GHOST RIDER #2
Writer: Felipe Smith
Penciller: Danilo S. Beyruth
Colorist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date: 12/28/16
Robbie Reyes, also known as the Ghost Rider, is busy hunting down the worst criminals in Los Angeles to feed the vengeful spirit of his Uncle Eli. Meanwhile, an alien creature has stolen Amadeus Cho’s Hulk powers and is about to face off with new Wolverine Laura Kinney. What could go wrong?
Plot: Laura does her best to battle the gigantic purple beast, but quickly discovers his skin is Adamantium-proof. Thankfully the totally awesome Hulk is on hand to help, but not before the creature gets some of Wolverine’s powers too.
Then there’s Robbie Reyes, still reeling from the side effects of his spiritual bond with Eli strengthening. He just wants to do his work and hang out with his brother Gabe, but Eli has other plans when notorious criminal Ramón ‘Mad Dog’ Cordova joins the shop.
Story: The second issue of Ghost Rider splits its time nearly evenly between the heroes vs. monster showdown and Robbie’s own battle with his inner demon. While both parts of the story go in-depth and could make for exciting solo issues, they once again don’t connect until nearly the end. It’s clear that Felipe Smith is building up to an epic confrontation between Robbie and the heroic duo, but despite the fast-paced action the start is a little slow. Regardless, it’s still entertaining, and even minor characters like Ramón feel fleshed out and sympathetic.
Amadeus Cho is an excellent character who is stealing the show with Wolverine’s help at the moment, but that’s partially because Robbie’s side of the story has so many moving parts. Ghost Rider is both Robbie and Eli, not to mention that his brother and coworkers all have something going on as well. Hopefully once our protagonist comes face to face with Amadeus and Laura, they can acquire a common goal so that Robbie doesn’t get lost in the crowd.
Art: The artwork continues to pop right off the page, with vibrant colors that accentuate the action courtesy of Jesus Aburtov. Danilo S. Beyruth’s pencil work is skilled at capturing movement as well, making the fight sequences come to life whether they’re meant to be humorous or haunting.
Without a doubt, the fiery sequences in which Robbie confronts a new criminal or drives up in his Hell Charger are some of the most visually appealing in the series. They already bring back the fear and tension that might otherwise be missing when watching Amadeus’ usual antics, helping to ground the story as a fight for Robbie’s soul rather than a Marvel team-up. The guest stars are incredibly enjoyable so far, but it’s only right that the artwork give Ghost Rider himself the VIP treatment.
Verdict: Ghost Rider #2 continues to explore the psyches of its various characters, and promises to be a lot of fun. The only word of caution I have for it is that there may be slightly less of the eponymous antihero than the title would indicate, but that looks to be changing starting next month.