Ghost Rider #4
Issue(s): Ghost Rider #4
So any question about whether or not Ghost Rider can handle a "Thor level" villain is pretty moot. From what i've seen of him so far, there's no reason why he couldn't handle such a high level threat, since his powers are mystical, but so far Howard Mackie is still keeping him "street level" (the next two issues are a team-up with the Punisher, for example).
The fact that Mr. Hyde has roots in the horror genre makes him a good foe for Ghost Rider, and Mackie will also use the Scarecrow in a few issues presumably for similar reasons (compare to the original Ghost Rider's supervillains like the Enforcer and the Water Wizard). Mr. Hyde doesn't exactly become a regular member of Ghost Rider's rogues gallery. But he will appear in the book again. And i recall a two-page advertisement for a Ghost Rider 1-900 trivia game of some sort, which included Hyde as one of the Ghost Rider's villains. I hadn't been reading Ghost Rider at that time, and i was wary because of the Blackout situation (i knew the one from the Masters of Evil, clearly a different guy than Ghost Rider's Blackout), and i remember the art not doing a great job of depicting Hyde (i'll post the ad when i come across it). So i wasn't sure if it was the real Mr. Hyde. But clearly it was, and someone thought enough of his appearances in Ghost Rider to include him in a listing of his villains.
Anyway, as you can see from the scans above, Calvin Zabo winds up getting himself in trouble with a motorcycle gang while he's in a weakened state and unable to transform into Hyde. Meanwhile, Danny Ketch decides to try to give up being Ghost Rider because "what he does sickens me", so he brings his motorcycle to a friend, Jack D'Auria, who works in a parking garage. Jack agrees to lock up the bike for him (without knowing the real reason).
Jack will much later become the ninja vigilante Shriker.
The bikers wind up chasing Mr. Hyde into the garage. And the bikers are as much a menace as Hyde, so Danny starts wishing he could turn into Ghost Rider. He's trapped nowhere near where his bike is locked up, but it suddenly appears in front of him.
Meanwhile, Zabo has managed to transform into Mr. Hyde.
So Ghost Rider's fight is with Hyde, not the biker gang.
Ghost Rider's stare changes him back into Zabo.
But he's not finished with him yet.
Mr. Hyde does manage to get away (with Ghost Rider again not showing much interest in pursuing his opponent when they flee).
An unrelated final scene shows a pair of thugs stealing a baby from a woman pushing a stroller, which may have been intended as a set-up for next issue's Punisher appearance, except that will end up being a fight with Flag-Smasher and ULTIMATUM. And that baby looks pretty damn menacing, so i dunno; maybe those thugs did the world a favor.
From a certain perspective, this is a very Silver Age story, with the hero vowing to give up his super-identity but then being forced to transform anyway. But that skeleton of a plot structure is fleshed out with very dark and gritty material. There's nothing here that counts as character development, but it's a fun battle between a flaming skeleton and Mr. Hyde.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Mr. Hyde talks about his fight with the Hulk from Hulk #368, and in fact he's weak as a result of that fight. But i have Mr. Hyde appearing in Deathtrap: The Vault after Hulk #368. That's not necessarily a problem, and in fact this may explain his poor showing in Deathtrap (and Hyde does mention not wanting to go back to the Vault).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I remember really enjoying this book for about a year, and even tried to lend it to you at one point. It's the one book by Mackie that's worth your time. I'm glad it seems to hold up.
Posted by: Wanyas the Self-Proclaimed | June 3, 2015 3:49 PM
I remember that ad. I think it was around the Infinity Gauntlet time-frame.
Posted by: Thanos6 | June 3, 2015 4:16 PM
Fnord, we'll find out what happened to the baby in issue 9.
Posted by: Michael | June 3, 2015 7:52 PM
I may be in the minority here, but I actually preferred the art on the book at this point over Tex taking full control later on.
Saltares had a great sense of composition, storytelling and layout that was lost when he left.
Posted by: Bob | June 4, 2015 3:10 AM
Strange to think as late as this appearance is, I believe Dr Calvin Zabo's identity as Mr Hyde was still a secret as no one had ever seen Zabo turn into Hyde and vice versa.
Posted by: Chris | December 30, 2015 12:07 AM
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