The Ghostbusters aren’t afraid of no ghosts. But zombies are a whole different story altogether. When IDW’s Infestation hits the Ghostbusters, will Egon, Peter, Ray and Winston stand a chance? Find out, in Ghostbusters: Infestation #1!
“Well, we routinely deal with disembodied spirits – it’s only logical to expect the concurrent existence of dead bodies without spirits.”
Previously, at IDW: Realizing that zombies are now big business, IDW decided to inject a little undead action into some of their top properties. Infestation is a crossover that tells the story of the zombie plague from Zombies vs. Robots jumping into the multiverse, thereby infecting robots in disguise, a ruthless terrorist organization, and some redshirts. Oh yeah, and a few guys who wear unlicensed nuclear accelerators on their backs.
Although the Infestation storyline is occurring across four properties, each story has so far been self-contained aside from the bookending narrative. This lets the readers pick up which books they’re most interested in without having to worry about too much about the over-plot. Honestly, the “you got zombie in my Transformers/GI Joe/Star Trek!” experiment hasn’t been totally successful. The zombie element is shoehorned in without much concern for how this should affect the tone of the universe – the preceding stories play the premise a little too straight for it to work.
SO HOW IS THIS ONE?
Since Ghostbusters is the only one of the properties that’s really paranormally oriented, it is perhaps unsurprising that the Ghostbusters segment is the one that works best in the Infestation narrative. But credit must be given to Erik Burnham’s writing. It’s his dialogue and writerly instincts that makes this the most playful and successful entry in Infestation. There are a lot of good lines in this issue, and everyone acts and sounds like I remember from the movies. He even gives Janine a pretty bad ass moment. Burnham also meshes the zombie plague conceit into the overall Ghostbusters narrative much better than his compatriots on the other books by having the characters respond in perfectly in-character ways. Peter wisecracks, Winston takes it in stride, Ray is fascinated and Egon comes up with a novel solution that’s clever from both a reader and in-universe standpoint while being suitably aloof the entire time. And the final page reveal of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man promises an interesting conclusion.
EXPLODE THE HEAD KILL THE GHOUL
Kyle Holtz’s art is a little too rubbery for my tastes, with some of his characters’ facial features rendered lumpy and inconsistent from panel to panel. He also sometimes skimps on his backgrounds – it’s not a lot of fun looking at a talking head on a bare panel. But Holtz shines when it comes to drawing the zombies, whether they are exploding head zombies or melty cat zombies or regular run-of-the-mill zombies. The grotesqueries come out great which, when you’re reading a zombie, is what really matters anyways. Since the Ghostbusters proton streams tend to explode their undead antagonists, there’s plenty of splatter for everyone.
The Infestation storyline hasn’t made for must-read comics, but Ghostbusters: Infestation #1 is the best of the lot. It’s entertaining enough for casual fans to pick up, but still isn’t essential reading. And at $3.99, it is priced a little too high. That said, I’m interested enough to pick up the next issue.