Published by IDW, Written by Eric Burnham, Art by Dan Schoening, Colors by Luis Antonio Delgado, Letters by Tom B. Long.
In Transformers/Ghostbusters #1, IDW takes every 1980s baby back to their childhood, full of Saturday morning cartoons, wisecracking heroes, dubious villains, and even the epic crossover.
In order to accomplish this and not go down the same worn path, Transformers/Ghostbusters forgoes the known history of both franchises. Within the first few pages, it dynamically shifts decades-long established canon. It's a bold step, and ultimately the right one. This is not the story you've seen in the funny pages, on television or the big screen. Despite the departure, the story never feels off track. This is due in large part to the careful crafting of our story's main players.
Transformers/Ghostbusters greatest strength lies in its characters. From Megatron, Starscream, Optimus, and Ironhide, to Egon, Ray, Winston, and Peter. Burnham lovingly paints each personality with masterful skill and nuance. The dialogue feels authentic, ripped straight from the cartoon shows.
As a first issue, plot and exposition do most of the heavy lifting. This never feels tiresome or slow though, due to Burnham's quick and authentic conversation. A back and forth between Megatron and Starscream leads to a familiar chain of events, with a most unfamiliar consequence. From here the reader is given a peek at the Autobots, scouring the universe for other signs of Cybertronian life. Even the new (made for comic) character Eck, feels right at home alongside Bumblee, Jazz, and Optimus.
The story shifts to the Ghostbusters doing well, what the Ghostbusters do best, busting some ghosts. The aftermath leaves them short-handed and looking for a solution. An appearance by a most unlikely spectral form pushes this prologue to its conclusion. The journey, however, is just beginning.
Schoening's art is dynamic, angular, and cartoonish in just the right ways. All the characters are easily recognizable, yet vastly different from their cartoon counterparts. His art is a perfect complement to Burnham's nostalgic driven narrative, give the reader plenty to parse from their Saturday morning memories.
While much is made of today's detailed, researched, and complex narratives, Ghostbusters/Transformers harkens back to a simpler time, a more capacious space for robots and ghosts to live in. While this might seem childish, in Burnham's hands, everything feels more alive. Instead, invoking the whimsy and nostalgia of yesteryear. There are so many ways a story like this could be contrived, capitalistic, and cynical. Burnham has locked all those away, in a ghost trap somewhere. Or perhaps he's found the matrix of leadership and it guides his story. By the end of the issue, you'll want to shout Autobots (and Ghostbusters) roll out!