Saturday, 28 May 2016

Ghost Rider #16 (August 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 #16


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

Overview: Dan recovers from his fight with Blaze and learns how to cope with life without the Ghost Rider power.

Review: Today, a bee came through my window and I couldn’t help but consider this an omen of my impending doom sent by Abe as the days gradually counted down to beemageddon. I had taken for granted how much time I had remaining with now no less than seven days to go he clock was ticking. I couldn't give in. I had to reach the end and save my soul from horrible, burning stinging death.
As a result of his encounter with Johnny Blaze, the monster is dying as is Dan with him. Arriving at the graveyard, he crashes into a tombstone and begins to morph back into Dan. This is the first time we’ve actually seen the creature in a vulnerable position. We are given the perspectives of both characters and It begins to tell Dan that the pain he feels is a direct result of its injuries and begs him to stop Blaze. Dan, on the other hand, seems taken aback and believes the creature is harming him on its own accord in order to subdue him. Before he falls unconscious he sees the shadowy figure of Blaze staring over him at his sister’s grave.

There’s been a mystery growing for quite some time now in the comic which genereally spaking cn be broken down into four questions. Is this monster Zatharos or now?  Why is it seeking revenge? How does it have some of its powers such as the hellfire and penance stare? Is it manipulating Dan? Other than the first question, I can honestly say I don’t care. Mainly because it’s obvious the creature is playing mind games at this point and the other question aren’t really that interesting ones to answer anyway

To compensate, I’ve thought of four far more interesting questions which actually do need answering How did Deathwatch get the job in the World Trade Centre? How did the bike end up in a scrap yard? Who was the organization Deathwatch was working for in those first few issues and why was he working for them? Sure, most of these are about the villains but does that really surprise you?

Hell, maybe some of these questions have been answered already it’s so hard to keep track because at this point the series was spinning off into so many other comics such as Marvel Presents, Fantastic Four, Punisher; sometimes even finishing entire ongoing stories in them  such as the Dr Strange issue. I understand Marvel is trying to make money here, but can they not see how irritating it is from a fans perspective to lose track of what’s going on in one book because they missed its dive into another book?

It turns out Dan is in hospital having been rescued by Johnny Blaze who has been visiting him every day to ensure he is recovering. When Dan tries to attack him he is scolded by his family, who have grown quite fond of Blaze. I found this scene quite funny, his mother even likening his attitude to being as “though he comes from heaven” a little ironic given what we know. 
When Blaze berates Dan for how easy he was to track down and points out how dangerous this whole save the world attitude is given how Blackout has already managed to track him down once, he pushes off the advice and naively barks back I’ll take karate. To which Johnny Blaze states “I’ve got a few thing I can teach you” and begins kicking his ass no less than a panel later. 

I take that back, Johnny Blaze is fast joining the villains as the best thing about the comic. I appreciate Dan is nineteen but when did he become such a bone head. He mentors Dan teaching him how to street fight over a period of time and even gets him used to riding normal bikes for the distant future where he may no longer have powers and will be relying on his natural skills alone.

An unspecified amount of time later, Dan and Johnny are fixing up a bike on the front porch when Dan notices a strange chauffeur emerging from a limousine and collecting his mother who is going to church. Finding this all a bit suspicious, Dan follows the car against Blaze’s advice and comes across a church. The Ketch family are catholic and Dan increased suspicions of his mother attending a non-denominational church are confirmed when armed guards almost kill him for snooping around. 

The two hide inside to see a reverend Styge deliver a sermon denouncing all the congregation as being punished by God for leading a life of sin. Dan’s mother seems to have been indoctrined into this cult in the belief that she is responsible for her daughter’s death and that the cult can help bring her back. 

On hearing Styrge declare he can resurrect Barbra, Dan looses himself and shouts “No!” alerting the armed guards to his and Blaze’s position and forcing them to surrender. When his mother is knocked unconscious by an armed reverendtrying to defend them, Dan and Blaze use some of their street fighting move to fight back only to discover The Hobgoblin is the brains behind the church when he bursts through a stained glass window and begins firebombing the congregation. 

At this point, the bike transforms him into Ghost Rider and Spider-man shows up to remind the monster not to hurt Hobgoblin who has now kidnapped Dan’s mother.

Was Spider-man’s appearance really necessary in this comic? I guess that’s another pressing question I can add to my list that may not be answered in my 30 Days of Ghost Rider

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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