Hell Is Other People…And Demons In Ghost Rider #1

by Tony Thornley

I’ve never been much of a Ghost Rider fan. It was a concept that was never that appealing to me prior to Robbie Reyes was introduced. However, between several very fun recent Rider stories, a fascinating hook, and a great creative team I had to give this series a shot.

Ed Brisson, Aaron Kuder, Jason Keith, and Joe Caramagna drag us to Hell in this relaunch.

Johnny Blaze is the King of Hell, and everyone in Hell is trying to escape his reign. When he goes after a group of escaped demons on Earth, he ends up face to face with his half-brother Danny Ketch, a fellow Ghost Rider. However, Danny is about to find out that Johnny is not the same person he used to be…

Brisson has found a hook for that series that’s instantly engaging. It’s based strongly in the relationship between Danny Ketch and Johnny Blaze, and also Johnny’s new status. Johnny has never been the most stable and steady person, so his corruption fits, even though he’s still charming and relatable. Beyond that set-up, Brisson also puts several balls up in the air that promises a lot of fun to come, both within the story and with several pages of backmatter full of great details.

As great as Brisson’s plot and script is, Kuder and Keith are the absolute stars of the story. Kuder’s line work jumps off the page, full of hellfire and grotesque monsters. His characters are always in motion- sometimes in small ways, like a scowl as two men bump into each other, or in bigger ways, such as Danny’s full page transformation into the Rider. One of my favorite things is how he sets apart Danny and Johnny, both as humans and as the Ghost Rider, with subtle differences in build, body language and how they move across the page.

I honestly don’t remember running across Keith’s color art before, but I’m happy to get introduced to him here. He does small things in the backgrounds of pages to establish the setting- such as using reds yellows in Hell and blues and purples on Earth. He really shines in one of the trademarks of Ghost Rider though- his depiction of fire. Along Kuder’s great line work, his fire is vibrant and alive, a painted mixture of white, yellow and red that leaps off the page and breaks the borders of the lines on the page with a haunting glow.

Hell is coming for the Riders, and I’m excited to be along in Danny’s sidecar. Brisson, Kuder and Keith have made me a fan of the Ghost Rider for the first time.

Ghost Rider #1 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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