Ghost Rider #4
Smith, Moore, Staples
I will most certainly be SPOILING!
The Hyde-mutated Grumpy ripped out of the Charger at the end of last issue, but the two didn’t get the chance to come to blows. This month, we start with Robbie scoping more of his changing body, this time scars instead of an eye color, while Eli tells him they are getting more powerful. Maybe after getting more powerful, they won’t have any more nights like last night. Last night, despite some interesting fighting and special abilities, like using the car to take Grumpy off of Robbie’s back since Robbie passes right through it, Ghost Rider very clearly lost to the mad gangster and his increasingly morphing physiology.
Elsewhere, Mr. Hyde’s more scientific counterpart decides that the pink pills are too unstable to be worthwhile, and now they are going to make a better pill, a blue pill.
Back in school, there are two things that are noteworthy. First, Robbie doesn’t do his assignment. For the teen who has high grades, this is shocking and obviously a horrible side effect of his new found partnership with Eli. The second thing to notice is the open dialogue with his new friend. He is dropping constant commentary and suggestions on what is happening around Robbie. While this is constantly entertaining, a Spirit of Vengeance comes off a lot like a hammer turning everything into a nail.
Grumpy, in his new super form, is shown at another of his gang’s hideouts, four armed, bulky, and quadruple fisting beers. His actions and size, to say nothing of his new ambitions, are putting his crew in a state of unease. Like a jock on a roid rage, he begins lashing out and using his new strength to dominate the gang, who are putting some serious consideration to getting rid of him.
Robbie and his brother are driving the charger to go get ice cream and it is a surprisingly domestic and light-hearted scene. Even Eli chimes in, saying that the boy has good taste for his age, and that he liked him. I’m not sure if this is a blatant manipulation, or if Eli is actually an ally to his new host. Maybe I’m just jaded but Ghost Rider rarely feels like he can trust his non-human half.
The bullies from school are being bribed and bought by the Hyde mercenaries. This makes things easier for Ghost Rider, as his enemies are now consolidating. All things are coming to a head, and everyone is looking for Grumpy, including Robbie, and I have a feeling they just might all find him all at once.
While this issue wasn’t as action packed and visually stunning as I’ve come to expect, it isn’t because the quality has fallen. Every story arch has a few issues that are heavier narratively and these have significantly less action. Since the majority of the really powerful and compelling art is dynamic and rooted in the action sequences I found myself missing them. This arc has been amazing and while the ending suggests that everything is building to some kind of crescendo, I really didn’t get that feeling from the story itself. I am really looking forward to the climax of Engines of Vengeance, because the total partnership between Eli and Robbie so early is new as far as the Ghost Rider series I’ve read in the past. It’s more than enough to bring me right back here in a month.