When the All-New Ghost Rider series was announced I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It was exciting, but it was a huge departure from the character and comics that I love. Needless to say, any anxiety evaporated after reading the first nitrous-oxide fueled ride that was the first issue.
The muscle car isn’t the only thing different about this new Ghost Rider either: not only is the first issue in this volume one of the most thrilling opening comics I’ve had the pleasure of reading, but it also paints a really interesting, culturally rich picture of Los Angeles that makes me wish there was an interview with Felipe Smith that focused on just that aspect and some of his influences because I’m sure it’d be fascinating. Despite setting the story in East L.A., most of the events happen in a fictional area of the city called Hillrock Heights. Gang violence is a very real problem that Robbie Reyes, our new Ghost Rider, has to deal when he isn’t taking care of his younger brother and trying to keep up his grades in school.
The creative synergy between Smith and Tradd Moore is amazing and Moore’s layout and fresh, fun, energetic art is perfect for the story. His paneling is inspired and a few pages in particular really blew my mind. From street races to a SWAT team breach, every issue is a treat just to crack open.
The first two issues in this new series are pure, non-stop adrenaline and are an amazing ride that build suspense up before things pull back a bit in #3 and we see Robbie learn a bit about the spirit of vengeance and his connection to it. That said, there are still so many questions left unanswered, and an even bigger question for Robbie to wrestle with by the end of the volume, that you may find yourself desperately scrolling through Smith and Moore’s Twitter feeds just to catch a glimmer of what is to come.
Any longtime fans will find some interesting references that are alluded to and will get to enjoy a villain that hasn’t been matched up with any Ghost Rider since the 90s. Everything about the series is fresh and interesting and I can’t wait to see how Robbie wrestles with having the power to exact vengeance on a portion of the community actively making his life difficult and trying to walk the straight and narrow to be a good role model for his younger brother, Gabe. It is going to be an interesting struggle and I enjoy the fact that the title is doing its own thing and is very personal rather than trying to fit itself into the bigger Marvel Universe. This is one to watch!