With Ghost Rider’s return to Agents of SHIELD September 20th, Marvel announced that Robbie Reyes will be returning to comics in a new ongoing series as Ghost Rider. According to TVGuide.com, the new series will be Titled Ghost Rider, and focus on the updated version of the character, Robbie Reyes instead of Johnny Blaze.
Ghost Rider was originally Blaze after all, a daredevil stunt rider who sold his soul to the devil and rode a flaming motor bike. In 2014, Marvel brought the character back with a new origin story making him Robbie Reyes, a Latinx teenager who was a part time mechanic and took care of his developmentally disable brother Gabe. When he was possessed by Eli Morrow, a spirit who turned him into the ghost rider, he was given the power to turn any vehicle into a death machine.
Despite Ghost Rider’s absence in comic books, Marvel’s timed Reyes’s comic return perfectly, the book will be written by Felipe Smith (who will also be doing cover art) with interiors by Danlio Beyruth, and back up writing by Tradd Moore who co-created this new take on the character with Smith. He’ll be providing a back up story for the first issue, which launches in November.
Those who go in expecting Johnny Blaze to appear on his motor cycle will be disappointed. Reyes is younger and the spirit that possesses him isn’t a spirit of vengeance. It’s more of a Hulk and Bruce Banner type story. Appropriate, given that one of the first new guest stars to the books is Amadeus Cho, the totally awesome hulk, along with X-23, the cloned daughter of wolverine. “The other Ghost Riders were compelled to do good.” says Smith, “Robbie makes the choice to do good things because it’s the spirit that compels him to kill.”
With the other riders literally being cursed, Reyes regards becoming the Ghost Rider as empowering. His life is already pretty awful, living in a bad neighborhood, balancing school, work, and taking care of his brother. the empowerment of the Ghost Rider is what inspires Robbie to do good, overcoming adversity to make a difference in the world, a common theme in the world of Marvel Comics these days.
There’s been quite a bit of outcry about the difference between Robbie and Johnny. From fans complaining about the car to fans complaining about the change in Ghost Rider’s facial features – ignore the voices for a moment and consider what Robbie means. Robbie is a latinx hero who overcomes adversity, overcomes his literal demons to make a positive life for those he cares about.
Much like Riri Williams, Amadeus Cho, and Kamala Khan, these are heroes that young people can see and emulate while staying true to the values and the spirit of the characters that they represent. Marvel’s continued push for diversity both in and out of the books is something to be celebrated, not burned to the ground. Editor-in-Chief Alex Alonso says the first people they hear from are the naysayers, “People that look into at the Marvel Universe now see a universe that’s reflective of everybody. It’s gotten better and better that way.”
Promising storylines that tine in with X-23, Amadeus Cho, Alonso hopes to give Robbie a tour of the bigger world he’s now been a part of. While we won’t see the other Latinx hero Miles Morales appear quite yet, Alonso is hopeful for many future crossovers. The most obvious being with Coulson and his team of SHIELD agents, though there’s no official word on it yet. Even if the team doesn’t make it into the comics or meet with Robbie quite yet, Smith – the comic’s creator – was shocked by the car on the show being the exact replica of the one used in his comics.
He was also impressed by Gabriel Luna wearing Robbie’s signature jacket, as glimpsed in production photos. “It’s super on point.” Said Smith. Even the shop is apparently straight out of the comics.
“Fans of the comic will be happy with what’s going on with the show.” said Smith, “And I hope fans of Agents of SHIELD will welcome Robbie and check out our books.”
Ghost Rider arrives in November. Agents of SHIELD returns September 20th.