Ghost Rider #1
Smith, Moore, Staples
I will most certainly be SPOILING!
For fans of the spirit of vengeance, it has been some time since we’ve seen his fiery grin and penance filled eyes. The amount of people who have carried the spirit of Zarathos is relatively small, including only two rider’s in modern times; Johnny Blaze and Dan Ketch. Today, that all changed with the introduction of Robbie Reyes, a young man in Los Angeles.
Our comic opens on Robbie working on a muscle car, and getting paid. From the get go, we are provided with a hint of the kind of place his neighborhood is. Upon being paid, Robbie promptly counts it and finds out that his boss is attempting to short him money.
Robbie heads out of work and we find ourselves outside a developmental center where the protagonist’s brother is heading home from. Immediately, he is set upon by bullies, stealing his comics (Tragic!) and even his motorized wheel chair. Arrogantly riding away, comics in hand, the lead bully makes a final threat from on high….and one of his cronies catches a full body punch from Robbie. His assault carries the wheel-chair riding thug to the ground with Robbie and his opponent and Robbie unleashes a righteous fury upon the thugs face. Guns, however, negate the advantage of Robbie’s surprise attack.
As to what happens next, we can only assume as our next shot of Robbie is bloodied and laying on his back. This scene sets a tone of quiet desperation, with his brother being piggy backed home and praising Robbie as a hero, our protagonist has to fight back tears. The next two pages reinforce the brother’s-keeper feel, by showing not only the typical lawless tone of the neighborhood, but the simple pleasures Robbie can offer his brother and the small amount of pleasure he takes in providing them.
Saying that he will get them out of this place soon, Robbie, under cover of darkness, returns to work and steals the muscle car he was working on. The first time that Robbie attempts to take part of the lawlessness around him, he bets a car that is not his on a race to win fifty thousand dollars. All is going well, our hero pulls ahead on the first turn and continues to put distance between him and the other racers. That is, until his opponents turn and flee. All of a sudden, Robbie isn’t racing towards a finish line, but a sprint from the police.
His mind filled with images of everything that getting caught would cost him, Robbie leads the law on a merry chase, with a serpentine and random path through the city until finding himself trapped in a dead end alley. Raging at himself, Robbie gets out of his car, trying to explain, and not resisting as he is ordered to not move. He apologizes to his brother just before realizing something is wrong.
He is gunned down where he kneels.
Life fades from eyes slowly, allowing him to see the police take drugs out of the trunk of the car he had stolen, the face of one of his assailants, and the car set ablaze. The fire creeps to Robbie’s body and he ignites turning into Rider! Walking calmly through the fire, the Rider sits in the Charger, extinguishing the natural flames and shifting the car into an infernal vehicle. Leaving twins blazing trails of fire, the Rider roars into the night.
The greatest part of this new direction for the Ghost Rider is the gentle soul behind it. Robbie Reyes is a truly compelling and sympathetic character, an underdog that has you rooting for him immediately. Being dealt a raw deal over and over again, even in just these 32 pages, has you raising your hands and crying “come on!” by the end. With so many unfair turns of events, there is plenty to fuel the rampage that will be All New Ghost Rider.
My Rating: 5 / 5