Ghost Rider #49-50
Issue(s): Ghost Rider #49, Ghost Rider #50
Johnny thinks that it could have happened for one of two reasons: either he's losing control of the Ghost Rider or there was something mystical about the spot that he drove over. We'll learn that it's the latter (at least for now).
Johnny then rescues a guy from an avalanche and he turns out to be someone that works at the dam that the local Native Americans are upset about.
The old lady's rant is particularly upsetting to Johnny, so he decides to go for a ride to clear his head. And when he does, he's attacked by a Comanche Spirit.
The old woman shows up to tell Johnny that the spirit was called Manitou.
When Johnny returns to the dam worker's trailer, he overhears him discussing a plan with some friends. They intend to blow the dam, which will flood a nearby town, and then they'll use scuba gear to rob the town.
Johnny rushes to the dam, but is too late to stop the explosion.
As he's rushing ahead of the flood to warn the townspeople, he's attacked by Manitou again. Ghost Rider speculates that Manitou thinks he caused the flood.
After defeating Manitou's Thunderbirds, Ghost Rider is hit by the flood water, and he wakes up back in time.
The time travel situation allows him to team up with the Night Rider (aka the Phantom Rider, aka the original Western Ghost Rider) for his 50th issue. Besides the fact that the Night Rider used to be called Ghost Rider himself, i've never been clear on what, if anything, was the connection between the two. As shown elsewhere, the Night Rider here is an ordinary human that covers himself in shiny white "sky-dust" and other tricks to make himself seem like a ghost.
As noted in the Comments, versions of the Night Rider have mystic attributes too, and the movie version is actually part of the Ghost Rider legacy but none of that was the case for the character here at this time. Which i've been surprised to learn since even before the movie i've always thought that the characters did have some kind of connection. It might just be because of the shared name and the fact that Night Rider / Phantom Rider stories were reprinted in my Ghost Rider reprint books.
The Ghost Rider does say that he feels a "kinship" with him.
Ghost Rider helps Night Rider fight off some bandits in the past and briefly gets attacked by the Manitou again.
The Manitou's attack is interrupted when the woman who summoned it is attacked by more bandits. When Ghost Rider defeats them, the Comanches realize he's not a bad guy. The Night Rider gives Ghost Rider an amulet...
...and then he's sent back to the present where this time he stops the dam from being blown.
Technically the Ghost Rider and Johnny Blazer are separate entities at this point, and whenever Blaze needs to transform into the Ghost Rider he says something like "I guess i'm going to have to put my faith in the Ghost Rider", but the Ghost Rider always does whatever he wants, and seems pretty tame ("you bad guys get yourselves over to the sheriff now, ya hear?").
As part of the 50th issue celebration, this issue contains pin-ups of "Ghost Rider's Gallery of Guest Stars", featuring only Son of Satan, Hulk, and the Phantom Eagle. And it has a checklist of all of Ghost Rider's appearances to date, but they're not in chronological order, so what good is that? ;-)
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Ghost Rider vol. 2 (issue #50 is an original)
Inbound References (1): showGhost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Manitou, Zarathos
It's not so simple as the Night Rider being an ordinary human. This issue was the set up for Ghost Rider 56, where Hamilton Slade, the descendant of Carter and Lincoln Slade, finds his ancestors' tomb, becomes possessed by their spirits and becomes the new Rider. It's further revealed later on in West Coast Avengers that Carter Slade really DID have the spirits backing him, and that Lincoln Slade was punished because he took the role of Phantom Rider without deserving it.
Posted by: Michael | July 4, 2013 7:16 PM
Though coming out much later, in the Ghost Rider movie, Carter Slade was a previous Ghost Rider along the same lines as Blaze.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | September 12, 2013 7:54 PM
Erik, are you saying that's something that was ONLY mentioned in the movie, and not in the comics?
Posted by: Jay Patrick | September 12, 2013 8:24 PM
Isn't the Marvel Team-Up appearance where the Orb debuted missing in that list of appearances?
Posted by: Luis Dantas | September 12, 2013 9:19 PM
As far as I knew, Carter Slade (i.e. the Ghost/Night/Phantom Rider) was never a Zarathos-type demon-empowered fire-headed Ghost Rider in the comics as he was in the movie, but I never collected that much Ghost Rider.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | September 12, 2013 9:55 PM
@Luis - Yeah, there are a bunch of appearances not listed (you can compare to what you get when you click on his character name up to issue #50). Several team-up books, the Champions appearances in an Iron Man annual, an Avengers issue... even his Human Fly appearance!
Posted by: fnord12 | September 12, 2013 10:00 PM
The Indian tribe who saved Carter Slade and spurred his heroic mission were originally Sioux, as revealed in Ghost Rider (original series) #4, but from this issue on they become identified as Comanche. I guess the switcheroo is fitting considering how often Ghost Rider/Night Rider/Phantom Rider changed his name.
Posted by: Lyde1848 | April 3, 2018 5:42 PM
Ack! No, it was issue #6 that originally named Flaming Star's as Sioux. Anyway judging by their dress and speech they are best identified as part of that vast tribe called "generic stereotypes."
Posted by: Lyde1848 | April 3, 2018 5:53 PM
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