One of the recent books All New Marvel Now Electric Boogaloo.1 released was a brand new Ghost Rider book. I’ve… never read a single comic with the character in it before, so what better place to jump on than now? Fellow reviewer Dave got to check out the first issue and liked it quite a bit, but I’m jumping in to check out the second issue. Is it good?
All-New Ghost Rider #2 (Marvel Comics)
Last issue, Robbie Reyes was gunned down by some sort of paramilitary group who was after some duffle bags full of strange pills. However, what these gunners didn’t expect was that Robbie would be revived as Ghost Driver! Now there is some serious hell to pay (pun may have been intended).
That dude in the lower right corner is so high right now.
I honestly didn’t know what to think about this series before I started reading it, but after doing so, I have to say that it is a lot of fun. It weaves normal, real world issues and humanity with insane, kinetic, over the top situations and ridiculous villains into the story. Both are blended together and make for a great, memorable comic with tons of personality. In some ways it’s a strange hybrid of a “Based on a true story” and a manga. Now, whether or not this makes this a good Ghost Rider story I have no idea, but it certainly makes for a unique experience if you are searching for one.
The story picks up almost immediately after the last issue, which was similar to the first issue of Ms. Marvel in that it’s primarily an origin story; we are introduced to the the human character (Robbie Reyes), a glimpse at his powers and his current situation in their life. The second issue is where we start getting a storyline going for the more “superhero” part of the comic; in issue #2 we are introduced to the villains and the problems that spawn from them. That storyline is interesting, though this is the second comic this week I’ve read where bad guys were selling drugs that people turn into super-powered beings so not the most original. Also, both storylines with Ghost Rider and the villains haven’t really intersected yet and the story is still slowly developing the origin for the character, so the story still doesn’t feel like it has completely gotten off the ground yet.
Guys, he’s offering us free vodka! Why aren’t we jumping at this offer?!
Felipe Smith’s writing is pretty good for the most part. He paces the comic well enough and his storytelling skills are fine. The human and emotional aspect are both very strong here with Reyes being a relateable and sympathetic character. The villains are a bit on the bland side, having no real personality besides mad scientist, soldier/gangsta goons, and evil drug dealer (who’s also strangely jaded despite someone wrecking his home at one point). Also, there’s not much of a supporting cast at this point besides Reyes’ little brother, who is so far just your basic morality pet and motivational story element that makes Reyes do things. The dialogue is pretty memorable though with the amount of unique accents and drawls people talk in, which allows for the story and setting to have a bit more personality to it.
The artwork is by Tradd Moore, who did the second issue of Zero awhile back. Unlike Zero though, his artwork very much fits the tone and energy of the book perfectly. I said the comic had a manga-esque vibe to it and it’s very apparent with the way the characters are drawn and how they react, the layouts and fight scenes, and some of the stylistic choices. It is the type of the art that really works with the book’s kinetic and over the top nature, yet also surprisingly adept at capturing some of the more human moments (although sometimes it’s a bit too goofy looking in areas to buy into the scene). Outside of the occasional bad body physiques and musculature (why are people’s heads so tiny?!), it’s a good looking book. The only other thing worth commenting on is the design of Ghost Rider/Driver. There’s a lot mixed reaction to his design and my thoughts on it are that it looks like a weird and unusual cross between the Smiling Titan from Attack on Titan and a Hollow Mask from Bleach. Like I said, manga vibe.
I mean, I’m not the only one seeing this right?
Is It Good?
All-New Ghost Rider #2 is a very enjoyable read. While the story is still just starting, there is a lot of fun to be had with this blend of the real world and a vibrant and kinetic comic landscape. Combined that with a solid protagonist and visuals that fit the comic almost perfectly and this is easily one of the better and unique experiences Marvel has put out. Iffy design choice aside, this is a book worth giving a shot.