Issue(s): Spider-Man #6, Spider-Man #7
Ghost Rider happens to be in the area...
...and Spider-Man also can't sleep so he goes out for a swing and comes across the destruction the Hobgoblin has caused. McFarlane's version of Spider-Man continues to be more of a dick than the regular version (and don't ask me why some random drug user has important info on the Hobgoblin's whereabouts).
Spider-Man finds the Hobgoblin first, and finds that the kid has been warped.
Ghost Rider busts in soon after that...
...and Spider-Man spends as much time trying to stop Ghost Rider from killing Hobgoblin or accidentally hurting the boy as he does fighting the Hobgoblin.
Hobgoblin has developed a new fire power.
Ghost Rider is pretty much an unstoppable force, so the real conflict is in Ghost Rider's violence and his lack of interest in making sure the boy is safe.
Hobgoblin is defeated, and Spider-Man pulls Ghost Rider off of him before he's killed (or at least beaten up further).
The two don't part on good terms.
As with McFarlane's first arc, the story here is pretty light on content. And it's worth realizing that the story works only thanks to a complete reinterpretation of the Hobgoblin and a misreading of Ghost Rider (Howard Mackie has insisted that this Ghost Rider doesn't kill, and Ghost Rider definitely has a higher regard for innocent bystanders in his own series). That said, this simple two-part story makes for a more straightforward read, and the Demogoblin and Ghost Rider are certainly characters that McFarlane can have fun with artwise, and the book looks great.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Spider-Man tells Ghost Rider that he's "heard about your actions", so it's worth thinking about the placement of this issue relative to Fantastic Four #347-349, where he met Ghost Rider first hand. The key thing, i think, is that Spider-Man was willing to work with Ghost Rider in this issue, whereas by the end of this story Spider-Man is pretty disgusted with him. So Spider-Man must mean that he's heard about some of Ghost Rider's more questionable actions after their last meeting.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showDemogoblin, Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch), Jason Macendale, Mary Jane Watson, Noble Kale, Spider-Man
These were probably the best issues MacFarlane did on his Spidey book. His art's not my cup of tea, but these issues, though written clunky and excessively grimdark, were definitely better than Torment, or the boring Wendigo arc that followed.
Posted by: Bob | September 9, 2015 11:27 AM
I have to wonder if McFarlane thought the new Ghost Rider was supposed to be Zarathos. Leaving a child to die would not be out of character for Zarathos. And if McFarlane was working ahead of time, it's possible he only saw the first couple of issues of Ghost Rider, and didn't realize that this Ghost Rider was protective of bystanders.
Posted by: Michael | September 9, 2015 8:46 PM
Meh, I think McFarlane just wrote Ghost Rider the way he wanted to, like he did with the other characters; sure you could explain GR as being Zarathos, but then how do you explain Hobgoblin's complete personality/motivation revamp, as well as Spidey acting like a jerk? McFarlane's just writing these characters the way he wants, and not really concerned with how they've been portrayed in the past (and from what fnord said about McFarlane's text pieces in the Spider-Man 1-5 review, I don't think Todd would even try to deny that).
Posted by: mikrolik | September 10, 2015 11:12 AM
I'm conflicted about this story, as the art often looks quite great there (although, once more, McFarlane sucks at establishing enviroment). I love the way GR and Hobgoblin look! Still, the change in Hobgoblin's personality is quite sudden - and, overall, there's not too much meat to this whole story...
BTW. Interestingly, this story is much better at creating horror mood than anything McFarlane did in "Spawn" - which came later in his career and was also a much more appropriate book for this kind of stuff...
Posted by: Piotr W | September 10, 2015 1:53 PM
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