Characters Appearing: Deathwatch, Doris Ketch, Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch), Linda Wei, Noble Kale, Snowblind, Stacy Dolan, Thomas Dolan, Vengeance
Ghost Rider #21
Issue(s): Ghost Rider #21
Having seen the end of Zodiak last issue, Ghost Rider turns his full attention to Deathwatch. But this issue also parallels the actions of Ghost Rider with a police lieutenant named Michael Badilino. Both are badass motorcyclists and both use excessive force.
For Badilino, that puts him in conflict with Captain Stacy (Danny Ketch's girlfriend's father), but Badilino and his special forces team are considered heroes by the mayor. Badilino's task force has been assigned to take down the Ghost Rider.
In the scenes above, Ghost Rider is going after people that work for Snowblind, a lieutenant of Deathwatch. That seems to make sense. Badilino, on the other hand, is driving around beating up random criminals, with the idea that he'll make them more afraid of him than Ghost Rider, and therefore be willing to give him information about Ghost Rider. I don't see how that can possibly work.
On the other hand, this is a world where muggers attack Danny Ketch right in front of a police station. So logic seems to be right out the window anyway.
And i have to admit that it does work, because Badilino's men learn that Ghost Rider is pursuing Snowblind, so they decide to go after Snowblind knowing that it'll lead them to Ghost Rider.
Stacy Dolan has just joined the police force. Danny picks her up after work for a date, but ends the date early, claiming he's tired. He's really just more interested in going after Deathwatch (et al) than being with her.
Snowblind, meanwhile, is feeling the pressure, so he calls Deathwatch for help. But Deathwatch is ready to cut his losses. We get confirmation that the reporter, Linda Wei, is working for Deathwatch, and Deathwatch has Wei "mistakenly" show a clip of Snowblind in his warehouse during a news report. Danny recognizes the warehouse, and runs out of his house to go after Snowblind as Ghost Rider. Badilino's force takes the bait as well.
Ghost Rider gets there first.
As usual, Ghost Rider is undeterred, even with Snowblind exhibiting improved powers from last time, and even after Snowblind tries to take his secretary as a hostage.
Since Snowblind is physically blind, Ghost Rider just beats him up and leaves him for Badilino, who is equally powerless to stop Ghost Rider.
Snowblind has a network of bribed cops, but not only is Badilino not one of them, i'm not sure if he really knows that he's a cop at all.
Snowblind isn't actually killed here.
Badilino will later become Vengeance, and he's already appeared in my project in the Code of Honor miniseries, but this is his first published appearance.
So much time is spent with the set-up and establishing Badilino that the actual fight with Snowblind is over in a blink. But even with that, this issue feels more focused than the book has been recently. Having Ghost Rider actively pursuing a vendetta makes the book feel less meandering, and Deathwatch may just be a crimelord, but at least he's not bizarre (in a not good way) like Suicide and Zodiak.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Ghost Rider #21-24, Ghost Rider's war against Deathwatch, intertwines with Web of Spider-Man #84-89, The Name of the Rose, which intertwines with Daredevil #297-300, Last Rites (aka the Fall of the Kingpin). Last Rites was published earlier than the other stories, so i'm pulling the Ghost Rider and Web issues back in publication time.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Good old Vengeance. You know it's the 90s when you have to make a badass Ghost Rider knock-off since the original is apparently so tame with his flaming skull, flaming motorcycle, chain whip, spiked leather jacket, and Make-People-Crazy Vision.
Posted by: Red Comet | November 21, 2015 6:16 PM
When I first read the issue, I initially took Badollino for the Punisher. They look so similar...
Anyway - the character of Badollino is another one of the characters that get introduced only not to have anything worthwhile done with them. Here, Badollino is set up as a possible big threat for GR... but nothing will come out of it. After a few minor apperances, Badollino will suddenly develop a great hatred for GR and sell his soul to Mephisto, becoming Vengeance. But nothing big will come out of it, either, as Vengeance will suddenly turn from GR's enemy to reluctant ally...
I think it all demonstrates that Mackie had no idea where he was going with most of his GR stuff.
Another example: the HEART team...
Posted by: Piotr W | November 22, 2015 1:30 AM
Come to think of it, this book does not really benefit from a long term reading, now does it? It seems to work best when read with an expectation of done-on-one thrills with no big effort to form a coherent whole.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 22, 2015 8:47 AM
Yeah, when you read a lot of GR issues, you can notice... stuff. Like Danny's relationship with Stacy going absolutely nowhere - Mackie does almost nothing with this character, aside from her (rightfully) complaining that Danny's neglecting her. Similarly, Danny's mother is a plot device, not a character - she's so poorly defined that she even changes her appearance completely in the course of the book! It's like Mackie introduced these characters, but had absolutely no idea what to do with them...
Frankly speaking, this GR series is awful. Watch for Fnord's future reviews, folks - you'll see some absolutely astounding crap.
Posted by: Piotr W | November 22, 2015 12:40 PM
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