Writer: Daniel Way
Artists: Javier Saltares & Mark Texeira, Dan Brown (colors)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
This marks the fourth and final chapter in the “Casualties of War” tie-in. So I can stop reading it now.
Ghost Rider and the sheriff fight the Satan-possessed Jack O’Lantern and his zombie army. Actually, since the zombies are blown up on page three, the fight’s really between Ghost Rider & Satan and the sheriff fights one zombie teen. This issue had a couple of B-movie style cool moments, like GR ripping out Jack’s heart, setting it on fire, shoving it back into his chest, thus blowing up Jack’s body. Unfortunately, the coolness factor is killed by the Z-grade dialogue. Here are some samples:
Ghost Rider: "Vengeance has come for you, devil."
Jack: "Oh yeah? Well, you’re stupid!"
Sheriff: "You wanna thank me? Do it by getting’ outta my town. And not comin’ back. Ever."
The rest of the dialogue sounds like it was generated by a computer. It’s very familiar and incredibly cliché. The whole story has followed the standard formula for tragic monster heroes. Heck, take out the supernatural elements, and you’ve got an old Jonah Hex story! What’s really tragic are the small signs of Way’s talent that could add polish and modern style to a familiar old story.
The art of Saltares & Texeira is suited to a horror comic. It’s lively, monstrous, and creepy. Dan Brown would benefit from a broader color palette. But since most of the story takes place at night, it doesn’t call for much creativity. While I like the overall style, the art tends to look flat. Perhaps more gradients in the color would help, or additional inking from Texeria.
The short of it is that neither the art nor writing is strong enough to carry my interest. There’s the potential for an off-beat monster series with a tragically cursed hero. And the quest for destroying Satan’s new bodies inspires plenty of story possibilities. Suppose Ghost Rider has to kill a little girl? Or two bodies fight each other for increased power? Maybe the bodies join forces a la the Skrull Kill Krew? But ideas alone aren’t good enough if they're executed poorly.
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