Characters Appearing: Angel, Caretaker, Centurious the Soulless Man, Daredevil, Death Ninja, Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch), Mr. Hyde, Noble Kale, Scarecrow, Stacy Dolan, Suicide, Thomas Dolan, Tyler Meagher, Vengeance
Ghost Rider #35-38
Issue(s): Ghost Rider #35, Ghost Rider #36, Ghost Rider #37, Ghost Rider #38
Badilino gets the better of Heart Attack and escapes. Heart Attack only wanted info from Badilino on Ghost Rider, but now Heart Attack has made Badilino's hit list, and he hopes to take out both of them. During their fight, they hear on the radio that Ghost Rider is fighting Death Ninja again. Ghost Rider has already defeated Death Ninja...
...but they are interrupted by an attack from Suicide.
Ghost Rider leaves them fighting each other, thinking to himself that his existence makes less sense every day.
He transforms back into Danny Ketch, and then realizes that he's been caught on camera by a film student named Adrienne. Caretaker chases her away.
Danny is upset that his actions as Ghost Rider seem to keep generating more super-villains, meaning that he's doing more harm than good. But he returns to the fight between Death Ninja and Suicide when it seems like Death Ninja might actually succeed in killing Suicide (despite Suicide being ok with that). And it turns out that Heart Attack has been laying in wait.
Lt. Badilino is also summoned by the police, with one cop noting that they would normally call in Code: Blue but Badilino is so obsessed with Ghost Rider that they'd get in trouble with him if they didn't call him first. Badilino is pressuring a former AIM operative to provide some advanced weaponry.
The use of the weapon ends the four-way fight. But Badilino is fooled by the skeletonized Suicide into thinking that Ghost Rider is defeated, and Ghost Rider and Caretaker manage to subdue Badilino.
Caretaker promises that we'll now get some answers, but next issue features Mr. Hyde and Daredevil and a villain called Succubus, so there isn't a lot of room left for answers to anything. As Calvin Zabo, Hyde has been staying at a homeless shelter, and Succubus makes victims of the people there, saying that she'll use what they give her to go after Ghost Rider like Death Ninja, she has a mysterious master).
Meanwhile, Danny and Caretaker take Suicide's regenerating skeleton to a basement, but Danny decides to not wait around to watch Suicide come back to life. He bumps into Adrienne again on the way out, and then is attacked by Succubus.
Succubus triggers Danny's transformation into Ghost Rider, but Ghost Rider is too strong for her, so she flees. Ghost Rider then transforms back into Danny, and tries to return to Caretaker, but finds that the door to the basement is now gone.
Meanwhile, Succubus returns to the shelter, but this time she picks Zabo as her victim, which triggers his transformation into Mr. Hyde.
And Daredevil happens to be on the scene.
Danny also arrives, but he's stuck in human form. Then Succubus tries to attack him again, which triggers his transformation. So he's able to join the fight.
Ghost Rider penance-stares Mr. Hyde, and Daredevil knocks Succubus out with a punch (!). Ghost Rider then turns back into Danny, and Daredevil tells him that he'd better run before the police show up. Daredevil tells Danny that he should learn to trust the powers that he gets from Ghost Rider.
After the heroes leave, Succubus drains the lifeforce from Mr. Hyde.
The next issue features a guest appearance by Archangel and provides some revelations about the Firm. It starts with Ghost Rider waiting at the cemetery, with a plan to lure Heart Attack out. It works.
Stern from the Firm is supervising the battle. It seemed like Stern took over the Firm in Ghost Rider #32 (not that long ago) but here he is working for a mysterious master, although he bristles at it.
Heart Attack seems to have been brainwashed into thinking it was Ghost Rider that killed her HEART partners, but her head is cleared during this fight, and she withdraws, swearing vengeance on the Firm. Ghost Rider is busy fighting Firm goons, and the fighting attracts the attention of Archangel, who i guess just happens to have been in the area. He thinks the Firm goons look like "Reaver rejects", which is an interesting reference point for him since i don't think he ever fought the Reavers directly.
With Angel's help, Ghost Rider defeats the goons and then presses the attack, going to the Firm headquarters. The thing about Ghost Rider is that he's all but unstoppable on his own, so Archangel's guest appearance is almost superfluous.
Ghost Rider gives Stern the old penance stare and then leaves with Angel. But Heart Attack decides that it's not enough, so she returns to kill Stern. Instead, she arrives just in time to learn that Stern's boss is really Centurious and get killed by him (or at least sucked into a television, but it does seem to be her last appearance).
Note that Centurious, like so many others, is under the impression that Ghost Rider is Zarathos.
The final issue in this entry deals with the return of Scarecrow. But first, some pathos.
Awww. I may beat you with chains and sear your soul with my penance stare, but nothing hurts more than people being scared of my flaming skull face.
But back to the Scarecrow. As the Feds investigate the Firm's building in the aftermath of Ghost Rider's attack, they discover the room where Scarecrow was being kept.
Ghost Rider, meanwhile, has found himself drawn to the grave of Barbara Ketch, Danny's sister. Danny's girlfriend, police officer Stacy Dolan, also shows up at the grave and tries to arrest Ghost Rider. There is a reference to him saving her life, which is from the Fear oneshot, but there's no footnote. I noted in that issue's entry that the story ended with the Scarecrow exactly where he was at the end of his previous appearance in Ghost Rider #7, almost as if Mackie was making sure that he didn't have to reference anything from Fear. But obviously this story does reference Ghost Rider saving Stacy's life. The lack of a footnote might have made things extra confusing to people that might not have been aware of Fear, since it would seem like Scarecrow is appearing here directly from issue #7 but there's all this talk of Ghost Rider proving himself to Stacy.
In any event, Ghost Rider tells Stacy that she can't and won't stop him, and then he goes after Scarecrow.
After Ghost Rider stops Scarecrow, Stacy helps Ghost Rider hide when the rest of the police show up.
After this point Ghost Rider will be occupied with events with Blaze in Spirits of Vengeance for a while, so if it felt at all like we were building to some kind of revelation - and it didn't, really - that will have to be put on hold. And in any event the Centurious stuff will dove-tail with events in Spirits of Vengeance; Centurious was a Johnny Blaze villain, after all.
Bret Blevins has been doing a decent job on art. Maybe not as showy as the early Texiera stuff, and also not as wild and cartoony as his own art has been on other books. But he's done after these issues, with Ron Garney replacing him (after a Mike Manley fill-in next issue).
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 357,200. Single issue closest to filing date = 411,000.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Ghost Rider #33-38 take place before Spirits of Vengeance #4. This takes place after Ghost Rider/Captain America: Fear. Daredevil can't appear here between Dead Man's Hand and Daredevil #310 (which is an Infinity War tie-in), so this takes place during Infinity War.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
What is with the idea of mysterious manipulative masters at this time? It feels like there are more unrevealed masters than named villains. And it gets worse soon, with the Clone Saga and then Onslaught.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | June 22, 2016 10:14 AM
These last few issues of this book are a great example of Mackie's writing approach, i.e. making things up as he went :)
Case example: HEART. They get introduced as seemingly recurring characters. Then, Mackie seems to have no idea what to do with them, so they make almost no further appearances. Eventually, Mackie kills them all off aside from Tyler, whom he turns into Heart Attack. She appears in a few issues, then gets vanished by Centurious, who suggests that he might have big plans for her... and then, she disappears completely. No planning on Mackie's behalf altogether...
Other fine example are Danny's family revelations. Initially, nothing suggests that he's adopted. Then, the adoption comes up out of nowhere... And there are going to be further revelations, which can't be squared with what came before at all... again, a sign that Mackie had no idea what to do with Dan's family.
BTW. Guys, you really should take a look at how the appearance of Dan's mom changes through the issues. No model continuity whatsoever...
Posted by: Piotr W | June 22, 2016 3:00 PM
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