Indie Comics Spotlight – Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #1, Hack/Slash: Resurrection #1, and Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland Return of Hook One-Shot


By: Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #1

Dealing with the paranormal requires a certain set of skills. Patience is one of them, as is an ability to compartmentalize fear. IDW Publishing has both of the above and more in Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #1. The issue is written by Kelly Thompson, illustrated by Corin Howell, colored by Valentina Pinto, and lettered by Neil Uyetake.

On a routine house call to dispose of a simple Class III spook, Abby, Patty, Erin, and Holtzmann encounter a truly terrifying Class VII that appears to be feeding on fear. Able to create illusions that prey on their greatest fears, and with designs on turning the world into its own nightmare dimension (‘natch!) our ladies may have finally met their match!

One of the most enduring facets of the Ghostbusters is the repertoire amongst the team and Thompson does a great job of continuing the chemistry from the most recent movie. Thompson knows that each member of the team brings their own personality to the table and she relies on each character effectively to emphasize different notes in the plot. And Thompson’s dialogue is very good in conveying those personalities, offering snappy retorts throughout that keep the mood light and entertaining. The plot itself is pretty straightforward and Thompson eases the reader into things by getting them up to speed with all the characters and happenings. Thompson paces things pretty evenly through the issue in not forcing the events to go any faster or slower than they need to go.

Howell illustrates the characters very closely to their film counterparts, making it pretty easy to discern who’s who amongst the members. There’s something playful in Howell’s approach that underscores the generally entertaining nature of the Ghostbusters. Howell’s style brings the characters to life with angular physiques that cut against very clean backgrounds and settings. Each of the characters is also very expressive as Howell beautifully brings their personalities to life through their reaction to certain events. The book boasts vibrant colors courtesy of Pinto that allow things like the Ecto-Blasters to really pop.

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #1 offers a very enjoyable and lighthearted take on the next wave of Ghostbusters. The new team are faced with what seems like just another day for the Ghostbusters in terms of a malevolent spirit seeking to enslave the world. Thompson’s script is engaging, entertaining and boasts the right amount of absurdity. Howell’s illustrations are ideal representations of the characters they’re inspired by. Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #1 embraces its ability to be fun and offers the reader to come along for the ride.

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #1 is available now.

Hack/Slash: Resurrection #1

“So, I don’t really hunt monsters anymore. Not real one at least.”

Retirement is something of a dream, but it doesn’t necessarily suit everyone. Take Cassie Hack, for instance. She’s put the days of hunting monsters behind her and traded them for a quieter speed, but in Hack/Slash: Resurrection #1 from Image Comics, she’s looking for something more. The issue is written by Tini Howard, illustrated by Celor, colored by K. Michael Russell, and lettered by Crank!

Cassie Hack has been living off the grid, but when a new monstrous threat arises to torment promiscuous teens, it’s time for Cassie to pick up the baseball bat once again! Gory, sexy, twisted, and funny…HACK IS BACK!

Cassie Hack is one of those characters who’s unapologetic about their actions and that’s something not lost on Howard. In Hack/Slash: Resurrection #1, for instance, Cassie is content to loaf around a trailer in the middle of nowhere with her cat and not worry about the glamour of it all. Howard works that mentality into the issue extremely well, while at the same time getting the reader up to speed as to where Cassie is at in her life at the present. Most of Howard’s approach in the issue is to do just that while simultaneously presenting a couple of potential scenarios for her to contend with in the near future. And while a good chunk of Howard’s dialogue is Cassie talking to herself, it’s still extremely effective in letting the reader in on Cassie’s current state of being.

The artwork by Celor has something of an edge to it. The characters are rendered with relatively sharp angles and harsh curves – both of which could easily describe Cassie herself. And it would be easy to write off the one of many shots of Cassie’s scantily-clad physique as gratuitous, but then you realize Celor is really just tapping into the character of Cassie Hack (who just doesn’t care). The panel layout is extremely rigid and does bring some sense of formality to the character and issue. Russell’s colors are paled throughout the issue and allow the somewhat macabre nature of the book to shine through.

Hack/Slash: Resurrection #1 plays itself as something of a reset for the character even if it’s not necessarily billed as a total reset. Cassie just wants to be left alone and not deal with fighting monsters, but by the end of the issue, it looks likes others don’t really agree with that mentality. Howard’s script is entertaining and embraces solitude. Celor’s illustrations are very emphatic in their presentation and rendering of Cassie. Hack/Slash: Resurrection #1 puts Cassie in a semi-retired situation that she’s sub-consciously itching to break free of.

Hack/Slash: Resurrection #1 is available now.

Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland Return of Hook One-Shot

“We have so many plans in store for you.”

Neverland has typically been pitched as a great place to go as a youth. A lot has changed in the exotic locale in Zenescope’s version, what with Peter Pan being a vampire and all that. Still, Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland Return of Hook One-Shot seeks to revisit one of the darker corners of the land. The issue is written by Dave Franchini, illustrated by Jason Muhr, colored by Bobby Bevard, and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

Neverland was once a beautiful realm of imagination and adventure, before the tyrant, a vampire-like being named Pan, who fed on the life force of children, filled it with fear and servitude. Pan was defeated by Nathan Cross, a former victim of Pan’s evil. And with that defeat, Neverland returned to its former glory. Now a new evil is rising, and Cross is being pulled back into the realm that once haunted his very existence.

In Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland Return of Hook One-Shot, Franchini looks to transition Neverland from one state to the next. Nathan’s return to Neverland isn’t entirely planned and Franchini uses that as a means of relating the shock of the protagonist to the reader. Franchini’s dialogue throughout the issue feels a little cliché at times, and somewhat undercuts the implied emotions of the characters. And because the issue is a one-shot, the pacing is very erratic. Nathan goes from his home to Neverland back home again all within the span of the one-shot, but because Franchini has to juggle other elements of the plot, the trip sort of gives the reader whiplash.

Muhr’s art style very much fits within the Zenescope look of things. Characters are actually pretty expressive in many panels as Murh affords them facial expressions that are very appropriate for the situation. Wendy in particular is illustrated by Murh in a way that really underscores to the reader the unpredictable world those characters inhabit on a daily basis. Panel layout plays it safe for the most part by sticking to a grid, but Murh does mix in a few overlays here and there. Bevard’s colors are bright and do well in emphasizing the vileness of the antagonist’s lair.

Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland Return of Hook One-Shot doesn’t exactly tread new ground, but it does establish a new direction for its characters. Nathan and Wendy are press-ganged back into Neverland before escaping and a new villain is arising. Franchini’s script is pretty straightforward and effective despite some pacing issues. Muhr’s illustrations are simple yet effective in rendering the intensity of Neverland. Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland Return of Hook One-Shot is a pretty quick read that explores one of the lesser traveled realms in the Grimm Fairy Tales universe.

Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland Return of Hook One-Shot is available now.

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