Writer: Benjamin Percy
Pencilers: Cory Smith & Brent Peeples
Inkers: Oren Junior & Brent Peeples
Colorist: Bryan Valenza
Bonus Story: Memories Of The Tide
Writer: Jon Tsuei
Penciler: Tadam Gyadu
Colorist: Brian Reber
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover Artists: Bjorn Barends, Rod Reis, In-Hyuk Lee
Publisher: Marvel Comics
May 10, 2023
Johnny Blaze and former F.B.I. agent Talia Warroad found devastation in Savannah, Georgia, and charred bodies in an Occult nightclub in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina. Talia determined the perpetrator was Danny Ketch. Can Johnny and Talia prevent his brother from committing more atrocities? Let’s hop on our motorcycles, roar into Ghost Rider #14, and find out!
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Infernal Labs got 20 million dollars for signing Danny. Dr. Diyu promised Danny peace by freeing him from the spirit. But what does she–and those backing her–expect in return? Johnny discovered Danny’s whereabouts. Infernal Labs responded with a knock-out punch of hellacious sound. When Johnny awakens in a budget motel, three days have passed. Talia’s worried about their chances of rescuing Danny and taking Infernal Labs down. So she helps him get his mojo back. I don’t want to spoil your hellfire readthrough, but Johnny will be surprised when he leaves the motel room.
Dr. Diyu shares her troubled past with Danny in Ghost Rider #14. Now he knows what drives her but not what she plans to achieve by severing him from the spirit. Nor does he seem conscious of all those who’ve died from his actions recently. Does he even realize what his Ghost Rider is doing once they place the helmet on his head, supercharge his powers, and send him off on missions? While Benjamin Percy’s brought us up to speed with Dr. Diyu and Danny in this issue (and the last), I didn’t understand the timeline of Danny’s missions given in this issue. Still, he’s made this story arc easy to follow for a series newby. I appreciate that.
The pencilers and inkers deliver panels with sharply drawn characters and fully realized backgrounds. Nothing’s clean or pristine in Ghost Rider #14. Like Johnny and Talia’s motel room, their world could use more than a quick clean and polish. Surfaces and fabrics show wear and deterioration. Johnny’s features show that continually flaming on and off has taken its toll. Talia’s pants are wrinkled and ripped. Tattoos cover her skin, and piercings puncture her nose and lips. Walls, workstations, and equipment in Infernal Labs manage to look dirty, yet walls and workstations show reflections. Or perhaps they’re singed from their experiments on Danny? There’s a lot of inking going on here, but it gives the characters and settings drama.
Careful readers may notice that Brent Peeples’ pages look less clear and detailed. Still, it’s not a glaring difference that’ll inflame fans. Given the richness of Cory Smith and Oren Junior’s art, I can understand their need to draft in a replacement now and then. I’m more troubled by the difference between a childhood photo in Dr. Diyu’s office and a flashback from her brother’s life. But then, I’ve never been all that hot at guessing people’s ages. Bryan Valenza’s rich and nuanced coloring shows light sources, highlights, and shadows. His shading enhances Ghost Rider #14‘s lived-in appeal. The flames wreathing Danny’s Ghost Rider skull look cinematic and remind me of the Terminator movies.
Travis Lanham makes the story easy to read with uppercase black lettering. His dialogue balloons are easy to follow. He shares Dr. Diyu’s off-panel dialogue in orange-tinged narrative boxes. Thankfully, his sound effects enliven the action without making us hear frequencies that’ll sicken us, drive us mad, or melt our faces off. Memories Of The Tide introduces Ghost Rider fans to Taegukgi, who’s traveled from South Korea to Santa Cruz, California. The police don’t want his help, but Johnny Blaze does. Tadam Gyadu’s art in this Tiger Division story looks more like Brent Peeples’ than Smith and Junior’s. It’s fresh and clean and communicates the story effectively. Brian Reber’s bright, vibrant coloring suits the sunny beach community. The villain looks suitably frightening, and the flashbacks are dark and dramatic. Jon Tsuei enhances his haunting story with a buddy cop vibe. Still, I’m not sure the Santa Cruz tourist board will thank Marvel for publishing this story.
Infernal Labs holds Danny Ketch in thrall. Dr. Diyu swatted Johnny Blaze down in the last issue. As Johnny and Talia Warroad mount a rescue, Dr. Diyu threatens to unleash the ultimate result of her research. Great art, strong-yet-fragile characters, and family drama build to a cliffhanger ending in Ghost Rider #14.