Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider #1 Review: Aimless Fun with the Spirit of Vengeance

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Johnny Blaze is dead…again. This time, his check was cashed by Mephisto. As a result, the Spirit of the Ghost Rider is wandering Hell without a host. For once, Johnny wants back in, but the Rider doesn't. Regardless, the two know that they need to overthrow Hell if the guilty are to be punished and if Mephisto is to be kicked out of Las Vegas.

Johnny Blaze: Ghost Rider: #1 cover by Clayton Crain
Johnny Blaze: Ghost Rider: #1 cover by Clayton Crain

That's the plot, but it isn't very clear until more than halfway through the issue. Part of this comes from the fact that you assume that taking over Hell would involve going back to fight Mephisto again. However, the comic has something different in mind, but it doesn't let you know that until the very end.

As a result, this comic feels meandering for most of the runtime. Johnny and the Ghost Rider wander about, picking fights with demons and trying to recruit the souls of the damned. That latter one results in some bizarre cameos that I honestly didn't hate.

The dialogue is spotty too. The repertoire between Johnny and the Rider is goofy, and the Ghost Rider seems oddly ignorant of how Hell works considering that he is the demon Zarathos.

The comic apes Mad Max: Fury Road in some scenes because of course it does. Giant cars, trucks, and big rigs pursue the pair throughout a long desert stretch in Hell. Despite the unoriginality of that, there are still some cool action scenes sprinkled throughout brought to life by artist Phil Noto.

Johnny Blaze: Ghost Rider #1 art by Phil Noto
Johnny Blaze: Ghost Rider #1 art by Phil Noto

Noto's work brings a gorgeous and fluid otherworldliness perfectly fitting for both the Ghost Rider and Hell itself. It's a horrific, dark, and punishing world. The action is mostly done quite well. The colors are similarly faded and contrast deep black with blazing reds and oranges. If nothing else, this is a gorgeous book to look at.

Johnny Blaze: Ghost Rider #1 is a decent read. The action is fun, but it's spread out and unfocused. It's nice seeing a comic focus on Johnny Blaze once again, and this is probably the most we're going to get of him for a while yet. Plus, Noto's art is gorgeous. I can recommend this one, even if I wouldn't call it necessary reading. However, if you like the Ghost Rider, you'll almost certainly get some enjoyment out of it.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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