In 2004, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the original Ghostbusters film, fledgling comic publisher 88MPH Studios released a brand new Ghostbusters comic book miniseries titled Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ghostbusters: LegionÃ¢â‚¬Â.Ã‚Â The book was to be the beginning of a grand Ghostbusters resurgence.Ã‚Â However, due to incompetence and fraud on the part of 88MPH Studio, the book floundered despite the art and story quality.Ã‚Â However, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll get to what killed the Ghostbusters after my review of the bookÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s actual content.
Ghostbusters: Legion is a sequel to the original Ghostbusters film, ignoring both Ghostbusters II and any of the cartoon shows.Ã‚Â Additionally, the events of the first Ghostbusters film took place in the year 2004, rather than 1984, allowing the title to be more modern.Ã‚Â Aside form the year change, everything happened exactly as it did in the movie.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been several months since the Ghostbusters battled Gozer and detonated the Stay Puft Marshmallowman, the general public thinks of the Ghostbusters mostly as a tourist attraction, a fad or just glorified exterminators.Ã‚Â Despite the existence of ghosts having been proven, nobody really cares.Ã‚Â The Ghostbusters, Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz and Winston Zeddemore, are going on with business as usual, busting New YorkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s spooks for a hefty price.Ã‚Â However, something even stranger is going on: the ghosts are becoming organized and seemingly more intelligent.Ã‚Â The ghosts are developing strategies to elude the Ghostbusters and are generally behaving more abnormal than usual (such as robbing multiple banks at one time).Ã‚Â This all has something to do with escaped mental patient, Michael Draverhaven, who once worked with the Ghostbusters during their college days (before they became the Ghostbusters).
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to hand it to author Andrew Dabb, he had the GhostbustersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ personalities down pat.Ã‚Â All the characters acted true to form, the dialogue was as witty as ever; he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t miss a beat.Ã‚Â The story was rather interesting; I believe this is the first time you ever got to see the Ghostbusters during their often-talked about college days.Ã‚Â In the movie and throughout the television series, Egon, Ray and Peter would routinely mention their time in college together, but there were never any flashbacks.Ã‚Â Shoehorning Draverhaven in as the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lost GhostbusterÃ¢â‚¬Â was a bit convenient, but he made for a decent villain.Ã‚Â He was a clairvoyant who was injured during an experiment on campus, resulting in his inability to shut the voices of the dead out of his brain, causing him to go nuts.Ã‚Â Of course, he comes back for revenge and all that.Ã‚Â Draverhaven had one good speech during the climax, where he mentions how the ghosts fear the Ghostbusters, and even tell Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ghostbusters storiesÃ¢â‚¬Â.Ã‚Â Rather amusing.Ã‚Â His defeat was the weakest part of the story, though.
There are a few subplots going on, one for each character (accept Winston, since no writer outside the cartoon has ever been able to figure out what to do with him).Ã‚Â JanineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and EgonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s is, of course, their budding romance.Ã‚Â Janine tries various means to get Egon to notice her and he remains blissfully ignorant of her affections.Ã‚Â Amusing, but nothing we havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seen before (save for perhaps the risquÃƒÂ© nature of her attempts to attract him).Ã‚Â Peter is trying to keep a relationship going with Dana Barret, but his natural lack of a serious disposition combined with his hectic work schedule is causing large amounts of strain.Ã‚Â In comes Louis Tully, who has cashed-in on his fame from the Gozer incident and become a millionaire.Ã‚Â He appears to have some sort of stalker obsession with Dana and is trying to worm his way between her and Peter.Ã‚Â A stark difference in characterization from the second movie and the TV series, where he was presented as the wannabe-Ghostbuster.Ã‚Â Then thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ray, who is depressed that nobody takes the Ghostbusters as serious scientists and that thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an escaped mental patient out to kill him (Ray inadvertently caused DraverhavenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s injury).Ã‚Â Ray mood-swings between his happy-go-lucky self and this new emo version.Ã‚Â ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s alright but a bit forgettable.
The artwork can range from ugly to excellent at the drop of a hat.Ã‚Â Steve KurthÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pencils look good, particularly the weapons, vehicles and environments; they look like they jumped right out of the movie.Ã‚Â He tends to draw people a bit too ugly and deformed for my tastes, particularly Janine.Ã‚Â He doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t always draw them that way, though.Ã‚Â The inks and colors provided by Pierre-Andre Dery, Chuck Gibson and Ã¢â‚¬Å“BlondÃ¢â‚¬Â really outshine KurthÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pencils, adding some fantastic atmosphere (the ghosts are all luminescent like Christmas lights).
There are a few in-jokes and cameos here and there that you might want to look out for.Ã‚Â Slimer, while unnamed, appears at the climax of the book as one of DraverhavenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ghostly slaves.Ã‚Â In the second issue, Egon messes his hair up and it forms into the classic Ã¢â‚¬Å“Dairy Queen swirlÃ¢â‚¬Â from EgonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Real Ghostbusters design.Ã‚Â In one of the few equipment designs that deviated from the movies, the Containment Unit appears as it did in the cartoon series.Ã‚Â ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also some other stuff I noticed, but that just might be because I was looking too hard, like Peter wearing an outfit in his Real Ghostbusters colors at the beginning of issue one, or the Phantom from the Real Ghostbusters episode Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sticky BusinessÃ¢â‚¬Â appearing when the legion of ghosts lay siege to New York.
Overall, the book itself is a really cool, really spot-on Ghostbusters adventure.Ã‚Â It showed so much promise and it could have been one of the better books released during the whole Ã¢â‚¬Å“80Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s revivalÃ¢â‚¬Â fad.Ã‚Â Sadly, the imbeciles running 88MPH Studio couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get their act together and they narrowly finished the miniseries, leaving little hope for the advertised on-going series.
Each issue was delayed several months past cover date.Ã‚Â Though it was advertised as a monthly title, it was released quarterly.Ã‚Â By the time the next issue came out, nobody but the hardcore fans cared anymore.Ã‚Â There was discent amongst the staff, as Sebastian Clavet (head of 88MPH) was having trouble paying his employees.Ã‚Â Eventually, it all ended with a terrible scam where Sebastian took hundreds of pre-orders for the hardcover collection of Legion on Halloween, 2005, then shut his website down and ran away with the cash.Ã‚Â The hardcover was never produced.Ã‚Â Pathetic.
So, how can you read this comic?Ã‚Â Well, a trade paperback collecting the book was released by Titan Books, but only in the UK.Ã‚Â You can order it off Amazon UK, though.Ã‚Â The individual issues, each with a ton of variant covers, can be found on eBay or in back issue bins at your local comic ship.Ã‚Â Being only 4 issues-long, it shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be too costly a venture.Ã‚Â IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d recommend it to anyone who ever liked Ghostbusters.Ã‚Â A shame the property and creative team hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been hired by a real comic book publisher.Ã‚Â If that had happened, the on-going might have actually happened.Ã‚Â As it stands, a great look at what could have been.