Robbie Reyes, The Ghost Rider, returns in another all new number one! Partially possessed by the evil spirit of his uncle Eli (it’s complicated), he hunts and kills criminals with his flaming muscle car to feed Eli’s bloodlust. Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch fans may want to avoid this one. Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
GHOST RIDER #1
Writer: Felipe Smith
Artist: Danilo S. Beyruth, Tradd Moore
Colorist: Val Staples and Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramangna
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Cover Price: $4.99
Previously in Ghost Rider: Robbie Reyes used a muscle car to win an illegal street race for some money. That turned out to be a bad choice as he was shot dead. Luckily (or not) the car was possessed by the spirit of his killer uncle, Eli. Eli resurrected Robbie and the two are now the Ghost Rider. Robbie has put an end to some gang violence in his neighborhood but that was only the beginning.
TOTES AWESOME HULK NEEDED TO BE LEFT OUT!
I know Felipe Smith’s Ghost Rider run wasn’t the most popular but I enjoyed it and thought it had some good art as well. Whenever there is a Ghost Rider book, I have to pick it up for an arc at least. Going in, I was pretty sure I would enjoy the continuing lunacy of Robbie and Eli’s story. Unfortunately, I was a bit let down.
The issue picks up where the previous series left off, with Robbie taking care of his handicapped brother Gabe. One thing that works is new readers won’t be too confused jumping in. I liked Gabe and Ronnie’s relationship before and while the bond between them is still present, Smith slips in Gabe’s characterization. Previously, I read Gabe as more physically handicapped, but here Gabe comes off as extremely “slow”, almost offensively so. His laugh is over the top (AH-HEE-HA-HA) to the point of it becoming bad comedy. Not sure if I misread the last run but I’m pretty sure Gabe’s IQ has slipped a few notches.
Of course, there’s an action scene with Ghost Rider taking down thugs in a car chase. It’s standard comic book action fare and, while looking cool, is nothing of importance. The issue would be more enjoyable if it weren’t for one thing: Totally Awesome Hulk. Robbie’s story is interspersed between scenes of Hulk at a dig site where a new chemical goo changes a rat into a purple monster. I’m not positive because I was too distracted hating the way Hulk talked. It’s over the top surfer “brah” speech with lines like “totally baller”, “no need to get aggro” and “L-O-L”. That’s right, Hulk literally says LOL out loud. Maybe it’s the way Felipe Smith writes him, or me being old and cranky, but it made me never want to read Totally Awesome Hulk. Ever. Even worse, of the main story’s twenty pages, Totes Hulk is in ten of them. Luckily, the backup story is a fun action filled introduction to a new villain, Pyston Nitro. She’s the kind of off the wall character that fits right in with the craziness and I can’t wait to see more of her.
MORE MOORE PLEASE
Danilo S. Beyruth’s artwork in the main story isn’t bad, shining more during the action scene. He draws some wicked Ghost Rider shots and I loved seeing him “grow” out of the hood of the car. Normal facial expressions and characters are problematic and I really disliked the way Hulk was drawn. That also might have been affected by my hatred for how he talked, who knows? The main art wouldn’t be such an issue if the backup story wasn’t drawn by Tradd Moore (of Luthor Strode fame). If you’ve never seen Moore’s work, you owe it to yourself to check it out. There is nothing quite like it. The pages burst with energy and Moore can make something as simple as someone standing still look cool. It is an extremely over the top, exaggerated style and some may not like it. This brief story had me wishing that Tradd Moore would take over the art duties for the book.
BOTTOM LINE: A BIT OF A BUMMER
I was bummed that Ghost Rider #1 wasn’t as good as I hoped. I’ve come to know what to expect with Felipe Smith’s Ghost Rider but this opening issue fell short. With odd characterization and half of the title character’s main story taken up by the insanely annoying Totally Awesome Hulk, the book falters. Luckily, the art in both stories is enjoyable with Moore’s being an amazing standout. Hopefully future issues won’t feel as flat and maybe we’ll get some more Tradd Moore artwork.