Ghost Rider #80-81
Issue(s): Ghost Rider #80, Ghost Rider #81
Johnny agrees to help, and says goodbye to his compatriots at the carnival. The mystic Vincenzo has an ominous warning about the affair.
Eliot above is the Clown of the Circus of Crime, still recovering from the Ghost Rider's hellfire.
Rocky is not too happy about what she sees as Johnny abandoning her back in the day, so she curtly rejects his none-too-subtle invitation for her to jump into the sack with him.
After fighting some wolves, the two arrive in Rocky's town, and after a little more investigation, they find that Centurious the Soulless Man is behind Sin Eater's scheme, and it was all a trap for the Ghost Rider.
Ghost Rider fights Centurious...
...who turns out to be the Native American we read about in issue #77 who many centuries ago first defeated Zarathos. This issue ends with Centurious defeated...
...and Zarathos/Ghost Rider removed from Johnny Blaze.
Centurious continues to be a player in the 1990s Ghost Rider series so it will be interesting to see how he is treated (i didn't read his later appearances in real time but i'll be covering them when i get there). I still don't feel like Centurious adds a lot to Ghost Rider's backstory, so i'm curious to see how later writers chose to work with him.
You'll see comments on this entry and the previous one where people like the introduction of Centurious and the tie-ins and revelations about Ghost Rider. As Michael says, there was a definite need for an explanation, but i still feel that it's done too quickly and conveniently, just as the series was cancelled, and at the same time doesn't do enough to clear up all the variations in the way the Ghost Rider manifested over the course of this series. And like my problem with most of DeMatteis' works, especially when he's in explaining mode (like his sort-of consolidation of Marvel's devils in the Defenders), it's all too dry with very little character. That said, this definitely reads a lot better all at once. My delving into these issues began when i was picking up the Original Ghost Rider Rides Again for the Roger Stern issues (which weren't fantastic either but i felt the scripting and character interactions was much better). So at first i kind of had these DeMatteis issues by accident as a result of that and i read them begrudgingly and not in sequence (i had #81 from a 2001 "Highway To Hell" reprint before finally just finishing off the Rides Again issues). All that said, my opinion of these issues has improved somewhat, and in any event penciler and co-plotter Bob Budiansky's art is definitely cool.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Issue #80 continues directly from the end of #79; i just haven't merged them into a single entry so that i can preserve comments.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Original Ghost Rider Rides Again #7
Inbound References (9): show
I didn't think this one was that bad. I thought that the ending was a genuinely chilling depiction of the folly of revenge, with Zarathos and Centurious left to fight until time's end... and maybe even beyond.
Posted by: Michael | August 22, 2012 10:14 PM
I think the fact that DeMatteis was inserting this Centurius guy into Ghost Rider's backstory and then using him for the grand finale here is what annoyed me.
But as i was putting in the art - all those cool panels of GR with a torn up jacket, showing his skeletal insides - i realized i was probably too harsh with this one. And despite my statement above, i did wind up picking up issue #80, so i figure i'll review/revise when i add that. Reading these issues as a straight run from #76-81 will probably help with the flow.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 23, 2012 7:36 AM
Inserting Centurious into the Rider's backstory never bothered me because until the Stern-Dematteis issues, writers never were clear on what the Rider WAS. He started out as just a transformed Johnny but it gradually became clear he had his own personality.
Posted by: Michael | August 23, 2012 8:19 AM
Ghost Rider was such a cool concept. An avenging ghost that punishes evildoers. Yet the series has just been awful and never lived up to its potential.
When Marvel was expanding its titles in the early 1990s, I heard that when Howard Mackie proposed a new Ghost Rider title, he was actually mocked by his coworkers given the low quality of the original series. He quickly showed them how great it could be with the concept done right (even though I found Daniel Ketch to be a much less interesting character and concept than Johnny Blaze's faustian bargain).
Posted by: Chris | August 11, 2013 4:03 PM
The abruptness of this book is probably due to deck-clearing by Shooter. MOKF, MTIO and Team America(and maybe a 5th book,for all I remember) all had double-size endings released very close together.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 11, 2013 5:46 PM
Your 5th book is Spider-Woman, with #50. New to stories of superheroes with chilling powers and poetic writing, I believe these were enhanced by a mystique created in 1983 when I had no money of my own and rushed through spinner racks wherever I found them.
Posted by: Cecil | January 14, 2015 4:59 PM
From a personal standpoint, until Devin Grayson revisited Johnny in the early-2000's, this was the end of the Ghost Rider. I never really latched on to the Danny Ketch character (although I made exceptions with the makeshift Fantastic Four with Spidey, Hulk and Wolverine), and aside from Gabriel Luna's portrayal on "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.", I'm not that familiar with the Robbie Reyes version, who could be the "Ghost Rodder" due to his vehicle of choice.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | January 23, 2018 8:17 PM
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