Ghost Rider #5


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Ghost Rider #5


  • Words: Garth Ennis
  • Art: Clayton Crain
  • Inks: Clayton Crain
  • Colors: Clayton Crain
  • Story Title: The Road to Damnation: Part 5
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jan 11, 2006

Hell has finally come to Texas, but can the Ghost Rider and Hoss stem the flow of damnation before it’s too late?

This six issue series is nearing completion and so far I have yet to find any link to previous continuity. I am wondering if Marvel has any aspirations of getting it right, despite past assurances from E-I-C Joe Quesada that this series would address all those blunders. Well, so far nothing has changed and it looks like all the previous continuity errors will continue to plague the character.

So despite my personal reservations, the story here advances without much bang for your buck. In fact the main thrust of the plot implodes here instead of exploding into an unforgettable story in the annals of Ghost Rider lore. The issue begins with all hell breaking loose at Gustav Petroleum, as the gateway between both worlds is opened to unleash a hoard of demonic entities. At the helm of it all stands the head demon Kazann, and looking on in astonishment is Miss Catnip and Earl Gustav. All three watch as the hellish armies of Kazann’s minions engulf the confines of Gustav Petroleum.

The scene is meant to be cataclysmic, and on an artistic level it looks amazing, but once Ghost Rider and Hoss join the fray the story just falls apart. You would think the scene is set up for a blistering confrontation between all the participants involved, but some bad dialogue here spoils it for me. Ghost Rider hops onto his bike to do what he does best, although instead of acting all wraith-like as the Spirit of Vengeance, he starts spouting off juvenile dialogue that’s so unlike previous incarnations of the character. It makes Ghost Rider look silly and you can’t take him seriously as a viable threat by the time the issue comes to an end.

Much of this story is shamefully wasted, and it’s obvious that writer Garth Ennis hasn’t done his homework here with the character’s origins. The story is fraught with so many holes, that it makes you wonder why Marvel would even bother to attempt this new six issue take on the character. Worse yet, this series is as much a disaster as the previous Marvel Knights series was and I think it’s about time the company got it right, especially with the movie version fast approaching. From a reader’s stand point it makes for a confusing read since the lack of continuity allows for the character to go unrecognizable from the true incarnation it stemmed from originally.

The only positive here is the phantasmagorical art work of Clayton Crain. I think he deserves the most accolades for a job well done, since his highly detailed work rivals the best of any cinematic monster I have seen in the past five years. It’s just a shame that he’s been let down by sub-par storytelling and a lack of editorial direction to bring this series to a satisfying and mutual conclusion for my tastes.

In finishing up with this review, I can say my disappointment with this series continues to grow, and Marvel Comics should be ashamed for their lack of disrespect towards the character’s true origins. I can’t really recommend this series on the basis of the writing, but I will champion solid artwork from Clayton Crain and suggest the series is worth a second glance because of it.

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