You Missed That Issue?! Mars Attacks Ghostbusters
So this year, I put out four editions of “You Missed That Issue?!” Three of those were a part of IDW’s Attacks
series. Of the three, one was Dinosaurs Attacks
, and the other two were from the all too familiar Mars Attacks
IDW series. For those of you who don’t know, “You Missed That Issue?!” is a recurring type of article here at Entertainment Fuse in which we take a more or less obscure or oddly notable comic and subject it to an extended review.
Well, in searching for an odd comic that brought in 2013 with an early January release, I stumbled upon Mars Attacks Ghostbusters
. What better way to conclude the year than to show off the strange start it had in the world of comics? Oh—you missed that issue?! Well this is Mars Attacks Ghostbusters.
When I last reviewed a Mars Attacks IDW
title, it was Mars Attacks Judge Dredd
, and I remember not being particularly impressed. Before that I had reviewed Mars Attacks Popeye
, and while both had their ups and downs, I just could not shake the fact that in both comics, the Martians weren’t in control of themselves and acting on their own behalf. Instead, in Mars Attacks Judge Dredd
, they were under the control of a group of mobsters, in Mars Attacks Popeye
, they had been summoned by the Sea Hag. In both, I concluded that Mars had not actually attacked, and that the Martians had taken a secondary role to the Judge Dredd
narratives, respectively. Does Mars Attacks Ghostbusters
suffer from a similar—well—false promise?
To put it bluntly, I’d say no. Not only are the Martians operating on their own tyrannical behalf, but they also come in a form that the Ghostbusters can manage. If armies of Martians showed up ready to attack, who ya gonna call? I don’t know, but you definitely aren’t calling the Ghostbusters—that’s a given. So how do they reconcile this?
According to the story, in 1938, Anson Bell put out a broadcast that came to be known as War of the Worlds, in which he pretended that aliens from outer space were attacking New Jersey. Sound familiar? That’s because it actually happened, but they changed Orson Welles’ name to Anson Bell—don’t ask me why. Well, according to the story, a Martian scout ship intercepted this farce broadcast, and they came to see what all the fuss was about.
Long story short: they found nothing, tried to leave in a hurried outrage, but crash-landed back on earth and were wedged deep into the ground, only to be forgotten for roughly eighty years. Their resting place had become an unintended Martian burial ground. What became of the Martians themselves? Well, they became ghosts, of course.
It is exceedingly obvious what happens next, so instead of boring you with an unnecessary play-by-play, I’ll get to the meat of this review. I love the setup. The most logical means of having Martians do battle with the Ghostbusters was reached. This time around, I didn’t feel as if the Martians took a backseat to the other half of this hybrid narrative; each was given their fair share of depth—Martians actually
were attacking Earth this time, without any interference from a third-party native of Earth.
Then again, there’s more to a story than setups and premises. Perhaps one of the most beloved aspects of The Ghostbusters
is its humor. Ray, Egon, Peter, and Winston have a dynamic that few other teams have managed to establish. Not only is each funny in their own right, but together they complement each other’s wit and occasional cynicism in a way that has catapulted the popularity of their exploits to the top of multiple mediums and formats.
The weakest link of Mars Attacks Ghostbusters
is precisely that dynamic. The jokes they make aren’t funny. Not only that, but those jokes are forced into nearly every situation. Ghostbusters
has always proudly straddled genres, from action to comedy with a touch of horror. This whole comic felt like a really bad comedy. A good Ghostbusters
comic knows when to be serious and suspenseful, and while Peter does indeed tend to joke during those moments, it is seldom something as dull as “well that’s just rude.”
On the whole, Erik Burnham, writer, did a pretty good job. These Mars Attacks IDW
crossover comics pose a particular sort of challenge. Not only do they typically begin and end in one issue, but the writer is tasked with finding the right balance between both stories. I believe Burnham found that balance in ways that Mars Attacks Popeye
and Mars Attacks Judge Dredd
could not. So, hat’s off to Erik Burnham!
I thought that Jose Holder’s artwork was the perfect match for this story. With Martian ghosts throwing cows at the gang, and giant nutcracker ghosts that shoot nuts from their mouths, the style had just the right amount of slapstick; it was excellently caricatured. And the Martians looked like their typical selves without appearing out of place in the world of Ghostbusters
I wonder if there will be more Mars Attacks IDW
titles in 2014. 2013 was littered with them and quite frankly, I can’t believe I missed those issues! Luckily, they weren’t missed for long, and I hope you’re as relieved as I am to be aware of them. Mars Attacks Ghostbusters
is up there with the best of them, giving the Martians back their true purpose, which is to conquer and destroy our planet. I wouldn’t have it any other way.