A comiXologist Recommends:
Mike Isenberg recommends All-New Ghost Rider #3
Though some of our younger readers these days may know him only as “that flaming biker guy from the Nick Cage movies,” the character of Ghost Rider actually used to be a pretty big deal. Back in the 90’s, Ghost Rider was a hugely popular character, with a “tent-pole” title propping up a whole separate corner of the Marvel Universe filled with horror-tinged books and characters.
For good or for ill, those were formative years in my comics-reading experience, and Ghost Rider was absolutely my jam. While my friends were reading about heroes who clung to walls in bright red pajamas, or who aired their teen angst between make-out sessions and Sentinel attacks (note: I kid because I love), I was reading about a badass flaming skeleton in a badass leather jacket riding a badass motorcycle that was also on fire. (I was an adolescent in the 90s. Please don’t judge.)
As time passed, the character’s popularity waned. There have been a few attempts to revive the old interest, some more successfully than others, but nothing has seemed to really reach out and grab new readers.
It’s time for something new. Something—dare I say it—All New? All-New Ghost Rider is a completely fresh take on the character. Writer Felipe Smith (felipesmithart) and artist Tradd Moore (traddmoore) have re-designed Ghost Rider from scratch. Rather than get tangled up in the decades of (very convoluted) continuity with Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch, All-New Ghost Rider features a new protagonist in a new location with a new origin story.
Robbie Reyes is a teenager in East L.A., working after school as a mechanic to support his disabled little brother. Things go a bit nuts for him when he “borrows” a muscle car from work to compete in a street race, only to discover that the car’s trunk is full of stolen experimental drugs that throw him into the middle of a war between street gangs and super-villains. Oh, and also the car is haunted and he’s now possessed by some sort of fiery chrome speed-demon.
The art is very different, and quite apart from what you’d expect to see in a Ghost Rider title. And to be perfectly honest, I was a bit wary at first. But now that we’re a few issues in, I’m absolutely hooked. Moore’s style gives a fluidity and excitement to the action sequences in general, and the chase scenes in particular. And in a book about a haunted muscle car, gorgeous chase scenes like these really make the whole thing work.
All-New Ghost Rider is a solidly fun, fresh, and innovative book. It has enough of the tone and theme of the earlier books, while taking big risks on some new changes that, as far as I’m concerned, have paid off in spades. The comic manages to be bright and colorful while retaining the darker edge that made the Spirit of Vengeance such a fascinating character in his past iterations. For fans of the old Ghost Rider as well as for people who have never heard of him, I can definitely recommend picking up this book.
In honor of today’s Ghost Rider sale we tried to find out how much flaming skull, motorcycle-riding bad-assery we could contain in a single tumblr post.
How did we do?