This week, in celebration of his debut in the coming season of Agents of Shield, we will be focusing on Robbie Reyes, the All-New…
This recommendation will be a little different than the previous entries since this run of Ghost Rider recently ended back in the spring of 2015. Created by writer/artist Felipe Smith and artists Tradd Moore and Damion Scott (Moore started the series and Scott finished it), All-New Ghost Rider follows the story of high school student, Robbie Reyes, as he tries to balance his family life, personal life, and being possessed by his killer satanist uncle.
Robbie lives in East Los Angeles, which isn’t the kindest place in the world, and he takes care of his younger brother Gabe while going to school and working as a mechanic. One night while joy riding in a beautiful, black muscle car from the shop, Robbie is corner by some gang members and gunned down, but instead of dying he is reborn with the help of his evil uncle Eli’s spirit. Eli initial acts as if he is a spirit of vengeance and tries to force Robbie into combat scenarios in order to quench his blood lust. Eli also several times through out the series attempts to push Robbie to his breaking point in order to take over his body and act out his twisted desires. This high octane thrill ride sees Robbie go head-to-head with the likes of Mister Hyde and his gang of Blue Hyde soldiers along with the original Ghost Rider himself, Johnny Blaze.
Besides being a young Mexican American teenager, Robbie is a unique take on a classic character given his fancy of muscle cars and street racing. And while his bond with Eli gives him similar powers to other riders, like access to fiery chains, his abilities overall are vastly different. Mainly Robbie can control his car in fascinating ways such as being able to teleport to and phase through it. He can also control the car while he is not in it and use it as a distraction when necessary.
The story of All-New Ghost Rider focuses heavily on the themes of family and family dynamics given that Robbie is Gabe’s parent/guardian from the very beginning of the series. And due to Eli being the cruel and evil uncle that he is, his bond with Robbie isn’t one that works in Gabe’s favor. In fact, the underlying relationship between these three characters tends to be more interesting than his conflict with Mr. Hyde as the series progresses, but Robbie’s final internal battle with Eli is left for the last few issues. It is unfortunate that the series ended right when the story was starting to address Eli and Robbie’s bond and how it might move forward, but with the forthcoming debut in Agents of Shield we may see Robbie’s return to comics sooner than later.
The art throughout this particular series also outshines the writing. This is not to say that All-New Ghost Rider is a bland read by any means, but more that Smith, Moore and Scott along with colorist Val Staples perfectly capture the chaotic fury of Ghost Rider. The sharp, almost jagged and uncontrolled, yet simultaneously fluid line work coupled with the ocean-like flames flowing across each page present a Ghost Rider that is born in the fast paced nightlife of LA. There are many moments that the comics’ art feels even graffiti-esque and speaks to the gritty and unpredictable world of urban living. Staples’ colors are on point in every single panel, with mesmerizing red and oranges hues splashing across the darkened streets of LA. You can feel the chaos and madness that is lurking between the spaces of each panel, especially in the later issues involving Robbie’s immense struggle with Eli.
All in all, this series’ art is just a wondrously intense spectacle to behold…
After reading All-New Ghost Rider, it makes sense to include Robbie’s version of Ghost Rider as the supernatural element of Agents of Shield. The family themes that are laced throughout his story would translate well into the AoS universe since the show already deals extensively with the idea of family. It would also be a nice way to reintroduce Mister Hyde back into the series after his departure at the end of Season Two. Having a crazed Hyde back on the streets alongside the emergence of Ghost Rider would be an interesting turn of events for the agents to have to confront, especially Daisy. It also couldn’t be better timing for Ghost Rider’s return to the screen given the release of Dr. Strange scheduled for this fall. This gives the AoS creative team the freedom to explore the more mystical and supernatural elements of the Marvel Universe.
And as AoS executive producer Maurissa Tancharoen explains… “it’s Ghost Rider with the flaming car! It’s kind of awesome.”
It is. It is indeed.
Reviews and Impressions:
*All image are property of Marvel comics