Ghost Rider #12-13
Issue(s): Ghost Rider #12, Ghost Rider #13
Ghost Rider comes across an old man running down a desert road, and it turns out to be Hermann von Reitberger, a WWI era German fighter pilot. He's being pursued by the Phantom Eagle, now an actual phantom...
...who is seeking vengeance for his own death and the death of his parents, caused by von Reitberger. Reitberger just wants to see his grandson before his death, something that Ghost Rider helps him accomplish...
...before the Phantom Eagle finally kills him.
Even ignoring the sliding timescale, von Reitberger would have been around 75 years old at this point, so seeing him hop into a biplane to fight a phantom pilot is certainly commendable!
Art is by Robbins and considering the retro theme of the story it works well enough. Can't imagine what 90s Ghost Rider fans buying the Original Ghost Rider reprint thought of it at the time.
After helping von Reitberger, Ghost Rider realizes that he's become Johnny Blaze even though it's still night time. He reasons that the reason is because he's now used his powers to help people three times since Jesus freed his soul from Satan - the first was when he helped the other motorcycle racers against the Hulk last issue, and the second was with the Thing in Marvel Two-In-One.
Thinking that he's completely cured of the Ghost Rider, he decides to take the Stunt-Master up on his job offer from a few issues back. He has to go through some shenanigans to actually make it to the Stunt-Master, but once he's there he gets the job. It turns out that Karen Page is also working on the show. It also turns out that there's a million dollar price on Karen's head (we don't learn why yet), and the Trapster shows up to collect.
Johnny discovers that he will still turn into the Ghost Rider when danger is nearby, and he's able to fight off the Trapster. What's interesting is that the Trapster first assumes that the Ghost Rider is a real ghost...
...but later learns that's not the case.
In a later issue of Marvel Team-Up, the Trapster will once again become convinced that the Ghost Rider is a real demonic spirit and will be scarred pretty badly by his hellfire.
The Trapster is left floating off into the air after the Ghost Rider busts his anti-gravity disc.
Johnny's rescue of Karen turns immediately into romance.
The best thing about earlier Ghost Rider stories was the art by Ploog or Mooney or even Sutton. Robbins and Tuska aren't really right for the book.
Issue #12 is reprinted in the final issue of the Original Ghost Rider story, so just a brief check-in with the western Phantom Rider story also included in those issues: The story is now written by Tom Brevoort and Mike Kanterovich, with only a plot assist by Dan Slott, and it features the Phantom Rider and the (retroactive) original El Aguila giving the bad guy of the series a fatal heart attack.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: #13 begins with Ghost Rider still at von Reitberger's grandson's place; the issues are otherwise unrelated. The Trapster's fate is shown in Captain America #191.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showCoot Collier, Denny Armstrong, Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Gus Utermohle, Karen Page, Paste Pot Pete, Phantom Eagle, Roxanne Simpson, Stunt-Master
Herb Trimpe was actually announced in FOOM as the artist of #12, but I'm guessing he was too busy and Robbins was hurriedly drafted to replace him. He seems to have made some weird mistakes; I'm not sure if in the "solid rock" panel if Ghost Rider's head is reflected in a mirror, or if Robbins drew the flaming skull on the gas tank.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 28, 2013 6:58 PM
According to the 1/80 Comics Journal, Roxanne originally drove off Satan to show the power of good over evil, but Tony Isabella felt she'd become too saccharine, so he changed her personality from innocence to naivete. That, however, created another problem concerning how she drove off Satan in the first place.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 12, 2013 2:53 PM
Roger Stern tried to explain that by saying that she'd read the right spell in Johnny's books.
Posted by: Michael | May 12, 2013 4:01 PM
Phantom Eagle seemed an odd combination of Eddie Rickenbacker (America's first air ace, also a race-car driver whose parents spoke German and who emigrated from Switzerland) and the 1930's radio and movie serial hero Captain Midnight (minus the super-cool decoder ring, of course!). Perhaps Trimpe was a fan (as I am) of the 1966 WW1 aerial drama THE BLUE MAX starring George Peppard, James Mason and Ursula Andruss. I certainly hope Marvel wasn't trying for an answer to DC's popular Enemy Ace series, mainly because Hans von Hammer is amongst my all-time favorite comic-book characters. Whatever the inspiration, it's safe to say that the Phantom Eagle wasn't able to get off the ground or his wings at the time, puns most defintely intended.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 4, 2017 7:12 PM
Excuse me, FIND his wings, pun still intended.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 4, 2017 7:13 PM
Trimpe was a WW1 aviation fan, and I think he owned a biplane. Captain Midnight was also a long-running Golden Age comic, so he might have had something to do with the Phantom Eagle--especially when you consider that Fawcett, Captain Midnight's publisher, had a Phantom Eagle of their own.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 4, 2017 7:19 PM
@Mark Drummond Thanks for the info. I also cross-checked Trimpe's Wikipedia page, and saw where he enlisted in the Air Force and served in Vietnam at an aviation weather station, so that helps explain the interest as well. If he owned a biplane, that's DAMN COOL! Should have known Captain Midnight had his own comic, and later a TV program. He was quite the media sensation in his time. My father had a decoder ring at one point, I believe.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 4, 2017 7:50 PM
Fawcett had a character called Phantom Eagle. He was a young WWII aviator. He doesn't look too much like Marvel's version, but I think that was evidently where Marvel got the name.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | June 4, 2017 8:48 PM
@Mark Drummond: Wish to confirm that Herb Trimpe did own a biplane. In a recently-acquired copy of DC's ENEMY ACE: WAR IDYLL, writer/artist George Pratt, in the acknowledgements pages, thanked Trimpe for taking him up for a spin over the Catskills in his biplane, giving him a feel for what the pilots must have seen and felt. Sounded like one hell of a ride!
Posted by: Brian Coffey | July 2, 2017 10:59 PM
Is this the first instance of a hero picking up another hero's love interest sloppy seconds?
I guess DD dating the Widow after Hawk-eye predates it but they are all heroes so it doesn't feel the same.
Posted by: kveto | February 11, 2018 10:34 AM
Ouch. Is that a term we still use in the 21st century? Johnny dated someone else before. Does that make him "sloppy" too?
Posted by: Andrew | February 11, 2018 12:39 PM
I wouldn't use it with real people but these are fictional characters (Plus, Im using it jokingly as Stan Lee often used it in early spiderman issues. See fnord's comments on earlier issues).
And yeah, Blaze is one of the "sloppier" heroes out there as he had a lot of hook ups.
Posted by: kveto | February 11, 2018 5:15 PM
PS. I should have put "sloppy seconds" in quotes to help let you in on the joke.
Posted by: kveto | February 12, 2018 2:50 PM
It's cool. No sweat.
Posted by: Andrew | February 12, 2018 3:21 PM
Comments are now closed.
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