Ghostbusters #7 Review: The Unflappable Venkman

What happens when a spirit-curse possesses Pete Venkman? Here's a hint - ghosts aren't as funny as Bill Murray.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Ghostbusters #7

The Erik Burnham/Dan Schoening take on Ghostbusters for IDW has been a light, fun read that manages to do some decent justice to the comedy banter we all love so much from the original film, once you acclimate yourself to Schoening's extremely cartoony style. With Ghostbusters #7, though, it takes one more step up toward the realm of really cool comics by showing just how deep Pete Venkman's recklessness truly runs.

In a haunted theme park in Schenectady, Venkman has been possessed by a nasty spirit, leaving Ray, Winston and Egon to try and scramble to get the civilians to safety while trying to figure out how to fight Demon Venkman without hurting him – not to mention the giant slime monster and the evil stuffed monkeys. However, inside his own head, Venkman sits down for a casual chit-chat with the ghost in his own subconscious and manages to drive the jerk out the same way he drove Dana Barrett away – by being insufferably smug and unflappable.

There's not a moment where Venkman is afraid of what's happening to him, which is a point of frustration for the ghost-jerk, who's trying to get him to that point of feed off of that fear. Instead, Pete illustrates to those of us that remember him as a "very poor scientist" that his degree is actually in psychology, and the battle of wills that ensues between the nasty nether-thing and the erstwhile Bill Murray is amusing and fun to watch unfold. Burnham's got a solid feel for what makes Ghostbusters Ghostbusters, and it's a lot of clever snark like that. It's not quite on par with the film, but what is? it's a very respectable effort that's lively enough to keep us entertained.

Schoening's art looks like it was designed for this to be an actual animated cartoon. It has hints of The Real Ghostbusters, particularly with Janine, but while his monsters are really whacked out and cool, it's really hard to get used to how he draws the Ghostbusters, and Venkman in particular. Most every male has an elongated face that would work for animation, but isn't really endearing in comics. Venkman looks like he's just a dyejob and a sunburned nose away from being a Bozo The Clown. It takes a lot of getting used to, and seven issues in, I still don't like it much, but I've grown to accept it. Or to at least deal with it.

Overall, this is still a fun little series worth reading, so long as you ain't 'fraid o' no ghosts.