Ghost Rider #45-46
Issue(s): Ghost Rider #45, Ghost Rider #46
After Ghost Rider tracks down and hellfires the thugs that trapped him for the wizard last issue, he transforms back into Johnny Blaze, an act that increasingly saps the energy from Johnny. So Johnny staggers into the nearest tavern where they happen to be watching a motorcycle event on television. And it seems that a new motorcycle hero, Flagg Fargo, has become the only person to replicate one of the stunts that Johnny Blaze has performed. And Flagg is not afraid to trash-talk Johnny, either, calling him "afraid", "through", and even a "sissy".
The people in the tavern eventually recognize Johnny as the former motorcycle hero, and they've got a local cycle club and they offer to set him up with equipment so that he can challenge Flagg.
We're clearly set up to not like Flagg, and that's intensified when it seems like Flagg may be behind a string of robberies in the area.
But if nothing else, Flagg is a good motorcyclist, while Johnny is out of practice.
And Johnny is no hero. As the competition goes on, he gets increasingly violent and unable to restrain himself when Flagg taunts him.
The twist is that Flagg has nothing to do with the robberies.
Johnny eventually rallies and has a much better second day, but still fails to win the competition by 5 points. Flagg is impressed enough with Johnny's second day performance that he offers him the trophy, but Johnny declines.
Between the Stunt-Master, Team America, the Human Fly, and Ghost Rider, i've read more comic books about guys driving motorcycles than any reasonable human being ever should, and for the most part they are kind of boring. I'm not a racing fan in real life either, but comics don't come close to matching the excitement of watching real people on television. But this story works really well because it acknowledges the fact that Johnny has been riding around the country feeling sorry for himself. So having him swoop in and win this competition (or using his Ghost Rider powers, which he doesn't) would have been a cheat. So there's some good drama to be had here in having Johnny lose.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Ghost Rider vol. 2
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