…gone (at least thus far) are any signs of soul-sharing and pacts with the Devil. But since Mephisto has been replaced with Strong Guy and the reworking of hell (see Peter David’s end to X-Factor) this could be something left for an overarching mystery storyline.
Perhaps the biggest flaw with this All-New Ghost Rider is the dated approach to his retooling. In a lot of ways, this new take seems like a 666th sequel of the Fast and the Furious franchise. The comparisons between the films are uncanny: Rapper lookalike race promoter (Lil Jon), fast cars, hispanic lead (think Vin Diesel if he never went bald and was 17), Hemi ‘Cude’… God, the only thing missing from this is a Razr phone! But, who knows what the alternative could have been? Ghost Rider zipping around in his all-electric Chevy Volt… Maybe they made the right moves, after all.
It’s nonetheless admirable to watch Smith step into these mucky hellfire waters, penning an origin that harkens back to the Stan and Kirby years of Spider-Man. Robbie’s an easy character to root for. I just wish there had been more reason for his hellfire turn. The art took some time to get used to, as well.
Moore’s manga-inspired stylization made a ton of sense when he took on a stint for Deadpool; but I was taken aback when he was announced as the illustrator for GR. Now, I’m blown away. As a working storyboard artist myself, his panel work during the car chase scene is just insane. The way Moore jumped between long shots to dutch angles and then to GPS maps, had me hands twitching. If I had any hold up, it was with his less-is-more attitude when it comes to sets. The minimalist approach doesn’t thrive with me when it comes to the filthy streets — and dirty garages — of East LA.
Thing is, this just isn’t your daddy’s Ghost Rider anymore. Rather, this is a Rider raised on Steve McQueen and copious amounts of Japanimation. While the Apostle still has some concerns over a lack of character development, the American muscle-meets-indie feel pulls this one in front of the lot. And, let’s be honest, this is only the first episode of the new duo’s first season. I can sense the smoke of a mid-season cliffhanging skull right now.
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