All New Ghost Rider
by Felipe Smith & Tradd Moore
Reader Appeal/Publisher Rating: T+ (ages 15 and older)
Genre: Superhero / Fantasy
Wow, was this comic disappointing.
I admit, I was very excited for a reboot of my favorite characters in this new rendition of Marvel’s Ghost Rider character, but I was disappointed almost from the first panel. In fact, Ghost Rider: Engines of Vengeance Part 1 would probably have been better if it had no words and was just visual.
In this new version of our favorite ghostly hero, the reader is immediately introduced to Robbie Reyes and his younger brother Gabe. Robbie is working hard in a mechanics ship to get him and his (cliché alert!) handicapped brother out of the ghetto and into a better life. When he gets into a street race to win $50,000, he’s cornered and killed by the police who take something out of his car’s trunk. As Robbie lies dying, the police light him and his car on fire. With that injustice he’s transformed into the infamous Ghost Rider—a flaming “spirit of vengeance” with super strength, near invulnerability, and the power to burn souls.
Felipe Smith’s story in this comic is very much the weakness of it. For me, it was almost unreadable. The characters are enormously cliché, the emotional aspects feel ridiculously forced, and the plot elements are somewhat jumbled. All throughout it seems unclear whether Robbie has the power of the Ghost Rider in him all along. or if he’s getting it from the car he’s driving. There is not really anything concrete to suggest it’s one or the other. What’s more, the dialogue is weak; mostly it just made me annoyed with the characters because of how formulaic it was. My impression was that this writer needs to grow as a storyteller instead of just trying to force aspects of “coolness” into places where it didn’t naturally flow.
Tradd Moore’s artwork in Engines of Vengeance was this comic’s saving grace.
There are lots of vivid colors and interesting and varied environments. As I said before, it’d be better for this comic if there were no words, and only the pictures. The same story is easily conveyed without dialogue, and it even manages to add better emotion. The frames are cut up very well and manage to portray a lot of things happening in a very small area.
Parents should be aware this comic easily earns its T+ rating. There are several profanities sprinkled throughout as well as a few “bleeped out” expletives. There is also quite a bit of blood and violence. Consider these elements when deciding whether or not to give this book to your kids.
Diehard fans of the Ghost Rider character may want to pick up this comic up, especially to look at the artwork. But other than that, this one’s not really worth the time or the money. Sorry.
Let’s Talk About It
If your family members are interested in this book, then encourage discussion about it afterward. You can use these questions to get started:
• Robbie takes a big risk to try and help himself and Gabe. Do you think he did the right thing? Why or why not?
• Would you have taken a big risk like that to help someone you love?
• How can good or bad artwork affect the story in a comic book?
Tags: Ghost Rider,Robbie Reyes,Nicolas Cage,Felipe Smith,Tradd Moore,Val Staples,Mephisto
Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.