Ghost Rider #16-17
Issue(s): Ghost Rider #16, Ghost Rider #17
Then one day Danny notices his mom getting into a limousine. She tells him that he's going to "church", but Danny finds that fishy for several reasons. So he and Danny follow the limo to a (officially) abandoned church where a strange mass is being held. The leader, a Reverend Styge, promises to bring back Danny's dead sister, Barbara.
Danny and Johnny are spotted and are held by armed goons working for Styge, but then things take a turn and the Hobgoblin shows up.
The Hobgoblin appeared in Spider-Man #6-7, guest starring Ghost Rider, and now it looks like the Ghost Rider book is looking for a piece of that McFarlane action. Or maybe a chance to respond to it.
I'll say this for McFarlane: when he took the Hobgoblin and made him a religious nut and people wrote in to complain that it didn't fit with the previous version of the character, McFarlane flippantly responded that if writers only did what was already established, nothing would ever change. And McFarlane has definitely had an impact on the Hobgoblin's character; he has been a religious nut in all his appearances since McFarlane. It came out of nowhere, but it's now the new normal.
Danny changes into Ghost Rider for the first time in weeks.
And then Spider-Man shows up. Spidey assumes that Ghost Rider will try to kill the Hobgoblin, because that's certainly the impression that McFarlane gave of Ghost Rider in his issues.
Ghost Rider knocks Spider-Man away and goes chasing after the Hobgoblin, who has taken Danny's mom as a hostage. Spider-Man recognizes Johnny Blaze...
...and the two of them chase after Ghost Rider and the Hobgoblin. They catch up very quickly, and Spider-Man leaves Ghost Rider with Johnny Blaze, now saying that neither Blaze nor Ghost Rider will be of any help, and he goes after Hobgoblin on his own. Blaze winds up following Ghost Rider to the Cypress Hills cemetery. Blaze tells Ghost Rider that he understands what Ghost Rider is going through, since he also had to deal with Zarathos trying to take control of him. But Ghost Rider responds that that's not the problem at all. A surprisingly philosophical Ghost Rider:
After the word heavy panels above, Ghost Rider responds to the question of amnesia with a simple "No.".
Ghost Rider then changes back into Danny Ketch. Mark Texeira has really gotten gruesome with the transformations.
And then we see what may be an answer to the problem of Ghost Rider being so bloodthirsty in the McFarlane appearance. Ghost Rider refuses to kill. But he and Danny's personalities are becoming increasingly integrated, and Danny is all about killing.
I'm mostly joking about this, but in addition to Howard Mackie maybe trying to address the bad characterization of Ghost Rider in McFarlane's issues, there's also this scene where Danny tries to hit up a stoolie (actually, a bartender) for information on the Hobgoblin. There's no reason to think that some random low level crime informant would know where a character like Hobgoblin lives, but a scene very similar to this happened in McFarlane's story and Spider-Man got the info he wanted. In this story, Danny even attempting to do that is a sign that he's crazy with rage.
The bartender has a bunch of armed goons around to protect him, so Danny and Johnny get into a fight and have to get bailed out by Spider-Man. Spider-Man then goes after the Hobgoblin, and Ghost Rider follows.
And the key point is that Ghost Rider doesn't want to kill the Hobgoblin.
Spider-Man sticks around to take in the defeated Hobgoblin (it's not said specifically where or how, but at this point he is the more connected hero, which is kind of an odd position for him but that's a whole separate conversation).
Some nice artwork by Mark Texeira here. Mostly pin-up style art, but very cool looking. Texeira does make some layouting decisions that i think are bad, like long McFarlane-esque vertical panels that don't allow for much content, and drawing panels across a two page spread, which inevitably causes a fold to appear in the middle of what would have been some nice art. But the fight scenes are still intelligible and the book doesn't feel as content-free as a McFarlane book. I like Howard Mackie basically building off of McFarlane's work with his character, whether you want to say he's integrating with it or fixing it. And i like Johnny Blaze acting like a mentor towards Ketch. On the other hand, the possibility that Danny's Ghost Rider is Zarathos is getting dragged out too much (or else Johnny Blaze looks dense for continuing to insist on what we, the audience, have already been told is not true), and Mackie continues to kind of pile on the mysteries, showing Danny's mom going to this weird church and then basically dropping that plot for an issue and a half when Hobgoblin jumps in.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This arc starts with Ghost Rider passing out 48 hours after the end of issue #15, and then two days pass while Danny Ketch is in the hospital, and then a "couple of weeks" pass while Johnny Blaze is training Danny. The Rev. Styge story will continue next issue but doesn't seem to continue directly.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showDemogoblin, Doris Ketch, Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch), Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Jason Macendale, Noble Kale, Rev. Styge, Spider-Man, Stacy Dolan
Always nice to see Mark Texeira keeping busy while those injuries keep him from rejoining the Yankees.
Posted by: JC | October 27, 2015 5:52 PM
Fnord, why do you have the Ghost Rider in several appearance between issues 15 and 16? Even if those appearances could be squeezed into "48 hours", the Rider doesn't seem to be injured in those stories.
Posted by: Michael | October 27, 2015 8:19 PM
Well, i wouldn't mind him appearing in other books due to the mystical nature of his injury (and him), but you're right that it was a lot of appearances and a lot of space in between. So i've pushed it back. I'm still waiting to see how to handle next issue, since i see that the MCP splits it up with other things in between.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 27, 2015 8:42 PM
Yeah, as soon as I read that Ghost Rider was out of action for "weeks", I immediately thought, "Wait, Ghost Rider makes guest appearances in other books left and right this year. Oh God, I bet fnord got a sense of impending doom when he read that, even though he doesn't try to fit appearances on a calendar." Sounds like maybe you should have...
Posted by: Morgan Wick | October 27, 2015 8:57 PM
"McFarlane flippantly responded that if writers only did what was already established, nothing would ever change."
The more I hear about McFarlane, the more I dislike him and his anti-intellectual attitude about writers.
I like that what he did was used in those issues, though. Always nice to see some continuity and a villain shared by two heroes. Although at this point, the Hobgoblin honestly sounds more like a horror/dark magic title foe than the Green Goblin expy he started as.
Posted by: Nth Wolf | June 5, 2018 6:21 AM
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