Monday, December 5, 2016

Ghost Rider #1 Review and *SPOILERS* - Marvel Monday

How’s My Driving?

Written By: Filipe Smith
Art By: Danilo S. Beyruth, Val Staples, Tradd Moore
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: November 30, 2016
Publisher: Marvel

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

This is probably one of my top two most anticipated comics that will come out of Marvel NOW! and I’m beyond excited to hop into this one. Considering the success of the character on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. it was only a matter of time until Robbie Reyes returned to the comic world. Robbie Reyes is still a relatively new character in the comics which means there are so many ways that a writer can take him. Considering Filipe Smith is writing this book, I look forward to seeing his full vision of this character come to life. He created him, after all. Unfortunately the previous Ghost Rider series fell in popularity when Tradd Moore left the book to complete other projects and unfortunately, he hasn’t returned with Smith but he will be doing a backup issue in this comic so it will be great to see his art again and I’m looking forward to how the new artist will handle the character. That being said, let’s stop talking about it and jump into the first issue already.

We start off the issue with Robbie and his young brother Gabriel working on a car in the garage that he works at. Oddly enough, this book isn’t going into a recap of the character for new readers. The comic is assuming that the readers are either readers of the previous series, fans of the television show, or are satisfied with the small intro we get in the first page. Robbie is working on his car and teaching Gabriel about all the different parts of a car. We cut away from the heartwarming scene to suddenly catch up with a quarantine. Several scientists are working with a foreign substance that they haven’t been able to identify when it escapes its container. The scientists lock it in a vehicle before evacuating. This is when we see Amadeus Cho is a part of the group and he transforms into The Hulk in order to take care of the creature.

We cut back to Robbie and his brother as they drive off towards home. Robbie has bought Gabe a giant ice cream cone but the two make a turn and find a truck blocking the street. Next to the street stands a large man who lifts his shirt to reveal a gun. He tells Robbie to turn around. Robbie asks if he can just get around them. The man kicks Robbie’s car and tells him to leave once again. At this point, Eli Morrow’s voice enters Robbie’s mind and tells him to attack but Robbie chooses to ignore it and he leaves the situation and continues on his way home. Meanwhile, Amadeus is still dealing with the creature who has taken the form of a malformed mouse. Amadeus admires the creature who then grabs some beetles that are near him and consumes them. The creature immediately changes into some form of beetle-mouse hybrid. Amadeus suspects that the creature takes the form of whatever it bites or consumes. The creature tries to bite him but isn’t able to sink its teeth in as the Hulk has impenetrable skin.

We cut back to Robbie once again as he drops Gabriel back at the house and puts him in his wheelchair. Robbie tells him that he has to take care of something and that he will be back later. Gabe smiles as they part ways. This is when Robbie peels away in his car and we see his eyes spark with flame and Eli whispers into his ear. The car transforms into the Hell Charger and it chases down the van from earlier and we see the man with the gun that we saw previously. The man recognizes the car in the rearview mirror and opens fire. The bullets simply bounce off the car and the car pulls alongside the truck. Suddenly we see a figure rise through the head of the car. This is when we finally see the face of the Ghost Rider before he suddenly disappears. The man turns to his driver to see if he saw where the Rider went but when he turns he sees the Ghost Rider in the driver’s seat instead. Suddenly chains with spikes on the end appear and the man cries out in terror. The Ghost Rider finishes the job and then opens the back of the truck to release the people that were being transported. He drives off as the people mention that they are safe thanks to the “Legend of Hillrock Heights”.

We cut back to the Hulk once again as he clumsily tries to grab a hold of the creature. He finally catches it and sticks his tongue out at it. The creatures sees an opportunity and bites his tongue which is vulnerable. The creatures suddenly begins to change and it grows to the size of the Hulk. The two begin fighting and quickly leave the truck in the process. Despite some initial problems, the Hulk is able to defeat the creature but in the aftermath, it is able to abandon part of its body in order to escape into the sewers. We cut to Robbie and Gabriel once again who this time are enjoying a meal at a local taco truck. A couple of young girls giggle in the area as they stare at Robbie remarking upon how attractive he is. However, we see another familiar face in the area. After Robbie and Gabriel leave we get a better look and notice that it is none other than Laura Kinney (the current Wolverine) and her young clone. Laura notices the creature that was fighting the Hulk in the sewers and she prepares for battle, releasing her claws. This is where the issue leaves us.

This is when the backstory begins. The story starts with a famous body building woman who comes into the shop Robbie works at to have her car worked on. She seems to be something of a car nut and she is immediately is drawn to Robbie’s Charger. She plays it off and then leaves in her car. She pulls off her disguise and vows to steal Robbie’s car. While Robbie sleeps, she skateboards to his car and breaks in. Robbie immediately wakes and suddenly teleports to the car as the Ghost Rider. The woman freaks out and screams before fleeing the car. She gets on her skateboard and then uses some kind of power in order to speed away at a high speed. Ghost Rider follows her in an attempt to teach her a lesson but finds he is unable to catch up despite nothing being faster than the Hell Charger. He resorts to using a Hell Portal to catch up which allows the woman to use her power to completely get away. Turns out that she wasn’t actually faster than the Hell Charger but rather has the ability to slow time around her without it affecting her. Thus, she was able to escape. The story ends with the woman liking a picture of Robbie and his car on some kind of social media site and the issue ends.

Frankly, it is  kind of nice to see a comic not attempt to hold my hand through it. Granted, it may be a bit alienating to new readers but as a regular reader it was nice to just jump into the story rather than spend an issue setting up a character that I already knew. The stuff with Robbie and Ghost Rider is incredible and I’m a fan of Beyruth’s art style, especially when he draw Ghost Rider. That said, I personally enjoyed Moore’s art in the backup more. However, I look forward to more in the future from Beyruth as he draws this series. However, the issue spends too much time with Amadeus Cho and the creature that Robbie will undoubtedly fight after it has taken strength from some of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe. It’s an oddly lighthearted section of this book that doesn’t fit the rest of it. Granted, it isn’t supposed to have the same tone but it’s a bit jarring to jump from one to another. However, this issue gives me a lot of hope for this series going forward. I’m really looking forward to the future.

Bits and Pieces

Robbie Reyes is back and it’s very exciting to see him back behind the wheel of his Hell Charger. This book doesn’t pander to new readers and while I may enjoy that as a regular reader, it may alienate some new readers which could lead to this book’s downfall. However, I’m really looking forward to the future of this book, despite the jarring tone difference between the two stories that we got in the main issue.


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