Characters Appearing: Corky the Clown, Cynthia Randolph, Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Madame Menace (Sunset Bain), Orb, Ralph Quentin, Red Fowler, Zarathos
Ghost Rider #63
Issue(s): Ghost Rider #63
This issue also introduces what will turn out to be a regular supporting cast. Johnny Blaze has signed up with circuses and the like before, but it rarely lasts more than an issue or two. This time, they will last until the end of the series (#81).
But first: obligatory scene of Ghost Rider performing insane stunts, preferably while being chased by the police.
And now the obligatory follow-up scene of Johnny saying that he's losing control of his Ghost Rider side.
Ok, thanks. Now on with story. The Orb and his motorcycle gang rob an armored truck.
But of course he can't just be happy making money. No, he's got an obsession with Ghost Rider. So he uses the funds to pay Madame Menace for an upgrade to his technology.
The biggest improvement is the new "mini-eye" (something of a misnomer since the floating eye is still bigger than a person's fist, but it's all relative when you wear a giant eyeball helmet).
Using Madame Menace is a rather nice touch, in my opinion. It's surely due to the new editor, Tom DeFalco, who introduced the character (with Steve Ditko) in Machine Man.
As for Johnny Blaze, the circus he wants to join is Quentin's Carnival. Proprietor Ralph Quentin is also allowing feminist reporter Cynthia Randolph to hang around for an article.
Quentin tells Johnny that he already has a stunt-rider, but Johnny doesn't take no for an answer and performs a series of stunts that wows everyone.
So the current stunt-rider, Red Fowler, is demoted to assistant.
You might think that will turn into an endless annoying rivalry between the two, but it's actually all resolved in a couple of issues in a non-tropey way.
For now, though, that's basically it for the carnival folks (the only other bit is Johnny asking Cynthia out and her declining because she thinks he's immature). The Orb's men are sent to rob Quentin for the purpose of luring Johnny out for a fight, and Johnny obliges.
Things are going pretty well for the Orb, especially once he starts releasing all his mini-eyes at once, but he makes the mistake of calling himself Ghost Rider's arch-enemy.
And Ghost Rider is all like, Dude! You're not my arch-enemy. You're some bozo in an eyeball helmet. If anyone, Satan is my arch-enemy. (Or Mephisto or whatever he's calling himself this week.)
And Orb is reduced to begging for mercy, which of course is not something one asks of Ghost Rider. He doesn't kill him, but he leaves him stranded in the desert with no bike, and of course ravaged by hellfire.
I dunno, i thought that was all pretty awesome.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Ghost Rider vol. 3
Ivan Velez eventually retconned that Johnny and Roxanne grew up in the Quentin Carnival. That's completely inconsistent with this issue- Johnny's not acting like he's returning to the place he grew up and nobody recognizes Johnny or is recognized by him.
Posted by: Michael | February 23, 2015 9:46 PM
I'm generally not interested in circuses and carnivals, but I think this era of Ghost Rider is when the series finally starts living up to its potential.
Posted by: Mortificator | November 18, 2016 1:38 PM
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