Ghostbusters: Deviation Writer: Kelly Thompson Art: Nelson Daniel Letters: Neil Uyetake Publisher: IDW
In the spirit of Marvel’s “What if” and DC’s “Elseworlds” series, IDW’s Deviation series puts a twist upon some of our favorite franchises. It’s concept is to change the outcome of a pivotal point in the plot to design an alternate universe. This one of course is featuring a popular franchise created in the 1980’s that has been in the spotlight lately due to another Hollywood reboot, Ghostbusters.
To cross the streams or not cross the streams? That is the question that sets course the fate of the world in the 1984 classic. Spoilers, they cross the streams and the Ghostbusters are able to defeat the evil ancient god, Gozer from laying waist to Earth. What if the Ghostbusters didn’t cross the streams of their ectopacks and in effect, weren’t able to defeat Gozer’s Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? What if the their was a marshmallow filled apocalypse? What if the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man wasn’t happy about being stuck in an enormous body? What if the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and the Ghostbusters teamed up?
This is a brilliant concept that had so much promise and potential, unfortunately though this one shot comic is misses in delivering. The concept promises to confront the idea of consequences where the action of crossing the streams doesn’t take place and it never explores this idea. We only get a few brief glimpses of this marshmallow brought about apocalypse. Writer Kelly Thompson instead digresses from showing us this world to throwing as many gags at the reader as possible and thats the main problem.
The great charm of the original Ghostbusters film is that it was a horror/comedy and this comic is entirely focused on the comedy aspect. It completely lacks horror, tension, and suspense. It ignores world building, delves slightly into character motivation, and instead feels like a mad rush to get as much humor out there as this 24 page comic can hold. Which is the source of another problem.
The comic is too short to flesh out this story and really delve into the potential that this concept has. It would’ve been better suited for say a 3 issue mini-series but if you are going to tell it in a one shot, make it a giant sized issue. When holding the comic it is deceptive because it looks and feels like a hefty sized issue but there are nearly 20 pages of back art and advertisement. This comic is stamped at $4.99 and there is simply not enough material in this book to justify that price tag.
With the abundance of negatives in this book there are a few positives. The humor, while largely a miss when featuring only the Ghostbusters themselves, does get some chuckles when involving the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The opening pages introduce what appears to be his minions but the payoff as to what they actually are does call for a haha. Nelson Daniel’s artwork style does emphasize the vibe that Thompson is going for here. It’s just a matter of whether or not you’ll enjoy this vibe within the Ghostbusters universe.
Ghostbusters: Deviations is the perfect example of when genius concepts are met with poor execution. The comic misunderstands where the charm of this beloved franchise comes from and the completely comedic angle it’s going for is unfortunately hit or miss throughout. It fails for the most part to flesh out it’s own world and the $4.99 price tag isn’t warranted. The artwork does a solid job of capturing the tone of the writing but again, is this the type of tone you want for the Ghostbusters? Best to save your money for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Deviation where the turtles join Shredder. Hopefully the execution meets the potential.
Score: 1.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach