Tragedy strikes as Johnny Blaze dies in a horrific biking accident. However, Blaze’s oldest ally, the Spirit of Vengeance reunites with the recently deceased biker. Ghost Rider is back, but it’s complicated.
It has been a while since Johnny Blaze punished the guilty. He and his wife were living a peaceful life. Their home was in a small town that appeared good to them and their children. Yet, the accident would change all that. Johnny was now suffering from some nightmares produced by the spread of darkness. They revealed to Johnny that his town was just masking itself. Once more, Johnny would take over as the rider. This means he has reclaimed the mission of imprisoning any evil he encounters. Here is the return and continuation of the Ghost Rider.
We start off with Johnny waking up in a field. He narrates how he has no memory of what happened. All he knows is that his clothes are gone and he caused a mini fire. Also, he has staples in his head. Briefly, a flashback shows Ghost Rider and how he landed in the forest. Johnny cloths himself and makes his way to find shelter.
While on the road, he concludes that he is in Idaho. This is while he is continuing to state that he just wants to be himself again. In Utah, Agents Warroad and Whilmer are driving. More than likely, they are looking for the Spirit of Vengeance. The pair are talking about the government and how Whilmer is so organized.
As the drive progresses, Warroad talks about her superpowers to herself. She can see into anyone’s future. Warroad elaborates, describing some stories that left a negative impact on her. Not just personally, but anyone that lost their lives in some dreadful ways. So of them being cancer, a fire, a flood, and being crucified.
The young woman sees that Ghost Rider’s spirit is responsible for her power. Back in Idaho, Johnny is hiding out at an inn. He watches the news as it details the mysterious disappearance of 20 people. He then sees the wound he has reopened and an eye is popping out. Maybe another sign for Johnny.
In the basement, we see the manager greeting a little girl with her parents. This interaction was suspicious because of their placement and the skull he drew on their glass door. Johnny then asks for the manager’s help. He needs money and offers his assistance to clean up the inn. The manager agrees, allowing Johnny to work. During the clean montage, Johnny talks about how he will manage alone.
He also sees some sheets that have shadows of burnt bodies on them. This scares him and he breaks a mirror. He briefly gazes upon his sinister reflection. He then discovers the basement and the blood of the family from before. This is enough to reignite the flame of the rider. Despite this, Johnny does not want to fight again.
Even lower in the inn, the manager summons a creature to consume the family. The father is eaten as his wife and daughter look on in horror. Suddenly, the fire pierces the darkness as Ghost Rider dishes out punishment. He first uses his stare to cause the manager to snap his own neck. Ghost Rider then fights the supernatural beast.
This monster is eventually killed, with the rider telling the creature to relay the message of its killer’s return. The agents made it to the scene. They leave their car, hearing witnesses explaining what happened. One lady pointed out that “a man with a flaming skull” was behind this. Warroad then promises to find the very being that brought this curse onto her.
This was a nice read! Benjamin Percy really did a great job in humanizing Johnny Blaze! I enjoyed the dialogue from him throughout the issue. This is especially true in the beginning. Seeing the complicated relationship between Johnny and the spirit carries this story. It is almost like getting back with a toxic ex or addiction to drugs. I also love how Warroad is also involved in this curse. Two people that never asked for their abilities. Only to be flipped off by the Spirit of Vengeance is great storytelling. Not to mention, the tragedies they witnessed and/or endured.
As for art, it too was great! Cory Smith, Brent Peeples, and Bryan Valenza nailed it! Seeing Ghost Rider at the start and end of the story was expected. Yet, these artists delivered. The scenes of Warroad’s ill-fated predictions added more weight to the issue too. Once more, Johnny is the person you have to feel bad for. The same goes for this new character, Warroad. It is sad to see her and those around her suffering.
The reflection of Ghost Rider on the broken glass also told its own story. Johnny Blaze is and will forever be the Spirit of Vengeance, even if he does not want the role. That may have been my favorite image from the story. Finally, Kael Ngu deserves praise for their work on the cover. It again highlights Johnny’s struggle with the very thing that saved his life. No matter how hard he tries, he can never escape his duties.
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