Ghost Rider #1-2
Issue(s): Ghost Rider #1, Ghost Rider #2
Let's start with the motorcycle-loving cop, who, when faced with a criminal who breaks through a police barrier, has nothing but respect.
He's got to work on his bedside manor...
...but mainly, he likes motorcycles.
Meanwhile, there's Linda Littletree, aka the Witch-Woman, who is catatonic after she failed Satan and was abandoned by him in the previous arc. Her grandfather and boyfriend decide that she's in need of an exorcism, so they call up a guy. "I do specialize in expelling demons!", he says, after noting to himself that he could really use a customer.
This is the first appearance of Daimon Hellstrom, aka Hellstorm.
Then Satan changes his mind and actually does possess Linda (note: this is only after the call to the exorcist is made).
Johnny Blaze was injured pretty badly during his crash through the police barrier, but he finds that when he transforms into Ghost Rider (which happens at night), he's all better. His first order of business is to get to his scheduled gig of jumping over Copperhead Canyon. Bart Slade and Roxanne, who is just out of the hospital after nearly dying from a snake bite, are already there, and Slade decides that since Blaze keeps going missing he's going to do the jump himself.
He fails, and dies.
By the way, there's nothing in issue #1 that acknowledges the fact that it's the first issue of a new series. No origin recap, not much in the way of an introduction of the characters, and footnotes even refer to "last issue", which would be Marvel Spotlight #11. It's interesting to see; some Marvel #1s really do treat themselves like new issues that anticipate new readers (Warlock #1, for example, took some time to re-establish the premise introduced in Marvel Premiere), but other books, like this one, just keep on keeping on. This isn't meant as commentary on the quality of the series; it's just interesting how different the market was at the time.
Tom Sutton's art in #1 is serviceable, but there are weird moments, like this one where Linda Littletree is supposed to be disappearing.
Issue #2 begins Jim Mooney's run on Ghost Rider, so at least there's that. The plot is chaotic, though. Ghost Rider just kind of freaks out at the beginning and starts shouting into the sky that Satan can have his soul.
So the Witch-Woman shows up.
But she/Satan overplays her hand and decides she wants Rocky's soul, too.
This results in a fight, which is very weirdly broken up by a random gang of bikers.
Even the characters have a WTF!? moment about that. Uh, i'm in the middle of fighting Satan here, guys!
The Witch-Woman teleports Ghost Rider to Hell, leaving Rocky to the Bikers. By the way, her "Nooooooo!" in the panel above is typical of her dialogue in this series, but you can kind of understand it. Ghost Rider, getting poisoned by snakes, Satan wanting your soul, Bart Slade dying, and now the threat of getting raped by bikers. What else can you say but "Noooooo!"?
Meanwhile Hellstrom had asked to be locked into Linda Littletree's empty room and not let out under any circumstances, but he senses the battle and undergoes a transformation, and demands to be let out. Littletree's relatives comply, and we get only a glimpse of the transformed Hellstorm. You'd never know he was a good guy from this dialogue.
Hellstrom winds up in Hell in time to save Ghost Rider.
The general rule about Satan at Marvel seems to be that if it's a Ghost Rider comic it's really Mephisto but if it's Hellstorm it's really Satan. But what happens if Hellstorm appears in a Ghost Rider comic, as he does here in Hellstorm's first appearance? The MCP says that it's really Mephisto. But luckily he still plays along when he sees Hellstorm.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Begins the day after Marvel Spotlight #11. Continues directly in Marvel Spotlight #12.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Original Ghost Rider #8, Original Ghost Rider #9
Inbound References (3): showBart Slade, Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Hellstorm, Linda Littletrees, Mephisto, Roxanne Simpson, Sam Silvercloud, Snake Dance
I'm guessing #1 was really supposed to be Marvel Spotlight #12, but Marvel chose to rush Hellstorm's tryout, so Spotlight #12 became #1 after everything was completed and no time was left for more edits. I also seem to recall Hellstorm's 1970s series was originally scheduled for a b&w mag, so maybe Marvel decided to put in a color mag instead and Spotlight was the only possible place?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 23, 2013 4:03 PM
Maybe no one else cares, maybe it's an age thing, but I find it really weird that you refer to Daimon Hellstrom as "Hellstorm." In the seventies and eighties, when I was young, he was just "Son of Satan" if he was anything, and in modern comics he's too cool to have a code name at all, so I've personally never read any comic in which he was called Hellstorm. It's very, very nineties...
Posted by: Andrew | December 4, 2016 9:29 AM
@ Andrew - He started going by Hellstorm starting in West Coast Avengers #14.
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 4, 2016 9:43 AM
I do not find that comforting at all...
Posted by: Andrew | December 4, 2016 4:09 PM
Let's call for a vote. Hellstrom aka Son of Satan has every opportunity to become John Constantine to the 10th power. All these cats need to partner with Doctor Strange in the next offering from the Marvel Studio Universe and open up the can of Whoop A$$ on the metaphysical dimension as an updated Super-Group. Great characters here in need of some serious Dark dimensional Villains to Clobber!
Posted by: RocknRollguitarplayer | March 1, 2017 11:57 PM
The comic book character Linda Littletree (AKA Witch-Woman) had to have been inspired by the TV character Linda Little Trees, played by Shelley Morrison (AKA Rachel Dominguez) on Laredo, which ran from 1965 to 1967. Shelley Morrison is probably better known for her TV role as a Salvadoran maid on Will & Grace.
Posted by: Holt | January 25, 2018 9:10 PM
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