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Ghost Busted: Ghostbusters    by Nathan Johnson & et al order for
Ghost Busted
by Nathan Johnson
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 are classic movies from the '80s. Shortly after the movie releases, a cartoon series or three came out; I myself was a huge fan of The Real Ghostbusters. This love for the cartoon may explain why I was a little hesitant in accepting some of the chapters in the Ghostbusters' latest incarnation, Ghostbusters: Ghost Busted by a variety of American manga artists. Unlike most mangas featuring different artists handling each chapter, Ghost Busted has a story arc that flows through the middle four chapters, with only the first and last stories being stand-alones.

In the first tale, The Theater of Pain, the Ghostbusters are called in to unearth the cause of a haunting in a Broadway theatre. While Matt Yamashita's tale is well developed, I felt this was not the right choice to open a new Ghostbusters series. First, it starts with only three of the four Ghostbusters for the first half of the story, Winston being conspicuously absent. Egon is easily recognizable, although his personality is a little lacking. But what really threw me is Ray looks closer to Peter and Peter looks closer to Ray, although Peter's personality clearly conveys who he is, while Ray is not very Ray-like. On top of all of this, Maximo V. Lorenzo's rough art makes it seem more scary than comedic, and Ghostbusters is first and foremost a comedy.

The next four chapters - all written by Nathan Johnson and mostly illustrated by Michael Shelfer (although Nate Watson is the artist on We're Ready to Believe You) - is the meat of this manga, where the Ghostbusters we all know and love start to really emerge. Determined to get his revenge on the foursome for ruining his career, Jack Hardemeyer calls up an army of undead and begins capturing Ghostbusters one by one. In these four chapters, the Ghostbusters come back big time, with their full personalities, comic timing, and the reemergence of snappy secretary Janine. Watson creates a Ray who could never be confused with any other character, although Shelfer's Ray is only recognizable with the other three Ghostbusters, and has one panel of Egon that could easily be mistaken for the comic strip Doonesbury. Both artists capture the humor before the horror.

The final chapter, The Devil Wears Nada, is Ghostbusters shojo-style. In Yashimata's second story attempt, the personalities of the characters come across better and the laughs are loud and clear. Chrissy Delk's cutesy, yet action-packed, artwork really brings the comedy to life, creating the most off-the-wall tale in the volume. Based on a feeling from Ray, the Ghostbusters investigate the hottest new clothing designer in New York, only to find that the clothes are squeezing and brainwashing the wearers. To save the women from becoming slaves to fashion, the Ghostbusters must fight a giant heel named Heel and bring their own sense of style to the fashion scene.

While Ghostbusters: Ghost Busted started a little shakily and hardly anything like the movies or cartoon series, it soon hit its stride and ended with a burst of laughter.

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