Originally Published on Set The Tape
‘Darius Dun, the crime lord assassinated on the order of Splinter, is now a ghost in an interdimensional limbo. He learns about The Collectors, demons who can traverse dimensions at will and exist solely to capture and contain living beings – and as a torturous revenge, Dun summons The Collectos and sends them after Splinters family – the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
‘But all is not lost! Before Donatello is captured he makes his way to the home dimension of the Ghostbusters, looking for help. The boys in gray can free the Turtles, but The Collectors will chase the Turtles forever unless they’re stopped permanently.
‘And so, Ray Stantz concocts a happily complicated plan; he, Peter Venkman, and Winston Zedmore will take Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo and lead The Collectors on a wild goose chase through the dimensions – allowing Egon Spengler and Donatello to work up the gear needed to trap the demons permanently.’
Whilst the first issue of the new crossover event, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters 2, was all about set up, the second issue manages to not only pack in some great action, but spends a lot of time developing its characters and exploring their mental state.
The pairings actually work really well too, even when you think they probably wouldn’t. Egon and Donatello is a no brainer, put the two scientists together and it works great. Ray and Raphael is a pairing that surprised me, mainly because they’re a pair that are very different from each other. However, this does mean that Raph gets to be Ray’s straight man, which leads to some really fun moments.
A lot of the time we tend to see Raphael as the angry member of the Turtles, but here he’s shown in a different light, especially when Ray compares him to his nephew; ‘Heart on his sleeve, but so worried about so much that he just sounds angry all the time’. This is the kind of insight that can shift a lot of people’s thoughts on the character, but one we rarely get in the Turtles’ ongoing book, as his brothers would never talk to him like that.
Whist the pairing that surprised me worked, the obviously fun one of Venkman and Michelangelo actually threw me too when the characters shared a very sweet, emotional moment. Together in a world filled with anthropomorphic animal people, the two of them bump into (literally) a rat-man that reminds Michelangelo of Splinter. Instead of taking it in his stride, Michelangelo breaks down, crying on Venkmans shoulder.
Instead of the usual Venkman crap, he takes the time to listen to the hurting teenager, lets him cry and get it out of his system, then gives him some very well thought out advice as a psychologist. Much like Raphael, this is something that we needed for the character, but something that he could never do around the others, plus, it shows that Venkman isn’t just a complete jerk (which is sometimes hard to remember).
The last pairing of Leonardo and Winston packs in the most action, with the two of them arriving in a world that very much resembles the robot controlled apocalypse of Terminator (they even allude to the film in their dialogue). As with the others, we see another side of Leo here, one where he doubts his role as a leader, and his inability to stop Splinter from going down a darker road. Drawing on his past as a Marine, Winston gives the young man the support he needs, reassuring him that not only is it not his fault, but that he’s one of the greatest warriors that Winston has ever fought beside.
All of these interactions are hugely important for the Turtles, as they’d never have the chance to open up like this in their own ongoing book. This is one of the beauties of the crossover with Ghostbusters, not just because it combines two brilliant franchises, and gives us moments like this, but because these characters have a history together and can have these much more personal moments.
The book ends on an exciting note with The Collectors closing in on our heroes, and the promise of a ‘proton-powered ninja arsenal’ the book ends with a promise of exciting things to come. With a set up for more action to come, and some genuinely great character moments, the second issue of this crossover has turned out to be better than I was expecting.
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