GHOST RIDER #1

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Avg Rating: 3.5
 
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Story by Rob Williams
Art by Matthew Clark & Sean Parsons
Colors by Rob Schwager
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover by Adam Kubert, Neal Adams & Arturo Lozzi

Size: pages
Price: 3.99

Every week I come home from the comic book shop and eagerly show off my new comics to my girlfriend like a dog trying to get praise by bringing its master his newspaper. Instead of a pat on the head though, I usually get a few disinterested moments as she flicks through the covers and quickly changes the subject. Not this week though, this week she took one look at the cover of Ghost Rider #1 and quickly proclaimed “Urgh, what’s this? I hate it!” I quickly responded with “No, look its cool. This is ghost rider, he’s a flaming skeleton from hell on a motorbike.” She replied “Yeah, that’s what I mean, just look at him. He’s stupid. He’s soooo 80’s rock.” And you know what, she’s right, Ghost Rider is stupid, but that’s why I love him.

Ghost Rider is a little clich├ęd and over-the-top and that’s no surprise as he a classic 70’s horror comic hero. That’s he greatest asset and that’s what this book is all about, stupid over the top fights that look like the cover to a crappy Iron Maiden album. The only problem is that occasionally, Marvel has forgotten this and gone a little to far down the road of trying to turn Johnny Blaze into a serious character (perhaps inspired by the great horror comics of the last 15 years, such as Preacher and Hellblazer), or just gone a little over the top and made the comic into an obvious attempt to seem rebellious, like those fantastic Nintendo adverts from the 90’s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIpM_WHQPfw). Lets hope that this time Marvel has realised that you can’t steer this flaming motorbike from hell where you want to go, you just need to sit back and enjoy the ride.

The art in this issue was surprisingly good. I’m not sure if I’ve seen Matthew Clark’s work before but it does remind me of a few Spider-Man issues from recent history. Anyway, his style is good and does bear a resemblance to Tony Moore in a couple of panels. I love the way Johnny blaze is drawn in this book. He’s still recognisable as the guy in the black shirt, collar turned up with a wife-beater vert underneath, sporting an earing, and yet he still looks cool. How did they do that? Surely he should look like the biggest douche in the world.

There is also a rather large back up story in this issue drawn up Valerio Schiti who has a different, distinctive style that’s not Schiti at all (get it). What he seems to excel at though, is drawing angry, flaming, skulls (which is a very useful talent when the main character of your book is an angry, flaming, skeleton).

The cover of this issue is terrible though despite being drawn by Adam Kubert. Not only is it ugly, its dull and easily the worst piece of art in the whole book. Add to that the cover wrecking, giant banner of Fear Itself and you’ve got an image that might actually turn people away.

Speaking of Fear Itself, the idea of starting this title in the middle of an event is probably not a great idea. I’m not even sure if this a launch of a new series or just a tie-in mini series and I predict the sales will reflect the confusion of an audience who sees this next to the generally rubbish Fear Itself books. The story is also a little confused by the inclusion of Fear Itself plot points. If you’re not reading Fear Itself it won’t make much sence to you. And it won’t make ANY sense unless you read the #0 issue that came out a month or so ago. Why not make that the #1 issue and this the #2 issue? Because marvel loves #0 issues. Stupid. And then, even if you have read #0 and Fear Itself, it still doesn’t really as I would’ve liked. Rob Williams (the writer of this series) is obviously building to something and holding material back for a few reveals in later issues, but it would’ve been nice if he’d laid some firm ground work first. Thankfully he throws in a few great character reveals, a laugh-out-loud funny line and enough action to keep me happy. Plus the inclusion of a sexy, female, Ghost Rider is kind of cool. Although I am looking forward to the return of the real flammable motorcyclist. My only problem with her; is that her bike is really lame. Really chunky and ugly.

I predict that this book won’t last long. There is another shitty Nick Cage movie being made with this character and the cover, Fear Itself tie in and purposefully obtuse plot may keep people from jumping into the series. But if you’re looking for a new, fun series to jump on to, You could do a lot worse. Lets just hope that enough people care, to keep Johnny Blaze from being plunged back into the fiery pit from whence he came.

Art 4/5

Story 3/5

Story: 3 - Good
Art: 4 - Very Good

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