Written by: Benjamin Percy
Art by: Cory Smith
Colors by: Bryan Valenza
Letters by: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover art by: Kael Ngu
Cover price: $5.99
Release date: February 23, 2022
Ghost Rider #1 transports readers to an idyllic town where Johnny Blaze is living the ideal suburban life with his wife, Roxanne, and his two children. But ever since he’s covered from a near-fatal motorcycle accident, Johnny’s felt something isn’t quite right and his nightmare’s are growing.
Was It Good?
If you read the blurb above (of course you did because Weird Science readers are the best), you already get the whole premise of Ghost Rider #1 and where it’s headed.
In a nutshell, Johnny Blaze is living a perfect life that seems to be falling apart around him. The more he fights it – strange shadows spied from the corner of his eyes, neighbors taking on demonic form in hallucinations, a cloying feeling that something is trying to get in or out – the more the supernatural forces assert themselves until Johnny Blaze is inevitably snapped out his false dream.
In effect, it’s The Matrix: Ghost Rider edition. The premise isn’t terribly original and you can tell something isn’t right by how quickly things start falling apart., so the idea that there’s some mystery going on doesn’t stick as a curiosity-building mystery. Quite the opposite, readers will generally want to read a Ghost Rider to see Ghost Rider, so I found myself wanting the story to hurry up and get to the breaking point so we can get on with the Ghost Rider fund and games.
Is that a feeling of impatience an after-effect of a need for instant gratification? Maybe. But, it could also be that the false reality the readers are dropped into is so false and unconvincing that the deception felt pointless. Part of the mystery surrounding The Matrix and why it worked so well is the mystery surrounding Neo’s identity and his place in whatever world awaits outside the Matrix. Here, there is no mystery surrounding Blaze. You already know he’s the Ghost Rider, and you just read a double-sized issue of Johnny Blaze figuring out what you already know, so when the end comes, it’s more relief that it’s over rather than satisfaction from seeing something cool unfold.
If you’re new to Ghost Rider, you don’t learn much about the character and will rightly be confused. If you’re an established fan of Ghost Rider, you’ll likely flounder between disinterested and frustratingly annoyed.
In truth, there are some good points, so it’s not all bad. The art by Smith is excellent. There’s plenty of blood, gore, and grotesque demon designs. It appears the characters are going all out (well, all out for Marvel) with the horror. This comic looks good and if you’re a fan of horrific imagery for its own sake, you’ll like what you get here.
Ghost Rider #1 is a serviceable albeit frustrating start to a new run from Benjamin Percy. There’s very little Ghost Rider in the story, and the mystery surrounding Johnny Blaze is no mystery at all. On the positive side, the art is excellent, and isn’t afraid to lean on horror and gore.