Ghostbusters: Year One #1 Review: A Faithful Behind-the-Scenes Look at Ghostbusting

Ghostbusters Year one
(Photo: IDW Publishing)

Ghostbusters is a story that many people know inside and out and then some, so building on this cultural powerhouse in any way is quite the endeavor already. The new Ghostbusters: Year One takes on this task by profiling each one of the ghost-busting members of the crew and showcasing the best of what every character brings to the team. Boasting a faithful and charming representation of the Ghostbusters coupled with a steady back-and-forth flow between the past and present, Year One seems like it’s up to challenge.

We start with Winston Zeddemore in the debut of Ghostbusters: Year One, but before we meet him, we’re treated to a carousel of appearances by some key Ghostbusters characters. It’s like an end-credits scene that’s adeptly woven into the story where author Rebecca Morales is speaking to the members of the Ghostbusters and all those involved with their first monumental victory. If you’re one of those Ghostbusters fans who knows the franchise all too well, it’s an excellent hook.

But for those who are less familiar, Rebecca’s first interview with Winston, is a perfect place to start. The series could’ve began with anyone, but the decision to open with Winston has more of a helpful recapping effect for readers than you’d initially realize. Being the newest member of the team, he offers the perfect outsider perspective for any readers who need a brushing up on the Ghostbusters or those who are meeting them for the first time. Winston’s views on the ghost-busting experience and his teammates combined with the open questions from Rebecca set readers up for more eccentric characters to come without diving headfirst into the strangeness of Ghostbusters.

You’d be forgiven for thinking after the first few pages that this mini-series is going to be a behind-the-scenes story of the Ghostbusters, but it’s got even more depth than that. After becoming acquainted with Winston and getting a crash course on the other characters and the tools at a Ghostbuster’s disposal, we, like Winston, are ushered into their first bust. Year One has a refreshing rhythm to it by swapping back and forth between Winston’s memories and his present-day conversation with Rebecca and never loses its stride. Juggling multiple moments in time is something a lot of stories can struggle with, but maintaining the flow primarily as a conversation between the interviewer and interviewee keeps everything anchored and easily understood.

Spoken interactions between the Ghostbusters carry much of their personalities and relationships, but it’s in small mannerisms where the attention to detail shines. The Ghostbusters are a lighthearted group despite what you’d expect from their jobs, and that characteristic comes across impeccably well in how they’re drawn. The soft, welcoming expressions of each Ghostbuster (and the supporting characters) are warm in the face of danger and accurately portray the best moods of the property. Even the supernatural moments strike a comfortable balance between adventure and horror without leaning too much towards the latter.

With four Ghostbusters to profile throughout a four-part mini-series, Ghostbusters: Year One already has the best possible foundation it can to finish telling this story well. If the first issue is any indication, the rest of the series will have no trouble delivering a similarly enjoyable experience. It’s an excellent introduction to and continuation of the Ghostbusters, and the potential in Year One is strong.

Published by IDW Publishing

On January 22, 2020

Written by Erik Burnham

Art by Dan Schoening


Colors by Luis Antonio Delgado

Cover by Dan Schoening