With the latest chapter of Mass Hysteria!, writer Erik Burnham embraces everything that made us fall in love with the franchise all those years ago. The humor is sharp and frequent, the villains are a huge threat, and the teamwork results in some incredibly vivid fun. But the writer then adds new and exciting twists to the narrative to prevent it from feeling like it's just more of the same.
You can really tell Burnham has a whole lot of love for the franchise. When I read Dr. Peter Venkman's dialogue, I could actually hear them as Bill Murray's voice in my head. They sound just like lines he'd deliver, and that alone is commendable. To make matters even more enjoyable, the witty Venkman plays a big role in this issue and has more than a few lines that made me burst into laughter. Even though some characters feel like they're outside of the spotlight, this is addressed in a pretty funny way and, in the end, everyone is technically needed and has at least one moment to speak up.
The developments in this chapter feel like something you'd see in one of the classic movies -- something which is blatantly implied by the characters -- but then Burnham avoids the cliche and makes good use of the panels to drop a strong cliffhanger. You can't say he didn't warn you with the title of the issue, after all. There's one scene that's just oozing with sci-fi goodness, too. The writer really has done a terrific job making this story duplicate the lighthearted nature of the Ghosbusters movies.
I'm a big fan of artist Dan Schoening and colorist Luis Antonio Delgado's work with this series. They're able to capture the likeness of these characters with a more cartoonish style and the amount of effort that goes into the locations is legitimately impressive. Not only do I admire the character work and attention to the settings, but some of the panel layouts and the way they're focused do a solid job complimenting Burnham's script. Delgado then does a stellar job filling these panels with color and really gets to show-off when the group encounters Tiamat. Overall, this is a delightfully animated book.
Minor gripes: it's something you see in movies all the time, but in comics, it feels a little odd to have characters standing around and talking for multiple panels about their plan while the villain just stands around and does nothing. And as much as I love Schoening's pencils, I can't help but get distracted when a character with a relatively smooth face has noticeably bony and wrinkly hands. Although, this only stood out during a later scene on the rooftop.
IDW's GHOSTBUSTERS continues to prove one thing: if a third movie ever does move forward, they really need to bring on series writer Erik Burnham as a consultant. This book has renewed my love for this franchise -- a franchise I only enjoyed as a youngling -- and this issue is a perfect example of why I'm so captivated by it. It's funny, full of spectacle, and has praiseworthy artwork that pulls you right into all of the chaos. I'm definitely excited to see what happens next.