Overview

Ghost Rider #2

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Ghost Rider #2

Credits

  • Words: Daniel Way
  • Art: Javier Saltares
  • Inks: Mark Texeira
  • Colors: Dan Brown
  • Story Title: Vicious Cycle, Part 2
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Aug 16, 2006

Johnny Blaze is now free from his hellish confines and back on the Earth, but much to his chagrin he’s not alone this time.

Okay, I hate to say this but I am such a sucker for good ol’ flamehead no matter how bad the project is. In this case Ghost Rider has had some clunkers in previous years, but I always seem to get excited when the demonic biker is back in full regalia. This time around Marvel has decided to graduate the character to monthly book status yet again on the heels of the successful Road to Damnation series by Garth Ennis and Clayton Crain. Of course, the one constant with the Rider is the muddled continuity he seems to be mired in, and I am hoping the fine folks at Marvel finally get it right.

They say though that three times is the charm, and after both previous Marvel Knights variations failed to fill in the gaps with continuity this new monthly is meant to do just that. The first issue treated fans to a full story involving Ghost Rider trapped in Hell and now in this second installment we get to focus a bit more on Johnny Blaze. Not much has really changed with him as he looks all haggard and disheveled while riding his motorcycle on the open road. His bike is out of gas and after being picked up by a female trucker he gets escorted to a nearby truck stop only to discover an old friend waiting for him there. This old friend turns out to be Satan disguised in human form and it doesn’t take long before Johnny is forced to transform back into Ghost Rider and confront his longtime nemesis.

Now as the old saying goes all hell breaks loose, but I don’t know if that really applies here. It’s too early to fully rag on writer Daniel Way’s attempts to resuscitate the Ghost Rider, but there are a few alarming treads right from the get go. Firstly there is the lack of a true explanation in regards to Satan’s motives and since we’re on the topic of what’s lacking here, the opening few pages with Johnny definitely fall under that same category. The writing is so sparse when Johnny Blaze finally appears in this issue, and I truly felt we needed some exposition to explain his mental state more fully. Sadly there was none of that and I found it frustrating for the most part.

I will say though the art of Saltares and Texeira worked so well in tandem as a bona fide creative team. I can’t say enough about them and the one constant in both issues is the exceptional quality both artists seem to strive for. In some ways this may be old hat for them given the fact this creative team was responsible for about two thirds of the issues produced for the second series from the early 90’s. I really liked their work back then and it’s interesting to see how both have matured since that series. Almost every panel literally leaps up from the page and in the scenes when the rider appears, it’s never a dull a moment.

My only real complaint though goes back to the writing. It’s not that I think Daniel Way isn’t competent enough as a writer, but his scripts have been very lean and seem to rely heavily upon the art to propel the story. I’ve read that issue five will finally address all the continuity errors that have dogged this character for the past decade, so for all you true Ghost Rider fanatics (including yours truly) you’ll have to hang on a little bit longer. In the meantime though enjoy the quality artwork.

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