Ghostbusters: Infestation #1 (2011)
By: Tristan Jones on March 7, 2011  |  Comments ()  |  Share 
Cover Art
Publisher: IDW
Script: Erik Burnham
Art: Kyle Hotz
So, I'm sure many other people out there have wondered the same thing as I have - especially with zombies being the "in-thing" now and there being so much talk about a third Ghostbusters movie - what happens when you hit a zombie with a proton pack? Ghostbusters: Infestation gives us that answer, in hilariously gruesome detail: they 'splode. They 'splode reeeeal good.

IDW comics launched their company wide "Infestation" event last month, which sees the zombies from one of IDW's flagship titles Zombies VS Robots spilling out into various other dimensions. Other titles participating in the huge cross-over include Star Trek, Transformers and GI JOE, but so far none have really stood out as being particularly impressive. Admittedly, I didn't read the Star Trek one, but Transformers and GI JOE, while both serving their own titles sufficiently, didn't really do much for me. Zombies versus Transformers and GI JOE both would've played out very differently in my own mind (and have!), as both books felt more like they were still very much tied to their own continuities, rather than being slightly more accessible with their tie-in stories (which is something a cross-over story should do to an extent - you usually want to try and draw readers across to other books with these sorts of things). Anyway, the one book I was looking forward to most delivered one hundred percent!

Ghostbusters: Infestation #1 sets pretty much everything up in the first three pages, and what follows is some classic Ghostbusters material fused with some very macabre humour. A man crashes his car into one of the zombies that's spilled into our dimension. Panicking, he gets out to check on the guy, and ends up becoming the first victim to the increasing zombie horde. Cut to a few days later and we find the Ghostbusters dealing with poltergeists they can't hold due to a problem with their containment grid, and their supply of usable traps dwindling. While on one particular bust, Venkman and Stantz (Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd's characters, respectively) encounter the first of what I'm sure will be many zombies further down the road.

What follows on from that point is genuinely funny. I haven't read anything else written by Erik Burnham, but he manages to pretty much hit the nail on the head when it comes to the boys in grey. The dialogue for the most part is spot on, particularly Egon and Winston. Peter's dialogue feels a little forced in a couple of bits, but nothing that really hurts the moments or character.

There's a moment towards the end of the book that features their secretary, Janine, that's particularly well written.

The story progresses as well as one would hope. There aren't any kinds of flashy panel layouts, so the whole book flows really smoothly, and Hotz's art has a nice sense of direction to it all. I think ultimately - and without downplaying Burnham's writing - Hotz's art is the book's drawcard.

Hotz manages to perfectly balance the humorous and the horrifying, which is, in my mind, key to a good Ghostbusters book. I've read ones in the past that do too much of one and not enough of the other and they never feel right, but here, even things that would normally seem somewhat out of place in a Ghostbusters book/film fit right in, like the zombie curb stomping on the first page and each time a zombie gets hit with the Ghostbusters equipment (that's right, they don't just get hit with the proton packs). Even the zombie cat that shows up is more grotesque than one would expect, but it all works out. Burnham's script manages to balance pretty much every horrifying visual, which is exactly the way it should be with this sort of thing.

Hotz also manages to capture the essence of the four main characters perfectly. His visuals may be a little rubbery and exaggerated, but his presentation, combined with Burnham's own grasp on the characters is a true winning combination.

The last page of the book comes far too quickly, and while the reveal of a very familiar threat on the final page is enough to get anyone excited for the next issue, you kinda wish there was a little more to this issue than there was. Don't get me wrong, the book doesn't feel lacking in any way, it's just a very quick, fun read, and you want more.

In spite of the fact that Ghostbusters: Infestation is a part of the greater "Infestation" event, it's probably the most stand-alone of the ones I've read - you don't need to go and get all the other tie-ins, and from the looks of things, you don't really even need to go and get the main Infestation books that open and close the whole thing to read this (if you're curious, there's a small recap of things on the inside cover). At the end of the day, what you've got is some good old fashioned Ghostbusting combined with zombie grue. I will admit that I'm a little burnt out when it comes to the whole "zombie" thing and I know a lot of other people are starting to feel the same way, but this is definitely worth checking out.
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