All-New Ghost Rider #1 (Comics Review)

The first time I ever encountered Ghost Rider was with the Nicholas Cage-starrer movie of the same name. It was… interesting. Unlike other Marvel movies to date, it seemed stuck in an age of storytelling that had long passed. Which is a very round-about way of saying that the movie was barely good. It was cliche after cliche. But all the same, I loved the character. There’s something about a leather-wearing superhero with a burning skill, chains all over his body, riding a bike and cackling like a madman.

And that’s stuck with me. But, the Ghost Rider in All-New Ghost Rider #1 isn’t Nicholas Cage, it is a teenaged mechanic named Robbie Reyes. That was a surprise. Given how much I avoided reading up on all the new series coming out from Marvel this year, this has been the biggest surprise so far, I think. But still, it was an interesting story since Felipe Smith is tasked with setting up the character’s origins. And Tradd Moore’s art, though very stylised, is also appealing to a degree.

All-New Ghost Rider 01What Smith and Moore have done here is take the “new” in All-New Ghost Rider and run off with it. Robbie Reyes reads completely different from how I would expect Johnny Blaze to read. But at the same time, he is also similar. Where Johnny used to be a stunt bike racer, Robbie is a street racer, struggling to make ends meet since his job as a mechanic doesn’t really pay all that much and he has a brother to take care of. Live in the slums of LA isn’t all that good, and the two brothers live a dull life. Hence the street racing.

Of course, where there is street racing, there are cops. And where there are cops AND street racing, there are going to be bullets in the end. After all, there has to be some particular point where the hero turns into a superhero. Robbie Reyes has to become Ghost Rider and for that, he needs to undergo a very specific transformation. It just so happens, unfortunately, that this transformation is a very… bloody one. Sucks for him, great for us.

The story is very straightforward and going from A to B for the reader is an equally straightforward matter as well. Smith hits all the right notes though, and he tells the tale competently enough. The fact that it is nothing surprising nor different is of little consequence. I wish that the transformation here would have been as superbly enjoyable as that of Kamala Khan into Miss Marvel in G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona’s Ms. Marvel #1, but I’m fine with the approach used here. Smith’s approach means that he eases the readers into the character and in his attitude and way of life, and that in itself is quite important. He is clearly different from Johnny Blaze in many respects, and his attitude to life is one of those things. Unlike that Ghost Rider, Robbie aspires for something greater, something with more meaning than what he has right now. He is trapped in his life, and his brother is trapped nd thus with, and the two of them just want out.

If there is one thing that I didn’t like though, was how and why Robbie transforms. There’s no setup for that. With Johnny, we knew that he’d made a deal with the Devil himself, and thus he didn’t have a choice when he was made into the Ghost Rider. With Robbie though, we don’t have any of that background. I know that this is only the first issue, but it still stands as a valid point. Hopefully, we can see more in the following issues.

On the art, we have Tradd Moore doing the pencils, with Nelson Daniel and Val Staples doing the colours and VC’s Joe Caramagna doing the letters. As I’ve said, Moore’s approach to the comic is extremely stylised, and his characters often appear rather… lean, which is kind of weird. It is almost as if Moore is going for an anime style here, there’s that same kind of dynamism here, and I have to say that I kind of… like it. And I’m interested in seeing more. The colours are much better in comparison, and I really liked the colourful palettes. If the pencils were a bit more detailed, the colours would have been even better.

Overall, a decent first issue that promises some interesting things for the series. I want more.

Rating: 8/10

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Posted on March 28, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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