Opening the "Haunted America" storyline, "Ghostbusters" #9 puts the titular quartet into an RV and sends them out of New York to answer calls of psychokinetic energy-inspired distress from across the United States. After a brief stop somewhere in Ohio, I was pleased as punch to see the Ghostbusters roll into Detroit, Michigan.
Not only does Schoening draw a much nicer, more animated, but still relatively (at least architecturally speaking) accurate Detroit, but Erik Burnham drops in a fun Red Wings reference and a nod to some locally-preferred cuisine. Granted we only get a glimpse of the skyline and couple shots of the Spirit of Detroit, but most comics won't even give you that much when mentioning the Motor City.
Burnham's writing features snappy characterizations of the Ghostbusters, playing the guys much closer to their movie personas than a quick glance at Schoening's art would lead you to believe. Schoening has such a keen grasp of the visual embodiments of Peter Venkman, Ray Stanz, Winston Zeddemore and Egon Spengler that they project immediately recognizable likenesses regardless of the reader's familiarity with this title. Venkman, especially, is every bit the roguish character Bill Murray portrayed in the movies, but Schoening has clearly defined Venkman in his own terms.
Schoening and colorist Luis Antonio Delgado make this comic book quite unlike anything else being published today. The slick artwork is clean and lively, giving this book the appearance of being captured directly from animation stills.
In addition to anticipated banter among and from the Ghostbusters, Burnham adds a nice pseudo-history lesson on the Revolutionary War, Anthony Wayne and the impact upon Detroit to fuel the main scheme of this first installment of "Haunted America." The other subplots of "Ghostbusters" #9 focus on what is going on in New York without the Ghostbusters and how their absence is being addressed.
In addition to the twenty-page main Burnham and Schoening crafted lead, this issue includes a six-page backup tale that sets the stage for the next stop on the "Haunted America" tour. This second story is written and drawn by Tristan Jones. Jones' style is darker and rougher than Schoening's, but the subject matter is also a shade darker than the opening tale.
"Haunted America" is off to a strong start, with a fun, informative visit to Detroit. By the end of the issue, the Ghostbusters have once again found a way to set things right and are back on the road once more. Personally, I'm hoping the next time we read about the Ghostbusters in Detroit we'll see just what it is that the Spirit of Detroit goes to do as evidenced by the psychokinetic footprints pointed away from his usual resting spot.