Ghost Rider #22-24
Issue(s): Ghost Rider #22, Ghost Rider #23, Ghost Rider #24
Ghost Rider continues his vendetta against Deathwatch. He calls up Johnny Blaze for some advice (and we get to see Roxanne Simpson, as well as Johnny and Roxanne's kids for the first time).
Blaze tells Danny that he needs to step back and look at things objectively and take some time off, and worries that Danny is becoming too obsessed. In any event, Danny doesn't listen since he sees reporter Linda Wei showing a clip on television of Deathwatch in his civilian identity as CEO Stephan Lords at the grand opening of a new homeless shelter. Danny goes to Stephan Lords's office building and asks for a date with the receptionist, Renee Fuanaro, who flirted with him once before. She agrees.
That night on their date, though, Danny is pulled over by his girlfriend, Stacy Dolan, who is now a police officer.
Single-minded Danny is undeterred though, and later calls up Renee again to continue to ask about Deathwatch.
He's about as unsubtle as Mark Texeira's cheesecake.
Deathwatch's organization is cartoonishly evil. Earlier we saw him getting a report on how their terrorist activities in Europe have increased 7.54%, and during Danny and Renee's call, we learn that they do random phone taps on their employees, so they learn that someone is asking about Deathwatch. Assassins are sent to Renee's place, and her roommate is killed. Danny rides over to her place in his motorcycle (without transforming into Ghost Rider). He takes her to his friend Jack D'Auria's place and asks him to watch her. He agrees, no questions asked. Danny is then knocked out by assassins while leaving Jack's. Then Stacy and her partner come by in their patrol car, and Stacy notices something odd about Jack's place and goes to investigate. Meanwhile, Jack starts beating up ninjas.
Finally Danny turns into Ghost Rider. He takes out the rest of the ninjas and then heads to Deathwatch's office building. But Deathwatch has set a trap, and causes the building to explode. Many people die in the explosion. Ghost Rider of course survives, but he has to spend most of an issue digging himself out of the rubble.
Remember that there is a reason that the villain is called Deathwatch.
But Deathwatch has decided that his organization and costume are no longer assets, and he's going to abandon them. To that end, he calls in two agents, Hag and Troll, to wipe out what remains of his former employees.
With Deathwatch, they go to where police lieutenant Michael Badilino is questioning some of the assassins that attacked Jack's place.
Badilino is still being built up as a character, so he is able to land a shot on Deathwatch, to everyone's surprise.
He does manage to drive off Deathwatch and his goons.
When Ghost Rider gets out of the rubble, he goes to the hospital to question Snowblind, and learns that Deathwatch isn't human.
At the beginning of issue #24, Deathwatch, Hag, and Troll show up at the hospital to punish Snowblind for tattling to Ghost Rider. But Ghost Rider is coming after Deathwatch...
...and shows up while they are torturing Snowblind.
Deathwatch has been draining the life forces of people off the streets (it was his plan for the homeless shelter as well), and he also drains the life of Snowblind in preparation for the fight with Ghost Rider.
Hag and Troll are taken out unceremoniously, leaving only Deathwatch.
Since Ghost Rider's compunction about taking lives only applies to humans. As Morgan notes in the comments, this isn't even really a big turn of the plot, since it was projected in the scene where Snowblind told Ghost Rider that Deathwatch wasn't human.
On the final (Andy Kubert) page, Ghost Rider wonders what he'll do with himself now that he's defeated all of his long term villains.
The art in this series is becoming increasingly messy, and the villains are... less than inspired. It is nice to see some story elements seemingly coming to conclusion, but the truth is that this isn't even really the end of Deathwatch. Even beyond that, one or both of the creators on this book has a real problem with pacing. Taking out Deathwatch should have felt like a moderately significant event, and it was certainly built up that way. But as with the fight with Snowblind in #21, it feels like not enough time is devoted to the actual confrontation or the aftermath. There is a lot of build up and then a very short fight, and then Ghost Rider is immediately wondering what he'll do next. No reflection, no real explanation of what Deathwatch was. I suppose that could work if the idea is that Ghost Rider is basically an unstoppable and obsessed vengeance machine, and i like that idea, but that's not the way it comes across. The fights always leave me saying, "That's it?". The defeat of Hag and Troll (which is depicted over a two page spread so i'm not going to include a scan) feels so incidental i didn't even realize they were being taken out until i realized that they were no longer participating in the fight. Everything just seems like a rush. Ghost Rider is still a great visual, and when Mark Texeira is doing pin-up work, it looks great (the "I'm coming for you, Deathwatch" panel looks really nice, for example). But when it comes to telling a story, it all seems off.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 293,917. Single issue closest to filing date = 319,600.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Web of Spider-Man #89 has a portion of a fight between Spider-Man and Hobgoblin taking place in the wreckage of Deathwatch's building, with a reference to issue #24 here. So this story takes place concurrently with The Name of the Rose (and therefore Last Rites), especially since Deathwatch appeared (more or less incidentally) in Web of Spider-Man #85.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showCraig Blaze, Deathwatch, Doris Ketch, Emma Blaze, Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch), Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Hag, Linda Wei, Noble Kale, Renee Funaro, Roxanne Simpson, Shriker (Jack D'Auria), Snowblind, Stacy Dolan, Troll (Ghost Rider villain), Vengeance
I had dropped the title at this point real time for the reasons you mentioned. After being very excited for the first half year or so, the title just meandered. The new villains were less than inspired, and whatever merits of the artist, their design was atrocious.
Obviously the title would remain popular for a long while afterwards, but I didn't care anymore.
Posted by: Chris | November 22, 2015 12:59 PM
Tex is a great inker and embellisher and the art on the issues with Saltares looked nice.
Posted by: Bob | November 22, 2015 3:45 PM
So, I wasn't the only one annoyed that Mackie didn't explain anything about Deathwatch in the end? We learn that he is a "Translord" - whatever that is. No further explanation for his background or his goals (I mean, if he's willing to abandon his big criminal operation just like that, then what his goal really is?)...
*shakes fist angrily* Mackie!!!
Posted by: Piotr W | November 22, 2015 4:07 PM
This title was fun for a while but then got really sloppy. Sad waste.
Posted by: Grom | November 22, 2015 6:53 PM
"The fact that Deathwatch isn't human turns out to be more important than it seemed, since Ghost Rider's compunction about taking lives only applies to humans."
Except in the scan where Snowblind tells him Deathwatch isn't human, that's exactly how he brings it up:
GR: "I will break my vow never to take a human life."
So it seems like it's important in exactly the way it was when it was originally brought up...? Of course, Ghost Rider repeats it later when he actually does take out Deathwatch, so...
Posted by: Morgan Wick | November 23, 2015 12:05 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|