REVIEW: Ghost Rider #1 – “Totally Awesome Ride”

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GHOST RIDER #1
Writer: Felipe Smith
Penciller: Danilo S. Beyruth
Colorists: Val Staples & Jesus Aburtov

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 12/4/16

The first issue of the new Ghost Rider run starts after Robbie has made a pact to feed the evil spirit Eli’s blood-lust by punishing criminals with his alter ego.

Plot: Robbie Reyes, our current Ghost Rider, is first introduced while teaching his little brother Gabe about auto parts at his shop in East Los Angeles. When Robbie is faced with a dangerous-looking man with a bad attitude, his inner Eli emerges with a thirst for vengeance that must be quenched.

Meanwhile, Amadeus Cho rushes over to the Santa Monica coastline to learn about a new chemical element – which of course can only end in disaster. Will their paths cross while they both try to take care of things in their separate ways?

Story: The beginning may be a little confusing for any reader learning about Ghost Rider for the first time, as Felipe Smith jumps right into the action without much preamble. But as long as you have a cursory knowledge of the character (even from Agents of Shield on television), the moving parts aren’t hard to keep up with. The dialogue is crisp and insightful, making both Robbie and Amadeus feel like old friends by the end of their first respective appearances.

The opening scene with Robbie and Gabe is genius, as it emphasizes both Robbie’s heroic qualities and his primary motivation. Love for his brother is what drives his human side, even if revenge is what moves the spirit within him. On the other side of town, the interludes with Amadeus Cho were certainly humorous and injected levity into the proceedings, but the two stories did not exactly connect for me at first. Once they connected, though, the result was delightful. Even if it didn’t come together until the final page, the reveal set up the second issue perfectly.

Art: Considering the dark and gritty origins of Ghost Rider, it’s interesting that the story had begun in such a chipper manner. But thanks to the artwork, the tone is not jarring and seems to fit perfectly. The colors shine brighter when Amadeus is struggling against purple goop or Robbie is teaching his brother life lessons, and yet the darker and grimmer turn to the Ghost Rider does not feel out of place.

ghost-rider-1-e

In fact, the fiery sequences where Robbie transforms and attacks are the most visually stunning of the first issue. The interesting choice of paneling ramps up the tension by switching perspectives, while also adding variety to the proceedings. Joe Caramagna’s lettering also stands out, creating an atmosphere that’s more humorous than horrific. The art plays a big role in explaining how a hothead like Robbie could conceivably team up with a big softie like Amadeus.

The art in the extra Robbie story is especially appealing, as Danilo S. Beyruth’s lines make the Hell Charger appear truly in motion. The art team’s talent bodes well for future action sequences.

Verdict: Ghost Rider #1 was a fun start to what is sure to be a great story, especially for old fans of Robbie Reyes. The surprise appearances from other Marvel favorites – someone other than the Totally Awesome Hulk makes a grant entrance at the end – only add to the enjoyment of an already solid story.

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