Title: Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch Classic Vol 1
Publisher/Year: Marvel, 2010
Artist: Mark Texeria, Larry Stroman, Javier Saltares, Chris Marrinan, Ron Wagner, James Palmiotti, Mark McKenna
Writer: Howard Mackie, Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas
Collects: Ghost Rider #11-20, Dr. Strange #28
Ghost Rider continues to be a hot ’90s commodity at this point. The series really was taking off in its run and back issues were hard to come by. I can remember paying $10 for number #1 (which was high for the time) and now it is possible to find it in the dollar bins at some comic book stores. A special glow-in-the-dark cover for Ghost Rider (2) #15 also became a big hit for fans and collectors.
Ghost Rider is faced with a new threat when he is found by Johnny Blaze, the original Ghost Rider. As Blaze tries to determine Ghost Rider’s real intentions, Ghost Rider battles the likes of Nightmare, Zodiak, Snowblind, Hobgoblin, Reverend Styge, and Suicide with the help of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange.
The stories in this volume calm down a bit and find more focus from the first ten issues of Ghost Rider volume 2 which were collected in Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch Classic 1. The arrival of Johnny Blaze as sort of a sidekick in Ghost Rider (2) #13 really does help the series in this string of issues by Ghost Rider having to prove he’s not Zarathos to Blaze. Blaze also signals the downfall of the Ghost Rider series which occurs in the next ten issues with the introduction of the Midnight Sons which really complicated the plot and added a lot of elements that turned off fans, but for here Blaze does work.
The villains in this volume still are kind of creature of the month with Ghost Rider facing off against name villains Nightmare and Mephisto, but introducing Snowblind and Suicide which never really caught on. Ghost Rider quest to capture Zodiak ended in issue #20 but the evil Deathwatch and Blackout are no shows (which is a bit weird if Mackie was trying to develop them as major players). Hobgoblin does fit with Ghost Rider style wise but mostly just feels like a reason for another crossover for Spider-Man.
The Danny Ketch Ghost Rider is definitely a product of the 1990s. He isn’t very relevant today and it is almost more fun to go back and read these issues to see how much comics have changed in a couple of decades. What once was “cool” is now “lame” but soon it might be retro and then everyone is happy…I just don’t think it is retro quite yet…but bring on Darkhawk and Sleepwalker!