INTERVIEW: Rob Williams & Ghost Rider in Circle of Four

Coming up next month in February from Marvel Comics is the event formerly known as The Venom Event, now dubbed Circle of Four. We heard about it direct from the creative team, and then we spoke a bit more to Venom writer Rick Remender, and today we sit down with Ghost Rider scribe Rob Williams to discuss his role in Circle of Four and what fans of Lady Ghost Rider can expect.  Rob Williams will be co-writing Circle of Four with Rick Remender and Jeff Parker, as Ghost Rider joins Venom, Red Hulk and X-23 to join a new unlikely quartet in Las Vegas over the span of several Venom Point issues, issues #13.1 through #13.4.

Below we have the extended 4 issue cover art by Stefano Caselli, followed by our chat with Rob Williams and an exclusive sneak peeks at pencils from Venom #13.4 by artist Lan Medina, which features not only Ghost Rider, X-23, Red Hulk and Venom, but a familiar doctor of the occult.

iFanboy: After introducing the new/latest Ghost Rider, and making Ghost Rider a female, how are you feeling about your run with the character and the public reaction?

Rob Williams: I’m pleased we tried something a little different in making the new Ghost Rider a girl. I thoroughly enjoyed my time writing the book and I’m disappointed that it’s coming to a close so quickly. Plainly, if we’d sold more copies we’d not be calling time on the series with issue nine, and that’s a real shame. I felt there were a lot more stories we could’ve told with the series. But Ghost Rider‘s always a tough selll and this market’s pretty unforgiving right now. That said, we’ve introduced a new character to the Marvel Universe, if she survives what’s coming for her (that’s me being cryptic, you’ll have to buy our 30-page finale, Ghost Rider #9 to see what I mean). 2011 was the year of launching a new Ghost Rider series for me. It was a great opportunity. Are there things I’d have done differently looking back? Yes, a couple. But I wouldn’t change the past year. Writing Ghost Rider has been a lot of fun.

iF: Ghost Rider is going to be involved with the upcoming event, Circle of Four. How does Ghost Rider end up in Vegas and colliding with the other characters?

RW: Johnny Blaze has taken Alejandra, the new Ghost Rider, under his wing to try and train her – to make amends for his passing the Spirit Of Vengeance onto a naive teenager. He’s a bit of a crap Obi Wan, really, but he’s trying to do the right thing. They’re in the Nevada desert when major supernatural goings on start occurring in Las Vegas. Johnny warns Alejandra not to get involved but (adopts Yoda voice) “reckless, she is.” And off she drives, right into a very bad situation that she suddenly makes a whole lot worse. That’s Alejandra all over – wants to do the right thing but ends up causing more trouble than she prevents.

iF: In Circle of Four, you get to write Venom, Red Hulk and X-23, how has that experience been expanding the characters you get to play with?

RW: Huge fun. It helped that, in co-writing this series, I had Jeff Parker offering notes on Red Hulk and Rick Remender doing the same with Venom and Flash. Also, Marjorie Liu was involved initially so there was an X-23 voice there. Plus our editor, Jeanine Schaefer edited X-23, so she knows these characters very well. But this lineup is just a ridiculous good time to write, both in terms of the huge visuals they offer and their character work. The reason they work so well is that Rick, Jeff and Marjorie have all made them three-dimensional, nuanced characters. And one of our mantras on this series, despite the over-the-top action and the bonkers visuals, was that this should be a character piece. This isn’t just costumes punching each other (adopts Seinfeld mode: “not that there’s anything wrong with that”). Circle Of Four goes to the heart of these four characters.

iF: What does Ghost Rider think of the other 3 characters in the Circle of Four?

RW: She, frankly, doesn’t give a crap about them. There’s zero loyalty there. And even less admiration. It’s not antipathy, it’s more that Alejandra is only interested in her goal – which is to return the souls to the people of Nicaragua after she wiped them out back in Ghost Rider #3. She’ll fight evil when it comes to Vegas, sure, and she’ll offer Vengeance where it’s needed. But being part of a team-up or super team? She could give a rat’s posterior.

iF: How has the collaboration been with Rick Remender and Jeff Parker on the event? Has working with other writers affected your approach to your portion of the story?

RW: It’s been APPALLING! I’ve had to carry those guys to such an extent. Sheesh, I mean, have you ever read anything good by either of them ever? <I’m joking, in case anyone has the sarcasm-meter turned down>.

No, it’s been great. Everyone’s been incredibly cool and collaborative and open throughout. Everyone’s pitched in ideas here, including the editorial team. In our initial conversations there were quite a few editors involved. Jody Leheup suggested we use Blackheart as our villain, for instance. So, as ever with these books, when you read an issue of this crossover you’ll see my name listed as writer or Jeff or Rick, but this was a real ‘writing room’ effort. The best idea won the day, no matter who suggested it. You can’t ask for better than that. We’ve each scripted our issues but the plot beats were worked out collaboratively and there’s stuff in each issue that’s come from each of us.

And it is, to be honest, pretty inspiring and intimidating working with writers of the calbre of Rick and Jeff, who are both doing fantastic work right now with their books. It makes you want to up your game.

iF: What lies in the future for Ghost Rider after Circle of Four?

RW: Ghost Rider readers are going to want to pick up the Circle Of Four crossover off the back of Ghost Rider #8, as it really affects Alejandra’s journey and Johnny Blaze’s relationship with her. And then straight after the crossover we go into the 30-paage Ghost Rider #9, which wraps up a lot of our storylines. You’ll have to buy it to find out what the status quo will be at the end of the series. I don’t think I’m giving away too much to say we’re not just going to return to the previous status quo and act like this series never existed. What happens here will affect the Ghost Rider in the Marvel universe going forward. Who will be the Marvel Universe Ghost Rider at the end of our series? Pick up Ghost Rider #9 to find out.

Check out this exclusive sneak peek at Venom #13.4 pencils by artist Lan Medina:



  1. “… as Ghost Rider joins Venom, Red Hulk and X-23 to join a new unlikely quartet in Las Vegas…”

    I’m in. I’ll give it a whirl.

  2. the more i hear about this the more excited i get

  3. The art looks fantastic. I was in any way but that would’ve sold me if I wasn’t.

  4. Just keeps looking better and better.