IDW Comics has been leading the way for interesting crossovers between iconic properties for a while now (something DC Comics is starting to really get into more these days). One of my personal favorite series from the publisher has been Ghostbusters, as it blends elements from the first two films, video game, and expanded elements into one cohesive, “official” continuity. In short, readers get a little bit of everything, and what IDW brings into this continued universe “counts” as part of the lore.
So another 1980’s icon was added to the overall story: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Whereas Ghostbusters led the first half of the 1980’s, TMNT took over the last half and beyond. For that reason, the two properties are a perfect match, as a quartet of quirky heroes work together to save the city. Whether its ninjas or ghosts depends on their specialty. For the reader, it’s all good fun.
The story starts with the TMNT version of New York. After a god of war named Chi-You is banished in the prologue, the story fast forwards to the latest teleportation experiment of Donatello and his partners, Harold Lillja and April O’Neil. After convincing the team to go on a harmless test run, the Turtles, April, and Casey Jones are pulled into the Ghostbusters’ version of New York, complete with a change in art style.
Of course, this means that the two teams have to meet up, battle the “big bad”, and get the Turtles back to their home. What results is a fun ride between the two ’80’s icons.
The dialogue in the Ghostbusters comics has always been humorous with a lot of spiritually based terminology. Here, the two cultures collide. The Turtles have fought aliens. The Ghostbusters have fought ghosts. Neither believes in the other entity. What results is a lot of scientific explanation between Egon, Ray, and Donatello, a lot of side snark from Raphael and Peter, Leonardo and Winston sizing up the overall situation, and Michelangelo being more than eager to ride in the Ecto-1 while trying on a proton pack and jumpsuit. The results feel like a guilty pleasure.
Of course, there are plenty of Easter Eggs found in the pages for both fans. The Ghostbusters comics are notorious for sneaking in a million little references in its pages making each issue worth a second read to spot all of the stuff. And now, it’s laced with TMNT gems, both visually and in its dialogue.
Of course, story is always the biggest factor, and while its a straightforward story with an ending that you probably know how all of this will turn out, it’s still enjoyable watching the two franchises blend with each other and get turned on their heads. The conflict and resolution is satisfying, and the end results leave room for a sequel, if they so choose. In the meantime, the conclusion has opened up further opportunities for cross-dimensional craziness, leading to another fun GB crossover down the line.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters keeps all the appeal of the two franchises intact with fun references, snappy dialogue, and a satisfying enough of an end. The Deluxe Edition hardcover includes a cover gallery, character sketches, and a “Behind the Scenes” look shared from the people who create both comics.
Exactly as much fun as you would hope a project like this would be.