Ghost Rider fans certainly haven’t been lacking any new content in recent years. Every one or two years, there’s a new Ghost Rider appearance, mostly in comic books, including limited series like Revenge of the Cosmic Ghost Rider, and Mother of Demons. We even got to see a new live action Ghost Rider in the form of Robbie Reyes on the Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D TV show. And now, there’s confirmation Robbie Reyes will become a part of a new Avengers team in Avengers Forever #3, coming out March 2nd.
But it’s certainly been a hot minute since we’ve seen a clean slate Johnny Blaze, which comes to us as Ghost Rider Vol 10 by Benjamin Percy. As the first Ghost Rider 2022 comic book, “Breakdown” brings us back to old times with an eerie return to ‘normalcy’. Plus, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Ghost Rider, so bringing the story back to one of the original character was only fitting!
New Ghost Rider Volume in 2022
On February 23, the Ghost Rider issue 1 “Breakdown” was released, officially kicking off a new Johnny Blaze timeline. The tenth volume is headed up by Benjamin Percy, who has reached renown both inside and outside of the comic book scene.
He started off as an essayist, short fiction writer, and novelist. Some of his work includes The Ninth Metal and Red Moon. He’s had pieces published in many professional reputable journals, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Esquire, Time, Men’s Journal, and The Paris Review.
In 2014, Percy broke into the comic book scene with a Batman story, and soon came to write for Nightwing, Green Arrow, Wolverine, and X-Force.
This Ghost Rider volume is his first try at the supernatural motorcyclist, but with the help of artist Cory Smith and colorist Bryan Valenza, it starts off with a bang.
Ghost Rider 2022’s Blaze Character
As one of the fan favorite hosts for the Spirit of Vengeance, Johnny Blaze comes back to the page. When last we’d seen him, he was vying for the throne of Hell, but now he’s been transported to the sleepy town of Hayden’s Falls.
With a wife, kids, and a white picket fence, Blaze thinks that his life should be normal. At least, it seems normal to anyone looking in. But in the wake of a terrible motorcycle accident, his nightmares and hallucinations get worse, drawing him ever closer to the darkness he feels in his head.
This first issue of Ghost Rider is the perfect introduction for the fraught past of Johnny Blaze’s character. The whole first issue is a struggle for Blaze to find out what’s going on. We see the insomnia turn into psychosis into catharsis, coming full circle by the end.
And for readers that aren’t acquainted with the Ghost Rider story arc, “Breakdown” gives us a simple callback/summarization of Blaze’s past. The motorcycle wreck, the supernatural visions, all of it is reminiscent of the origins of Johnny Blaze.
Set Up For a New Jaunt Through Hell
It’s clear by the end of the first issue of Ghost Rider Vol. 10 that Blazes character is set to be pitted against some pretty terrible enemies, including the Night Magicians. These nasty guys have the power to brainwash whole towns for dark purposes, as we see in the very end of issue #1.
But even though we get a sense of the villain, there’s still no real confirmation. It wouldn’t be a Ghost Rider comic without a questionable performance from our anti-hero!
After reading the first issue, I wasn’t sure whether to pity or loathe Johnny Blaze. His predilection for violence and his poor coping mechanisms stand out, mainly as alcohol abuse. We find out by the end of the comic that most of Blaze’s memories are based on a lie, but his actions are still questionable at best.
Pick Up the New Ghost Rider Comic
All-in-all, I thought that Percy’s first attempt at Johnny Blaze’s Ghost Rider was admirable. He managed to capture the essence of the character while still giving us a unique take on him. I’ll definitely be looking out for the rest of the tenth volume, with the nest three issues already slated for release:
- Ghost Rider Vol. 10, issue #2 – March 16th
- Ghost Rider Vol. 10, issue #3 – April 27th
- Ghost Rider Vol. 10, issue #4 – May 25th
Ghost Rider certainly represents something special in the Marvel universe, as it’s a mix of the mainstream superhero leagues, but it shows the dark side of power. Not many characters can handle the Spirit of Vengeance, and it shows that even though you might be influenced by evil, you can still put your power to use for the greater good. Morally, Ghost Rider might be one of the strongest characters, even though it feels weird to say that.
I hope that Percy can pinpoint that balance between good and evil in his new Ghost Rider comics, because that’s perhaps even more vital to the character than the flames and the chains!
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