Ed Brisson has breathed new life into Ghost Rider in the main series, and now he gets to do it again in the 2099 universe with Damian Couceiro. Of all the characters in the Marvel 2099 Alpha comic, Ghost Rider was the most intriguing to me since I gathered his angle but had no clue who he was. That makes this one of my most anticipated 2099 one-shot stories. Set around Transverse City (between Detroit and Chicago) this is a punk heist story well worth a look.
There are a couple sci-fi ideas thrown into this book that makes it stand out. It opens with a biker gang called the Hotwire Martyrs infiltrating a truck to snatch something valuable. A guy named Zero can literally connect his brain to the computer and he goes for a little ride to lock out anyone who wants to lock his gang out. In a sequence revealing Zero in some kind of ghost/spirit state inside the computer programming, things get hairy when it all goes up in flames. There’s a techno hacker feel to the narrative that connects well to the Spirit of Vengeance that’s a fun twist on the concept of the character. The 2099 feel works well with a heavy dose of future-slang thrown into the earlier pages. It can take a second to acclimate to the language, but it’s a nice touch to remind us where (when?) we are.
Brisson also brings in a family matter that adds weight to Zero’s desire for revenge. If a man can disavow his own son for an organization, it’s certainly not a company that’s above board! The concept of the Ghost Rider is also quite cool, mixing the Spirit of Vengeance with the Terminator. Also, you just can’t beat flame saws!
The art by Couceiro with colors by Dono Sanchez-Almara and letters by Joe Caramagna is quite good too. I’m starting to think we’re in some kind of new golden age of comic book art because it’s hard to find a book that isn’t super detailed or impressive in its own style. The technological world Zero taps into looks good and there’s some great use of shadow to convey evil or darkness in the book. The design of Ghost Rider himself stands out too. This idea of Transverse City being millions of cars of all sizes driving all the time is conveyed well too.
The book appropriately ends so that you’ll want more, but that’s partly due to not a lot being developed. Where Zero goes from here remains to be seen since he technically got his vengeance. As far as we know he’s a two-bit criminal without purpose, so maybe his “creator” will give him more to do.
As another 2099 standalone issue, I had fun with this story. It’s low stakes since it doesn’t require you read other 2099 stories and it essentially offers an origin story for a new kind of Ghost Rider. Who doesn’t want a Terminator-style Ghost Rider complete with a flame saw? Nod your head and run to the comic store because we all know the answer to that!
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