Writer: Benjamin Percy
Art: Cory Smith, VC’s Travis Lanham, Kael Ngu, and Bryan Valenza
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: February 23rd, 2022
Johnny Blaze has the perfect marriage, two amazing kids, and a dream job that would make the average man jealous. However, something’s not right. Johnny has night terrors and bloodstained visions while he’s awake! Ultimately, his life feels like a prison except for this nagging realization begging to escape! Let’s dive into GHOST RIDER #1 by Benjamin Percy and Cory Smith as these two bring fans back to the basics with the original Spirit of Vengeance’s opening installment.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Johnny Blaze as the GHOST RIDER and Benjamin Percy dives right in with a cold open that makes fans quickly wonder what the $&@&’s going on?! The focus of GHOST RIDER #1 lends itself to a character study about Johnny Blaze and the struggles of being the Spirit of Vengeance. However, under the surface, Percy found himself scratching the veneer towards mental health issues and the emptiness that’s so hard to explain deep within those inner quarrels of the soul. How is it that on the outside you have everything but still feel so hollow like you have nothing?
Nevertheless, the biggest problem with GHOST RIDER #1 is that the story opens so cold that fans will leave issue one confused and uncertain as to what’s really going on. What reality are we in? Is Johnny trapped somehow and is so why? Is he still in Hell? Genuinely, readers will leave swimming with questions instead of being supplied with a new beginning and a jumping-on point for the character. Is Johnny the good guy or the bad guy of the story? Again, fans will search for clues and come up with very little guidance for this series as well as its direction and purpose.
Cory Smith takes a stab at some incredibly dark and sinister artwork in this week’s GHOST RIDER #1 that’s Horror meets Creep Show with a side of cerebral thriller that will make your skin crawl. Now, what makes this issue of GHOST RIDER so eerie is the sinister facial expressions from the characters as well as the incredibly dark shadows and renderings that provide a twisted feeling about as good as any on the market today. Additionally, Cory Smith and Bryan Valenza do a fantastic job conveying some of the most heated emotions and expressions centered around violence and rage simply through color choices, style changes, and dynamic designs that add so much intensity to the issue.
You see, a number one is supposed to grab your attention immediately, provide a solid jumping-on point for both new and old fans alike, and do it all with a little bit of action and the possibility of some new wrinkles and twists with that special hook that keeps you wanting to come back for more. GHOST RIDER #1 will most certainly grab your attention and even provide some curious questions to spark some mild interest. However, the action was nonexistent until the end of the issue and the wrinkle was too confusing to hook this reviewer. Fans, it’s hard to pass on a series with only a sample size of one. It takes a writer at least 6 issues to tell a strong story.
So, maybe all the pieces will become obvious when more of the story is revealed? Nevertheless, right now I’d find it tough to invest in GHOST RIDER with so much confusion and no direction ironed out after issue one. If money was tight, maybe you wait to see if the story picks up later in order to buy the trade or back issues at that time? But for right now, I think we should give it at least another issue or two before you decide to $&@$ or get off the pot. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!