Originally published on Set The Tape
‘When urban miners discover what appears to be a centuries-old, man-made chamber 600 feet below the streets of New York City, they unwittingly unleash an unnamed entity with designs on dominance… an entity that will soon answer to the name Samhain.’
The latest Ghostbusters annual delivers a fun packed, double sized adventure that works brilliantly as a stand-alone story, but also dies into the ever expanding Ghostbusters multi-verse, and sets up an upcoming event series.
The story itself is quite simple, an ancient entity is released and plans to open a portal that will bring about hell on Earth. It’s something that the franchise has done before in the past, yet continues to be able to deliver in new and exciting ways.
The mysterious chamber discovered bellow the streets of New York instantly brings to mind the rivers of slime in Ghostbusters 2, yet doesn’t retread the same territory, instead introducing the ghostly creature Samhain, a cross between a ragged jester and a pumpkin.
With the close ties to Halloween (the Gaelic festival of Samhain being the basis for what would become Halloween in modern times) the pumpkin head design is a little on the nose, but by incorporating small details such as plantlike, organic body, along with the set of human looking teeth within the glowing jack-o-lantern, means that the creature is very visually striking, and jumps out of the page.
Samhain is used to good effect across a relatively short story, with the mystery around what it’s true name is, it’s ability to escape from containment traps, and the ticking clock to find out a solution in time to stop its plans, all make what could be a very boring monster a bigger threat. Our heroes can’t just come in with more proton packs or new tech to defeat the monster, they have to use their brains to find a solution.
Surprisingly, it’s Kylie, rather than one of the scientists, who manages to find the key to defeating the monster. Something that makes a nice change to the lead characters being the ones to save the day.
As this is an annual, however, things can’t be solve that easy, and as such the Ghostbusters need to call upon help to defeat an army of ghosts, calling in multiple teams of Ghostbusters from across the multi-verse, including the Answer the Call, Real Ghostbusters, and the Extreme Ghostbusters groups.
The surprise appearance of these additional teams gives the final fight a bigger sense of scale and excitement. Yes, all of the teams are just firing proton packs and throwing traps, but it’s always fun to see different versions of the Ghostbusters working together.
A relatively short story that makes good use of pacing and mystery, and managing to include a finale that feels much bigger in scope, the Ghostbusters Annual 2018 is a great example of how great the Ghostbusters comics can be, and nicely sets up for the Ghostbusters Crossing Over event coming in March.
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