Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel Comics)
It’s been a long time since we’ve had a Ghost Rider title on the stands, but with the latest series, the question is “which Ghost Rider do you follow”? Danny Ketch? Johnny Blaze? Robbie Reyes? Well, if you’re the new creative team of Ed Brisson and Aaron Kuder, you split the difference between Blaze and Ketch, and let Reyes hang out with the Avengers.
With Johnny Blaze serving as the new king of Hell, it’s up to his brother Danny Ketch to take up the mantle of the Ghost Rider on Earth and punish the souls of the guilty. But Blaze isn’t having the best of times in Hell, as the demons of the realm aren’t too happy with their new ruler, and are constantly escaping and undermining him at every turn. As Blaze heads to the surface to track down some of his rogue demons, Danny Ketch is visited by the spirit of his dead mother, who warns him that Johnny Blaze is not what he seems, and is in fact slowly being corrupted by the realm he rules, leading to a war that will be for the very souls of the Ghost Riders themselves.
Ed Brisson is no stranger to some of the darker heroes of the Marvel universe, but he really does a fantastic job with Ghost Rider. Splitting the spotlight between the two most well-known Ghost Riders is really a genius idea, and he balances both characters expertly. Both Blaze and Ketch have interesting stories, and while I’ve always been an OG Ghost Rider guy, I have to admit that Ketch is written really well in this series, and is just as compelling as Blaze.
Aaron Kuder’s name on the credits for this issue sets a pretty high expectation for the book, and luckily he doesn’t disappoint. Kuder is really put through his paces with this issue between showing off Hell and it’s demons, AND showcasing the human world as well. But he handles the challenge expertly, and even has some of the coolest splash pages around in this issue. With any luck, Kuder will be on the title for a long time, as he establishes a very high bar with this issue that will be very hard for other artists to live up to.
Ghost Rider has long been one of my favorite Marvel characters, but lately it’s seemed like he’s been an afterthought with the publisher. However, this new series looks to finally give us a Ghost Rider series that’ll please both Blaze and Ketch fans of the character, and gives us a pretty nifty hook to boot. I’m ready to ride again next month.