A big part of my nerdy personality is nostalgia, appreciating the stuff I grew up with. Two major franchises I had were the Ghostbusters and the Ninja Turtles. I had the toys, the TV shows, the bedsheets. Both franchises are so beloved that they still endure to this day, and even if the results don't quite live up the the originals, I'm at least grateful that people still care about them.
I discovered the existence of this crossover by accident. I was idly browsing Deviant Art when I spotted a picture of the Ghostbusters and the Turtles together. I initially thought it was simply well-drawn fan-art, but the artist's description of the picture revealed that it was in fact a variant cover for an official crossover comic. At that point, I knew I had to get a copy. As well as enjoying these specific franchises, I'm a fan of crossover stories. However, not all crossovers work, a harsh fact that made me wary of reading it. After finishing this book, those doubts were put to rest. In summary: this comic rules.
The story of the comic is straightforward, which is expected but necessary. The TMNT gang, including April and Casey Jones, are involved in a dimensional transportation accident that sends them to an alternate universe - the Ghostbusters' version of New York. On the one hand, I was slightly disappointed that the TMNT and Ghostbusters didn't live in the “same” New York, but in a satisfying way this explains why they have never crossed paths before. Egon and Donatello even ponder why the TMNT universe has aliens (but not ghosts) while the Ghostbusters universe has ghosts (but not aliens). Anyway, the Big Bad of this story is Chi-You, an ancient Chinese war deity who possesses people, including Casey Jones. The Busters and the Turtles team up to put an end to Chi-You's reign of terror. Yes, the plot isn't overly complex, but it doesn't need to be because the fun is in the details, characters and of course the humour.
Each member of both teams gets their fair share of exposure, individually they interact with who you would expect them to: Egon and Donatello talk science jargon, Raphael and Venkman trade snarky comments, even Winston and Leonardo appreciate that they're both the voices of reason in their respective teams. I won't drop spoilers, but there are a couple of fun cameos and references that long-time fans will enjoy. None of this gets tiresome since it's mixed in with solid action and the character-driven humour you'd expect from both teams.
Chi-You, while slightly generic, is a perfect villain for this type of story. His power set tests the martial arts skills of the TMNT and the ghost-hunting technology of the Ghostbusters equally. More importantly, his status as a Chinese warrior deity fits in neatly with both franchises. Most of the “drama” comes from his interaction with the seemingly possessed Casey Jones, and his powers make him a genuine threat for both teams.
Dan Schoening's artwork is distinct and unique enough to warrant praise. Instead of the generic “realistic” look I've gotten used to with comics, this opts to used a caricatured style for the human characters. The four Ghostbusters are instantly recognisable, looking more like their live-action versions than their “Real Ghostbusters”counterparts, while the TMNT look more like the 2003 designs than the recent CGI show or the original show. The backgrounds are detailed but rather dark, fitting in with the mysterious/supernatural setting.
Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz stay faithful to both the Turtles and the Ghostbusters and manage to give them equal importance in the story, especially when it comes to the comedic aspects of both franchises. All of the characters behave in this situation exactly how you imagine they would. This could have easily fallen into the cynical trap of pandering for nostalgia-dollars. Thankfully this comic delivers something much more than that, even though it IS unbelievably cool to see these characters together. It reminds me of why I loved growing up with the Ghostbusters and the Ninja Turtles, it reminds me why these franchises have endured and why people enjoy these characters. Burnham and Waltz are clearly fans, and it shines through the amount of dedication and respect put into it. If you're a fan of either franchise (or the extremely likely case of liking them both) and are on the lookout for a fun nostalgia trip, this comic has you sorted. It can be purchased here.