Up in Flames

Robbie Reyes: Ghost Rider

 

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Marvel Comics is a storm of fast and furious productivity, and has, more so in recent years, given preference to commercial cache whilst putting artistic value on the back burner. Like the people who produce commercial music these days, it seems like the puppetmasters are forcing the creative to produce material that isn’t as thought-provoking or of a high standard, so much so that it could easily be described as disposable. No current title does a better job of conveying this sentiment than Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider does.

 

Okay Marvel we get it, you’re pandering to the masses…the kids with the disposable incomes who don’t really buy that many comics compared to older, quality-conscious readers. But for the love of Stan Lee, throw us a bone here! I really wanted to get on board and support this title, despite knowing that Marvel, like the Apples and Samsungs of the world don’t really, really, care about their end-users anymore. And like any mass-produced, mass-marketed commodity, there was bound to be slag. In the Marvel Now! stable, Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider is the slag.

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This title is a relaunch, one of the many that are taking place to corroborate the raft of tie-in appearances in the contemporary Marvel Cinematic Universe in film and TV. As such, the debut issue features ‘warranted’ appearances from some of the comic giant’s current superheroes, whether as mentions or in the totally awesome flesh. However, the connections between the titular character and the guest appearances is lost. Robbie Reyes, and the Ghost Rider himself, seem like the sub-plot in their own comic. And while the art of Danilo S Beyruth, Val Staples and Jesus Aburtov does shine in some places, Felipe Smith’s overall writing doesn’t give the artists enough room to showcase their skills.

 

As I read this comic I wondered : why was any of this necessary? Are characters created solely to pacify the social justice warriors and snowflakes that currently populate the earth? Does entertainment media have to offer representatives of all ethnic and racial minorities and sexualities and backgrounds in their cast as a disclaimer? They’re all trying to convince the world that they are so progressive and aware of every ethnocentric aspect in the entire human populace. Look, we have an LGBT character! We have a muslim! We have an autistic character! Look how forward-thinking, broad-minded, aware of the contemporary world and America and young people we are! Love us! Buy all of our merchandise and everything else we will produce!

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The current Ghost Rider is a discount Spawn (skull, black costume and chains?) and even a discount Ghost Rider of old. They’ve settled on a handsome and sleek greasemonkey with a heart of gold who seems to have a wooden, two-dimensional relationship with his younger brother. Oh and he’s Latino and has fire-related powers. Anyone watch Suicide Squad lately? Is my déjà vu justified? What an absolute waste of time, especially when you consider how dark, vengeful and fiery the original character was. The new guy plays things a little too safe, in the relative safety of an American muscle car’s driver’s seat instead of riding into the night on an enflamed motorcycle saddle.

Despite any accolades, awards or recognition a comic book publisher may receive, it’s always a gamble when picking up a new comic. Save your money and time and don’t buy or read this book. If there are people in your life who you’d like to confuse, or if you’d like someone to dislike or distrust you or even doubt your intentions, then gift them this book, but do not read it.

Writer – Felipe Smith

Artists –  Danilo S Beyruth, Val Staples, Jesus Aburtov

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