Characters Appearing: Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Zarathos
Ghost Rider #48
Issue(s): Ghost Rider #48
It starts with Johnny Blaze riding through the desert and noticing some large "birds" that turn out to be, well, he calls them "vampires".
He transforms into Ghost Rider and chases them away with his hellfire. When he transforms back into Johnny, he finds himself "So weak! So drained! It's as if every time I become the Ghost Rider, some mortal part of me is consumed!". So he staggers to the nearest house and is met by a woman that is aware of the vampires. Her name is Tabitha Arcanne, which probably should have triggered an alarm bell for Johnny, but she seems innocent enough at this point.
We then cutaway to the master of the "vampires". He's an ABTV (American Born Transylvanian Vampire), part of the family of vampires that first brought the Undead to America. Or maybe he's not American born. Vampires don't have offspring, so i guess he was turned into a vampire and then brought here? A little unclear to me. But i'm more interested in his "vampires", which seem to really just be giant vampire bats. I know that vampires can change into bats, but we never see these bats in human form, and he talks to them like they are pets.
Meanwhile, one of the locals saw Johnny change into Ghost Rider when he was picked up by that bat, and instead of thinking "Hey, maybe that guy can help us with the plague of vampires in the area!", he organizes a lynch mob to hang Johnny for being a demon.
The sheriff shows up to stop the lynching. I don't know what to think of that grin on the deputy; you'd think the cops were showing up for some nefarious purpose instead of rescuing a guy from a lynching, but that isn't the case.
While in jail, Johnny hears that Tabitha has been taken by the vampires. So he transforms into Ghost Rider and busts out of jail to rescue her. But it turns out that she really is a bad guy.
The ABTV has an amulet that transforms Ghost Rider back into Johnny. But Johnny is able to overpower him...
...and smash the amulet. Neither the guy nor Tabitha exhibit any kind of vampiric powers. Blaze burns the "vampires" with his hellfire and then burns the house down around our two whatever-they-ares.
It's not like Marvel doesn't have a rich history of vampires to draw on, so i don't know what's going on in this story.
This is not too different than the past two years or so of stories except for the weirdness of the vampires. But in the lettercols people are starting to wonder why Ghost Rider isn't doing continued stories now that the book is monthly, and why Ghost Rider isn't seeing more of the larger Marvel universe, and there's also a lot of speculation about the developments regarding the Ghost Rider demon. Steven Grant (who is somewhat weirdly answering the letters for this issue even though he doesn't have any other credit on the book) says that Marvel is deliberately keeping Ghost Rider away from Marvel's superheroes to preserve the creepy tone of the series.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Ghost Rider vol. 2
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