by Drew Baumgartner
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
I love the idea of Platonic Forms — that there are ideas bigger and more perfect than any one example could ever be. The easiest examples are shapes; a “sphere” is a simple enough concept to imagine, but any real-world example of one, from the smallest subatomic particle to the largest star, isn’t quite as perfect, and is tied down to specific properties (weight, size, color) that have nothing to do with the idea of a sphere. And this is true of so much of our world. You can read the words I’m writing because you can identify every letter, but the same would be true if the letters were a different weight or color (or size or font, if I could figure out how to change those). In this way, we might imagine some kind of “pure” form of each letter that each example hints at, though I tend to prefer to think of it as the center of a disperse cloud of what each letter can be. Intriguingly (and increasingly), media franchises work in this same way. There may be a “pure” form of Batman that each comic, movie, cartoon, tv show, radio serial, etc. points us towards, but our reality gets to be much more interesting, as each actual manifestation highlights something different about the character and his world. The messiness of those different manifestations — the shape of the cloud they create — seems to be exactly what Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters II was designed to celebrate.
We might already understand those respective franchises as diffuse clouds — both have multiple movie iterations, cartoons, and comics under their belts — but any one iteration is usually limited to itself. IDW has always had fun breaking that a little, allowing characters some limited interaction with other iterations of themselves, but this series’ dimension-skipping premise has allowed it to riff on the ranges of styles and genres each franchise is capable of. Artist Dan Schoening holds down the style of IDW’s Ghostbusters series (itself distinct from those of any prior iterations), but each dimension gets their own rules and style, all defined by their respective artists. But, of course, this series status as a crossover means it isn’t just playing in the cloud of either of these franchises, but specifically in the region where those franchises overlap — the middle area of a huge, multi-dimensional venn diagram.
That kind of franchise exploration is more than enough to keep me happy, but writes Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz are committed to making this crossover mean something to the characters. Donnie and Egon are still grappling with the realities of death, but I’m most intrigued by the heart-to-heart Raph and Ray have after escaping the Viking ghosts:
Whatever our conception of these franchises as goofy or irreverent may be, we have to acknowledge that earnest emotions are also very much a part of their Platonic Forms. It’s not the kind of thing that jumps to mind when thinking of these worlds colliding, but it works absolutely beautifully here.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?