Monday, June 13, 2016

COMIC REVIEW - Ghostbusters: Deviation (2016)

Earlier this year, IDW had this event called Deviations, which is a concept akin to the old "What If...?" comics that Marvel used to put out. The premise was to take an established event and see what happens if things turned out differently?

What if Spider-Man saved Gwen Stacy from death? What if the first Death Star wasn't destroyed? What if the Enterprise was successful in destroying the Borg ship? That sort of thing...

Nine times out of ten, the end result is usually "everybody dies" because that's what happens when hack writers are given an opportunity to craft an alternate take (or alternate reality, if you will) on an idea and they can't think of anything better to do with it. Sometimes, they don't. But more often that not, these "What If?" scenarios are good alternate takes that can make readers think and wonder. And they're usually good reads as well.

Ghostbusters Deviations is not one of those stories.

The idea was interesting; depict a world in which the Ghostbusters didn't cross the streams to defeat Gozer at the end of the first movie (and spoiler: they never do) and see how badly things turn out from there. The answer, of course, is that things turn out pretty bad; not just for the Ghostbusters, not for the city of New York, but also for the hapless reader who decided to fork over the five bucks to read this tripe. If you enjoy juvenile humor, poop jokes, and outright horrible characterizations, you'll probably get better quality material watching the Angry Video Game Nerd webseries than you would from this comic book. At least that will cost significantly less to suffer through. I don't mind stupid funny, but when even that's done poorly... good lord.

As I would flip through each page of increasing levels of utter banality, my hopes for this to be something worthwhile would slowly evaporate until all that was left was an utter contempt for human life. At some point, you have to feel bad for the Ghostbusters, who have some inklings of their original personalities but have somehow regressed into being complete and utter morons. Gozer, who was this menacing figure even when he/she/it/whatever was stuck in the Stay Puft form in the movie, has become an utter caricature of him/her/it/whatever-self that it's almost painful. The rest of the characters, along with the attempts to try and sneak in references to contemporary times to a story set in 1984, can kiss my ass because they're not worth mentioning.

I was initially not a particular fan of the art style - a sort of caricaturistic exaggeration of the cast of characters - but it's my understanding that this is the art style used in IDW's main Ghostbusters series, so in that regard, the art is consistent with what little I've seen of the main books. And eventually, it grew on me. I can only assume that the quality of the writing in those other books are a little better than what was featured here.

I can only imagine how diehard Ghostbusters fans have reacted to this book, but as someone with only a passing interest in the Ghostbusters franchise, I am flabbergasted by how bad this book turned out, especially when the premise has potential to be interesting and offer something worthwhile. Too bad that potential is wasted on pure crap.

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