Review – X-Files Conspiracy: Ghostbusters #1 (IDW Publishing)

XFiless_GB01_cvrAPublisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Erik Burnham
Artist: Salvador Navarro
Release Date: 22nd January 2014

Continuing where X Files Conspiracy #1 left off, The Lone Gunmen are on the hunt for clues to the true meaning of the creepy warning email they received from the future. Mentioned amongst the reams of documents and tabloid headlines that made up this infodump are the Ghostbusters, and so it’s off to New York for our conspiracy theorist heroes as they try to figure out how to stop the pandemic that is warned of in their time travelling email.

The three central characters – The Lone Gunmen – share a resemblance to their live action counterparts that is remarkable. Salvador Navarro has clearly spent a lot of time with reference photos in order to capture their likenesses and that time has paid off. However the use of references sometimes leads to some slightly strange, uncanny panels. At times it looks like the heads of the Lone Gunmen have been cut and pasted onto different bodies performing the action required for the story. It’s perhaps a minor quibble (the characters look too similar to the actors they’re based on – boo hoo!) but the weird quasi-photoshop looking figures can look stilted and unnatural at times, which is a shame as the artwork as a whole is very good.

This is best seen when comparing the two sets of licensed characters. While the Lone Gunmen look eerily close to the live action versions of themselves the Ghostbusters are more of an interpretation of the characters. So, while Peter Venkman isn’t the spitting image of Bill Murray he does look like a sarky pseudo-scientist. It also gives the ‘busters a bit more of a dynamic, unposed look which stands in contrast with the Lone Gunmen.

The writing and characterisation of Ray, Peter, Winston and Egon manage to communicate who each character is without them looking exactly like the original cast. Talking exactly like they do in the movies, Peter is full of withering sarcasm, Ray is a bubbling cauldron of nerdy enthusiasm, Winston is the blue collar Joe and Egon is so deeply involved in his research that he raises suspicions with the Lone Gunmen as to whether he’s actually an alien.

There’s not really much of a conspiracy to be found here, in fact there’s not much in the way of a plot either. What there is though, is a meeting of two different worlds and getting to see how the paranoid Gunmen deal with the nerdy Ghostbusters. Much like a giant marshmallow man in a sailor suit, it’s cute and sweet but lacking in any real substance or nutritional value.

Rating: 7/10.

The writer of this piece was: Joe Morrison
Joe is Freelance film journalist based in Glasgow.
You can also find Joe on Twitter.

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