Jonathan, son of Kevin:
Characters Appearing: Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Zarathos
Ghost Rider #43-44
Issue(s): Ghost Rider #43, Ghost Rider #44
...and, perhaps not coincidentally, the plot deals with wizards.
That's not to say that these issues are completely divorced from what's been going on in the series. We've been seeing more and more of Johnny Blaze and the Ghost Rider as separate entities, and the purpose of the wizard in this issue is to literally separate them so we can see that they really are separate characters, albeit ones who can't survive without each other.
Our wizard, Azaziah the Crimson Mage, is approached by some common criminals on the run from Ghost Rider. He's got his own plans for Ghost Rider, so he he has them lead GR over a pentagram. Suddenly the scene switches over to somewhere else, with a random guy laying on the ground.
Oh, that's the same scene and that's supposed to be Johnny Blaze? Oh, ok.
Johnny finds that he's been separated from Ghost Rider. Notice Ghost Rider saying that he's been a true demon from the netherworld all along.
Ghost Rider leaves and goes on a mindless rampage. When Johnny Blaze hears about it, he goes to try to stop him, and sees that the demon is weaker than when they are joined.
Ghost Rider nonetheless doesn't want to become reunited with Johnny, so he burns him with hellfire. Johnny wakes up in a hospital, under suspicion for having been behind the fire that Ghost Rider caused.
Aaaand that same sequence basically happens two more times during this story. Can't these two see that they love each other?
Blaze also gets increasingly violent towards the police. Luckily his wallet was stolen by Laurel & Hardy in the previous arc, so the cops have no idea who he is.
Here's the origin of the wizard, not that he appears again.
Johnny eventually smashes his mystic whatever and lures Ghost Rider back to the pentagram, using a spell from the wizard's spellbook to re-merge them.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Next issue will begin with Ghost Rider having tracked down the criminals that worked with Azaziah in this issue, but it doesn't necessarily take place directly afterwards.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Ghost Rider vol. 2
Shouldn't this issue get a bit higher Historical Signifigance, since it reveals the Ghost Rider is a separate demon and not a part of Johnny Blaze? That's a pretty significant revelation for the character.
Posted by: Tuomas | April 4, 2017 6:36 AM
It's debatable. It's been more of a slow build. I gave the points to Ghost Rider #25, and since then it's become increasingly apparent. Ghost Rider #33 and Ghost Rider #36 are noteworthy in that regard. But i agree that this issue is the first time they are literally separated, so i've bumped up the HSR a point here.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 4, 2017 9:31 AM
Really dig Infantino's art here, even when Johnny Blaze and Ghost Rider are standing face to face and it looks like the wind is blowing Blaze's hair one way and the demon's skull flames in the opposite direction.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | February 6, 2018 1:50 AM
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