By Jason Aaron (story), Tan Eng Huat (art), Jose Villarrubia (colors)
The Story: Having learned that the spirit of vengeance is actually a weapon of heaven bonded to him by the renegade angel, Zadkiel– who in turn is preparing to overthrow Heaven, Johnny Blaze travels to the mountains of Tibet to exact his revenge on the angel. He then discovers that there are many different versions of the Ghost Rider all over the world, and that they are being pursued by Danny Ketch, Blaze’s long lost brother, who is at the center of Zadkiel’s plans.
The Good: Jason Aaron delivers a streamlined revamp of the title that is engaging and fun to read. In a few well-written pages of recap narration, I understood the plot and what happened in earlier issues, never feeling lost. The artistic pairing of Tan Eng Huat and Jose Villarrubia is a revelation, and I hope to see more from them soon. Huat has a gritty style that reminds me of Kevin O’Neill, and is perfectly complimented by Villarrubia’s dynamic colors, which make the the flames on Ghost Rider’s skull literally burn right off the page.
The Not So Good: The idea of multiple versions of the Ghost Rider existing wasn’t terribly original or exciting, since Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction had already explored the notion with Immortal Iron Fist. While this doesn’t imply that Aaron can’t use the idea as well and make it his own, I felt like he was trying to make the concept more exciting than I thought it deserved to be.
Conclusion: Wow, I was not expecting to like this issue as much as I did! Jason Aaron and Tan Eng Huat have done the impossible and convinced me to actually care about Ghost Rider with a plot that is friendly to new readers and some dynamic, quality art. My only problem now is tracking down all his back issues!