Friday, 27 May 2016

Ghost Rider #15 (July 1991)


J-Max was challenged to review 30 issues of Ghost Rider in (roughly) 30 days. Should J-Max succeed he shall earn his freedom (probably not). However should he fail in this task then he shall be subjected to an attack by Bees...DEADLY BEES.

So let's join him for his review of Ghost Rider #15

Last Hope

Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Mark Texeira (artist/inker), Gregory Wright (colourist).

Overview: Ghostrider sets out to end Blackout's killing spree.

Review: Dan is not having a good day. Moments into this issue he is shot at by police, knocked off his bike, and morphs back into human form only to be slashed at and beaten by a street gang.  It seems that every time he tries to get something done he is hit with a delay. Ghost Rider can't be killed, but he can be. Now his powers are acting up and abandoning him at the worst possible times. Then, while he is trying to conserve his strength, H.E.A.R.T. make another one of their grand appearances. I almost couldn't believe my eyes at how much crap was being thrown at him in less than three pages.

Once again, they airlift Dan’s bike away and leave him alone having been ordered by Deathwatch to clear Central Park of all motorcycles when whatever sensors they had tracking the bike lead them to that area. Now, he has to track Blackout on foot and as a human. Everything H.E.A.R.T. has done in this series has lead me to be annoyed by them more and more. They are not interesting villains, nor well defined ones and all they have served to do since issue eight is act as a stalling device. Their politics? I just don't understand. But they seem to be the glory party for vain, deluded far right feminists. On violently taking out a street gang Luz laments how the crack heads are too "whacked" out to appreciate how awesome their ass kicking is and sneers how they will probably be given a parade for removing these parasites - undeserving of civil liberties - from the streets of the working people. I was almost shocked to not see an Ayn Rand quote float to the surface.

It turns out Mackie has opted for the decision to make H.E.A.R.T. retarded as even Death Watch believes they are evil at this point when he casually informs their leader that one of his men was responsible for the Central Park murders, and to avoid taking on that case. Suddenly the human dynamo in charge of this class operation realises THEY ARE THE BAD GUYS and want out of Deathwatch's scheme. Ghost Rider's bike then takes its chance to leave and drives from the storage facility into the night as if to further cement the idea that their entire organization couldn't even outsmart an inanimate object.

In an act of reckless bravery, Dan attempts to tackle Blackout head on to prevent further loss of life. Obviously he is quickly overpowered but the bike soon comes to his aid, and then GLORY. We have a full splash page of Ghost Ride demanding vengeance for innocent blood. Before the audience gets exactly what it wants, H.E.A.R.T. show up in a helicopter attracted to the flash of the metamorphosis. And Johnny Blaze blows another depressing shot through GhostRider's abdomen. Thankfully, Ghost Rider is having none of this escalation shit and is determined to give the audience exactly what they want. He picks up Johnny Blaze, scolds him for interfering and throws him out the way before continuing his pursuit.

Then H.E.A.R.T. appear and shoot Ghost Rider with some hi tech lazer of piss me off. With so few pages to go before the end of the issue, it looks like we’ll be getting another cop out. But no, he smashes the lazer jumps up and continues the pursuit. Go, Rider, Go!

Finally after running the parkour gauntlet, Ghost Rider comes face to ugly face with his nemesis and a hostage situation. Ghost Rider is learning from previous issues. At the beginning of this comic he wouldn’t have batted a skull socket to fry Blackout here - even with a child in the way. Now, he remembers the words of the dying Morlock about the price of satisfying vengeance against the weight of innocent lives. It seems her Spock like dying quote has rubbed off on the brash and aggressive Kirk like rider. 
Blackout’s revenge extends to Ghost Rider and Dan. He wants not only to make Dan suffer but trap the daemon without a body so that he can replace it as a predator of the night making a mockery of its quest by slaughtering the innocent for revenge against the carnage inflicted  upon his face. H.E.A.R.T. - being as brash as usual - take the shot and injure Blackout. This gives Ghost Rider the chance to grapple the killer and save the child. Blaze is unclear whether using his new and improved hellfire shotgun would continue to send souls to Mephisto as his powers previously did. Reluctantly, he takes the shot which scorches the other side of Blackouts face. Nasty!! Not missing a chance, Ghost Rider beats Blackout out of consciousness.   

Before he can kill him, The Rider is stopped by Johnny who states Zarathos was a killer. This deamon, who we still are unsure of, claims that is not his style and abandons the park while the police move in to arrest the killer.

This issue was fun and exciting whilst managing to poke fun at its own flaws and successfully build up tension and playing to the readers desire to see Blackout beaten. It almost singlehandedly proves Ghost Rider doesn't need a solid plot to be successful just an investment in its characters, be it Blackout as a sadistic villain of Dan as a reluctant hero, to keep the action moving forward. I only hope the other characters are developed more in the future. If only to prevent another H.E.A.R.T.

Editor Note: Hey Guys hope you're enjoyed J-Max's review, Why not drop him an encouraging message below (he REALLY doesn't like bees), Please check out the rest of the reviews HERE or if you're feeling brave why not join in his adventure HERE

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