Grew up reading comic books in the 90's. Marvel fan at heart. Hulk, the Midnight Sons, and Marvel's cosmic universe are my favorites.
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Marvel’s latest iteration of Ghost Rider has returned. Issue One is out in stores now. ComiConverse contributor Mitch Nissen is here with a brief reviewReview: Ghost Rider #1.
Review: Ghost Rider #1
It’s been since March 2015 that the last issue of All-New Ghost Rider hit comic shops everywhere. Robbie Reyes has only been in a handful of comics since and hasn’t been seen in comics for over a year.
Beginning last September Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes has been lighting things up on this season’s Agents of SHIELD. Thanks to the television show Robbie Reyes is enjoying far greater exposure than his comic book counterpart ever dreamt possible. Being the seventh character to bear the name Ghost Rider must be the charm.
Robbie Reyes only has three story arcs to his credit (one of them being a Secret Wars tie-in). Naturally Marvel Comics would want to expand the character’s library. Ghost Rider #1 picks up where All-New Ghost Rider left off.
Thus a new chapter in the saga of the Hell-Charger has begun…
By day Robbie Reyes is one part high school student, one part mechanic, and one part guardian of his special needs little brother, Gabe. By night Robbie is one part possessed host to an evil spirit and one part supernatural avenger of the east Los Angeles area. On the west side of Los Angeles another hero is fighting his own battle. Amadeus Cho a.k.a. the Totally Awesome Hulk tries to contain a monster wreaking havoc in Santa Monica. When Amadeus fails spectacularly the battle spills over to East Los Angeles attracting the attention of a young woman named Laura Kinney a.k.a. the Wolverine!
We all know the concept of Ghost Rider: fiery skull-faced demon possessed super hero. What we may or may not know is who exactly Robbie Reyes is. The Robbie Reyes on this season of Agents of SHIELD, while largely faithful to the comic book counterpart, is different in many ways from what you’ll read here. If you haven’t got around to reading All-New Ghost Rider fear not.
Writer and creator of Robbie Reyes, Felipe Smith, spends roughly half of the issue showcasing who Robbie is without the Ghost Rider. One of the most endearing aspects of All-New Ghost Rider was the authenticity of Robbie Reyes’ character. His relationship to his little brother Gabe was the core of the character. While we may not see much of the Rider in this issue what we do see is a heavy focus on Robbie and Gabe’s relationship.
I love Ghost Rider. He’s my favorite Marvel character (serious). But his track record over the last few years hasn’t been so hot. Two largely panned movies. And a series of failed comic book iterations (remember when I said Robbie was the seventh Ghost Rider? Not kidding). This property comes with a lot of stigmas surrounding it. And with so many Ghost Riders in the queue Smith’s choice of showcasing Robbie more than the Rider is a wise choice.
The logo on the cover of the book specifically states “Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider” and rightly so. Reyes’ Ghost Rider is far different from previous the Ghost Riders and much of that is Robbie’s character. Felipe Smith drives that aspect home in this issue. We do get to spend a little time with the Rider however where his differences are highlighted too.
Artist Danilo Beyruth comes through with a truly cinematic sequence of the Rider bearing down on some human trafficking scum bags. Ghost Rider melts through the roof of his Hell Charger, magically appearing in the cab of the semi-truck, and cuts the semi-trailer in half with his chains. Following each panel shot for shot lends itself to a pretty cool sequence overall. The chrome-skull helmet, the muscle car, and the teleporting abilities (all unique to Reyes’ Ghost Rider) are touched on. The sequence is fleeting however leaving the reader wanting a little more, which isn’t necessarily bad. It builds anticipation for an issue down the line with nothing but Ghost Rider action.
The other half of the issue involves Amadeus Cho and the setup of a central plot thread. If one were paying attention to Marvel’s news feed lately you might think this story were a lead-in to the forthcoming event Monsters Unleashed. In any event I do wish this first issue would’ve contained more Robbie and less Cho as Reyes is seemingly cut out of half of his issue one. Cho is in as much of this comic as Reyes. I like Amadeus Cho but I’m still not sold on him being Hulk and those feelings are reinforced again here, at least for this reader.
Then there is a ten page back-up story featuring both of Robbie Reyes’ creators Felipe Smith (on writing) and Tradd Moore on art. The story introduces a new villain, a woman named Pyston Nitro, in addition to giving us that little bit more Ghost Rider action we were asking for earlier. Pyston Nitro recalls another Johnny Blaze villain to mind, that of Steel Wind (at least in spirit). Tradd Moore’s art maintains his signature style and tone from his stint on All-New Ghost Rider.
All in all it’s still pretty early to tell how this series is going to fare. Beyruth’s artwork is little more defined and traditional than Tradd Moore or Damion Scott, lacking in their unique art styles. But that may be just what this book needs. The art still maintains a bright color pallet and playful tone similar to the approach to the art in All-New Ghost Rider. This issue flows so seamlessly it might as well be issue #13 of All-New Ghost Rider.
The only major problem I foresee at the moment is Robbie’s ability to teleport using hell portals. This could create logic problems down the road if he can teleport wherever he likes, the first and foremost of which being why would Ghost Rider need a car if he can simply teleport instantly to his destination? Like I said, it’s a little too early to tell how this book will ultimately shape up.
For fans of Robbie Reyes’ previous outing this book should be exactly what you want. For those who only know the television version of Robbie this will feel quite a bit different tonally. And for fans of classic Ghost Riders such as Johnny Blaze or Danny Ketch keep waiting.
Mitch Nissen is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @NinjaMitche
Source: Marvel Comics
Ghost Rider is back in an all-new ongoing series from Marvel. Robbie Reyes returns to comic books with the help of his creators Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore along with artists Danilo Beyruth and Val Staples. The transition from All-New Ghost Rider to this book is nearly seamless. It’s just off to a slow start.