Review: Shadowland Ghost Rider #1

Published on September 17th, 2010

Are you really shocked about another Shadowland book? If you are it’s probably because you’re not reading it, and if you’re not reading it you, are missing out. I’ve really been missing Ghost Rider since the Heaven’s on Fire storyline, so naturally Shadowland: Ghost Rider was the book I was most looking forward to this week. What can I say? I remember being a little kid in the 90’s who just could not get enough of a skeleton who was always on fire and rode a motorcycle. Sure I look back on the Danny Ketch days now and I think, how did I think this was so awesome? The answer: I was twelve. I’ve matured a little since then, but I still get a kick out of a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle and beating the crap out of people.

sl_ghostriderShadowland: Ghost Rider is a one-shot written by Rob Williams with art by Clayton Crain who you might recognize from Ghost Rider: Trail of Tears, and Ghost Rider: Road to Damnation. This book appears to take place after Shadowland #3 because Ghost Rider has left Daredevil’s fortress after freeing the prisoners. In case you weren’t aware Wilson Fisk used an old Hand spell to bring the Ghost Rider out and use him against Daredevil and The Hand. Johnny Blaze is not pleased, the guy’s been used as a weapon almost his entire adult life and he is sick of it. So Ghost Rider crashes through Fisk’s window with the intention of bringing forth his powers of vengeance, but unfortunately the Ghost Rider cannot harm the person who has used the spell. Fisk says he’ll only release the Ghost Rider if he goes to Japan and kills the Snakeroot Clan (They’re the secret leaders of The Hand who have been messing with Daredevil).

So once again Blaze is making a deal for his freedom, and off he goes to the land of the rising sun. Now we get to the second problem, not only does the spell keep Ghost Rider from harming Fisk, it also keeps him from doing any harm to the Hand because the spell originated from them. Johnny Blaze then gets the crap kicked out of him and they get him tied above what looks like a bottomless pit. The Snakeroot clan attempt to get information from Blaze, but instead he only eggs them on until they give up and just stab him through the chest and drop him down the pit. Blaze then appears in Heaven where he decides to call in a favor for all the good he’s done.

Back to the Hand’s Japan headquarters we see Ghost Rider slowly pull himself out of the pit, but this time he’s joined by an army of angels who immediately set out to slaughter The Hand’s forces. The leaders attempt to plea for Ghost Rider to let them live, but once he finds his bike he leaves them to be killed by the angels because once they’re dead he is free to go about his business.

This book really pumped me up for issue four of Shadowland, now that Ghost Rider is free I really hope he heads back to New York to teach Wilson Fisk a lesson. At first I was pissed to see Ghost Rider being used as a puppet, but when he crawled out of the pit and sent his army after the Hand I was pretty much blown away. The sequence of him coming out of the pit alone made it worth my money. I love the way Crain draws Ghost Rider, and if you enjoyed his artwork in X-Force you’re gonna love how he drew the angel army. The writing in this book is pretty cool too, I liked how Johnny Blaze actually had a sense of humor in this book. Ghost Rider is always a really serious book, and I think it’s nice to throw some humor in to kind of throw things off and get the attention of the reader. I know I had a WTF moment when Ghost Rider asked about a Bouncy Castle when he was being sent to Japan. If you’ve been reading Shadowland I highly recommend this book, it gives a little more back-story and it’s really a fun read. Out of all the spin-off books this one is definitely my favorite.

Ken Zeider