Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Ghost Rider #21 (January 1992)

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 #21

Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Ron Wagner (artist), Gregory Wright (colourist), Mark Texeira (inker), Vince Evans (inker), Jimmi Palmiotti (inker), Michael Bair (inker), Ariane Lenshoek (inker).

Overview: Ghost Rider continues the systematic wiping out of his rouge gallery whilst being stalked by a crack squad formed to bring him down.

Cultural References: A special tasks force jest about          Ghostbusters.


Review: Techincally, had this actually been a 30 day streak, I would have failed. This is now day 30 and only my 24th review. It’s been a stressful learning experience, but thankfully the grace period I had been offered was an entire month meaning I had six more reviews following this one to be finalised before the 3rd of June or some other contrived plot device to get me out of my writer’s hell.

Since last issue Ghost Rider has made it his mission to hunt down and kill off his entire rouge gallery - a particularly hard task to accomplish when you have been retconned to never kill - and Mackie is gradually building towards the final confrontation with Deathwatch.

We are introduced to the new character of Michael Buldino a take no prisoners  Dirty Harry type who has been assigned with a crack squad by the mayor to clean up the streets of New York and remove Ghost Rider. The narration tells us how similar both characters are both dangerous, both driven, both willing to viciously beat small time hoodlums with the aim of  tracking down the bigger fish.

Dan meets the officer when he interrupts a street fight and compliments Dan on his moves in defending himself from the hoodlums with both characters immediately having a sense of affinity for the others style.

I like how the smaller characters are being brought back into the fold Captain Dolan ha grown to like Dan and is thankful that his daughter has a normal blue collar worker to ground her amidst a gradually unravelling violent city, all the while not knowing that the very thing he and his daughter are tirelessly hunting is that very person or that Stacy is growing tired of Dan's brushing her off to spend time alone and their relationship is practically at an end.

The issue cultivates in a final battle between Snowblind and Ghost Rider as Snowblind cracks under pressure due to the police investigation resulting in Deathwatch betraying him by having Linda Wei subliminally reveal his location in a news footage error during her more recent reports.

Deathwatch has absolute control over the city and the villains beneath him mean little more than pawns that he can manoeuvre in order to sow corruption. I'm sure the money is good but given the villain works in the World Trade Centre it seems that the money is of very small consequence to him which is why he can seemingly hand out the drug barren or break the necks of his warriors with little worry.

The ultimate goal of Deathwatch as has been identified in his earliest appearance is the cause of mass suffering, death and agony because a mutant with a sensitivity to death the thrill of causing carnage or allowing it to happen on a larger scale feeds and fuels him.

Ghost Rider and the task force storming the premise and an all empty white fogged showdown with the blind mercenary ensures as he engulfing every panel in a blank void of white and disappears. The inking in the Snowblind issues really show off what a great job the team are doing on this book and it’s great to see the contrast between all the black and whites and how sharp and bold everything looks.

Ghost Rider has begun to show a concern for the loss of innocent life toward the end of the first year though recently he has begun to revert back to his single minded and ruthless self again. Perhaps showing that the demon is gaining more control over Dan as time moves forward. As in last issue, he is uninterested in bartering for hostages and will exact his bloody retribution on Snowblind and end his operation at any cost.

As he cannot penance stare Snowblind he instead beats his body to a mangled bloody pulp and attacks Buldino when he tries to interfere shouting out that he is now after Deathwatch. I'm interest to find out if he will continue to negate using the penance stare due to it feeding Nightmare. Since issue 11 he has been consistent in not using it but that's only been due to him fighting villains who were in some ways immune to it anyway and he's never actually considered nightmare again since.

Snowblind begs for assistance from Buldino to go for an ambulance only for the police officer to refuse and unload a six rounds into him as he lies bleeding on the floor as he has "had a bad day." We are left with the knowledge that this police officer may one day be another of the major villains in Dan Ketch's rouge gallery.

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