Delgado's colors, which may be why the end result is sort of awkward and uncertain of itself.  If you recall, Torres previously drew the excellent and often overlooked TMNT: Infestation 2 miniseries, which was horror-themed and boasted Hellboy-inspired colors by Jay Fotos.  Delgado's bright and glowing colors, while a superb fit for Schoening's animated art style, just don't align with Torres' pencils.  The pencils/inks look like they want to be dark and spooky while the colors try to make everything bright and whimsical.  It's a bit like watching a horror movie with the lights on.

The Winston/Leo segment got most of its story content covered last issue, as the two had their heart-to-heart.  That left this issue with a gratuitous nostalgia cameo from what I'm guessing are supposed to be new incarnations of the Punk Frogs.  I wasn't sure, hence why I used lower case on "punk frogs" in my summary, but the part of me that craves obvious answers insists that these unnamed mutant frogs in punk attire were intended to be THE Punk Frogs.  And if so, congratu-fucking-lations, IDW.  You are the first team of writers to utilize the Punk Frogs as ACTUAL PUNKS.  How many decades did that take?

Tadd Galusha's art gets the darker coloring treatment that I felt Torres should have gotten as well.  Did Galusha color his own pages?  I'm pretty sure Tunica colored his own pages, since the style is definitely his, so maybe Galusha did his own colors, as well.  Whatever the case, the atmosphere of the post-Apocalypse makes it through nicely and, layout-wise, I like how frequently Galusha's characters break through the panel borders.

For Egon/Donnie, their segment in this issue consists mostly of that heart-to-heart stuff I was talking about, though done with more grace than Ray's "Why are you so lonely, Raph" thing from a few pages earlier.  Be it by coincidence or by design, both characters have near-death (or death-death) experiences that they can talk to one another about and it makes for a pretty insightful conversation.  Egon isn't as comfortable as Donnie when it comes to talking about "feelings", but you can tell he wants to get some stuff off his chest and share with an individual who has more or less been in the same rare predicament he has.  The struggle in the dialogue is nicely staggered without feeling like Bendis-esque rambling.  Framing it with a test of the new equipment was a nice way to keep the visuals engaging through a sappy conversation, though Schoening's layouts weren't exactly his career's most inspired (pages consisting mostly of horizontal bars).

TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 is hitting some deeper ground than I was expecting it to, mixing a fun adventure full of nostalgic fanwank with some legitimate character exploration and growth.  Gratuitous corporate IP crossovers rarely put forth this sort of effort.