Ghost Rider #29-32
Issue(s): Ghost Rider #29, Ghost Rider #30, Ghost Rider #31, Ghost Rider #32
"Dormammu tricks Ghost Rider into fighting Dr. Strange" sounds like a simple enough set-up, but it takes all of issue #29 for us to get there, with Ghost Rider getting repeatedly attacked by illusions of Dr. Strange.
Some awkward artwork, too.
And the cutest, least terrifying Dormammu yet.
But also some good artwork.
But by the time Ghost Rider makes it to the real Dr. Strange, we've already had an issue of fighting between the two of them, so with the additional fight, plus the fact that a good portion of issue #30 is dedicated to a recap of #29, it all feels a bit padded.
McKenzie engages in some brute force feminism ("especially for a woman!")...
...and has Clea show up to help Dr. Strange.
There's Dormammu being goofy again. Not one of his proudest moments.
Dr. Strange winds up fighting Dormammu inside Ghost Rider's brain, while in the real world Johnny Blaze is put inside Dr. Strange's body where he has to fight his Ghost Rider self (the MCP tags this as an appearance by Zarathos, and i'm following suit).
I love that Blaze needs to take his (or, "his"; he's lucky Dr. Strange works out) shirt off to fight better...
...and i love the idea that punching Ghost Rider literally rattles his skull causing the astral projections of Strange and Dormammu to get knocked about.
When Ghost Rider is sufficiently rattled...
...Dr. Strange is able to take care of Dormammu.
While all of this is going on, there are interludes with a bounty hunter (actually, literally, "the Bounty Hunter") on the hunt for Johnny Blaze.
But the Dr. Strange storyline takes up two and a half issues. And so it's not until page 19 of issue #31 that the Bounty Hunter shows up.
Even though Dr. Strange says that he's rarely sensed such evil, he tells Clea that it's more important that they stay behind to seal up the dimensional barriers to ensure that Dormammu doesn't return than help Ghost Rider.
So... to be continued!
Whatever the Bounty Hunter had planned, it's immediately interrupted by the emergence of a gooey demon thing.
So Ghost Rider and Bounty Hunter team up to fight it. Note the similarities between them.
After defeating the blob, Bounty Hunter tries to capture Ghost Rider again, and starts rambling about his origin in the process.
It all started back in the Wild West, when the still-human Bounty Hunter tried to collect a bounty on Jim Salicrup.
Salicrup's brother then tried to get vengeance, but he got shot too (maybe it's the other way around and this is Jim).
The Salicrup brother's final action is to shoot the Bounty Hunter while he's riding away, and the Hunter winds up in Hell.
The Bounty Hunter agreed to collect 50 souls for Satan in return for saving his own, and Ghost Rider was to be the 50th. But Satan reneges on the agreement.
So Ghost Rider tries to help the Bounty Hunter fight off the new demons.
But the demons are immune to the Ghost Rider's hellfire, and Ghost Rider is forced to change back into Johnny Blaze, who is "so disgustingly... human" that the demons don't want to bother with him. As Blaze, he's unable to prevent the demons from taking Bounty Hunter away. Blaze says that the Bounty Hunter "never conquered the demon within... and it destroyed him! I wonder... will the Ghost Rider destroy me as well?".
The implication here, that Blaze is just one of many flaming skull demons that have been tricked into agreements by Satan (or Mephisto) will ultimately turn out to be fairly accurate, but i don't recall ever seeing this issue being cited as being the first clue of that. In any event, after a lot of padding in the Dr. Strange issues and the slow build up for the Bounty Hunter, i guess it's actually a decent payoff. He's not just some bad guy that the Ghost Rider has to fight, but a warning sign regarding his own path.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: For what it's worth, it's said that the mayor was trying to contact the Avengers thanks to the disturbance going on at Dr. Strange's house. But nothing comes of it. The MCP places Dr. Strange here between issues #28 and #29 of his series, but the appearance is really context free. The end of this issue sees Johnny Blaze walking out of the town that the Bounty Hunter brought him to, into the desert, but next issue begins with Johnny still in this town and not sure where he is. So i guess he wandered around a bit and then returned to the town. The next arc shouldn't take place too far after this one, then.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Ghost Rider vol. 2 (issues #29-31 are originals)
The Salicrup brothers is a nod to editor Jim Salicrup. I presume he was still an assistant at the time
Posted by: adriano moraes | March 24, 2015 5:11 AM
Yeah, that was the bad joke i was trying to make in this entry. ;-) Neither Salicrup brother's first name is given in this story.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 24, 2015 7:54 AM
The Bounty Hunter's double-barreled shotgun looks like the "mare's leg" carried by Steve McQueen, playing the bounty hunter Josh Randall in the classic TV western "Wanted Dead of Alive".
Posted by: Brian Coffey | February 6, 2018 1:36 AM
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