Hot off a live-action debut in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Robbie Reyes is back in his own series. With a major guest appearance from Amadeus Cho, Ghost Rider #1 takes to the streets. Is it good?
Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel Comics)
Felipe Smith’s script bursts with a youthful vigor from Amadeus Cho’s exuberance at examining a new element (and the life form that emerges), to the way Robbie and Gabe interact over Gabe’s love of ice cream. There’s an energy and a positive outlook that bursts from the script that is both infectious and endearing. It’d be a challenge to come out of Ghost Rider #1 and not be enamored with these characters.
Of course, giving them life is the artwork by Danilo Beyruth whose detailed work shines throughout the issue. From the way Robbie puts Gabe in a loving choke-hug, to a stack of books that tells readers everything they need to know about Gabe’s disability without the plot needlessly drawing attention to it, Beyruth’s artwork conveys the history and love between the two brothers that serves as the foundation to the issue.
That’s one of the great things about Ghost Rider #1: it never shies away from the fact that it is first and foremost about these two brothers making it on their own. Robbie Reyes spends just a little page time as Ghost Rider in the main story, and it’s primarily due to a criminal threatening Gabe’s safety. Beyruth and color artists Val Staples and Jesus Aburtov make these pages look astounding, with Beyruth implementing a lot of horror imagery with the rider. In particular, a set of panels where the Rider emerges from the roof of his own car serves to remind everyone that this hero still gets his powers from Hell.
Part of the reason that Ghost Rider doesn’t get as much page time in his own debut is the presence of one Hulk, Amadeus Cho. Cho’s presence in the book adds a lot of humor as he is tasked with combating a lifeform that emerges from a new element. The lifeform starts off as a mouselike critter before it takes a bite out of Cho and becomes a monster (whose purple shade nicely complements the green Hulk). While this segment serves as a humorous aside that sets up future issues, some readers may find themselves wishing they had more Ghost Rider action.
Fortunately, Ghost Rider #1 is more than happy to oblige in the form of a back-up story written by Smith and illustrated by Reyes’ co-designer Tradd Moore. This story sees Reyes face off against Rhonda Rubens, a fitness model and sometimes supervillain by the name of Pyston Nitro. Moore’s artwork is perfect for the storyline; his exaggerated character design really brings out the muscularity in Rubens’ figure, and when the clash between hero and villain begins, the visuals are brought to another level. The illustration here is stunning, and Val Staples’ color art really brings out the high-energy stakes and powers. It’s a back-up that helps serve the overall issue without taking away from the main story.
Is It Good?
With a strong relationship at its core and a perfect number of guest stars, Ghost Rider #1 is a solid debut that isn’t afraid to leave an arc set up for its guest stars in favor of focusing on Robbie Reyes and his brother Gabe which nicely counteracts a lot of the tropes most first issues find themselves using. Felipe Smith’s script pops at every turn, giving good moments of brotherly love, as well as humor when Cho faces off against his unusual foe. And while the main story doesn’t have much Ghost Rider in it, the back-up with gorgeous visuals by Tradd Moore delivers the action in the issue’s final pages.
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