All-New Ghost Rider #7 Review

Written by: Felipe Smith

Art by: Damion Scott

Publisher: Marvel

Upshot: All-New Ghost Rider is not, as rumored, screeching to a halt with issue 12. That’s great. This iteration of the character has reinvigorated one of the heroes that Marvel has always had a really difficult time getting into gear.

Downside: Tradd Moore has been gone for a couple issues now, and his absence is definitely still felt. Happily, there’s still a lot to get revved up about.

With Robbie Reyes, Felipe Smith has, so far, swept away much of the excess baggage that has been accumulated by the assorted Ghost Riders over the years. He’s a protagonist that a much larger portion of the reading audience is going to be able to relate to. With an encounter with a certain forerunner coming to potentially bring Robbie into the mythology loop it will be interesting to see if things stay on that track.

This second arc does appear to be unfolding at a bit more of a slow burn pace than the first, which was wildly frenetic from the starting line. Issue #7 continues a lot of the same elements we saw in #6, with Robbie racing to earn money to support himself and his brother, with various threats looming around him. The fact that those threats are pretty much the same as he faced in the first arc does make me slightly concerned that All-New Ghost Rider is going to continue the trend of being relegated to it’s own tiny corner of the Marvel comic universe, just like previous iterations of the character. Given that Robbie is much more in line with the tone of what’s going on with the rest of Marvel right now than previous Ghost Riders have been, that would be a shame. I’m also hoping that the Robbie/Eli combination doesn’t become a one note character; we’re not there yet though.

Damion Scott’s art. I don’t want to have to compare it to Moore’s, but with a book like this, that’s had its art as a huge selling point, I feel like I can’t avoid it. Moore’s visuals are just so distinct, and his aesthetic has been so tied to what this book feels like it was meant to be that it’s hard not to view the change as a huge roadblock for the series. Scott’s art is fine for the most part. He isn’t attempting to ape Moore’s style, which is for the best, but he still manages to carry the elements that made the characters distinct and recognizable over into his own art, which is distinct in its own way. Luckily, Scott’s art style works well for the overall setting of the book. The fact that Val Staples has carried over on coloring also helps the book keep the notable palette that it had during Moore’s tenure. Sadly, the element that the changeover truly seems detrimental to is the cars of the book and The Rider himself. Moore’s redesign of the character-sleek, modern, and biomechanical-was incredibly specific to his art style, and he seemed to approach the machinery in the book with an almost fetishistic flair. There are moments when Scott draws the character in a manner that simply lacks that lavishing of aesthetic attention and that seems almost clumsy. This issue is an improvement over his first, but he’s not quite getting the checker flag just yet.

I’m glad that the series is going to keep on motoring on. When it comes right down to it Felipe Smith is offering up an intriguing version of this character within an interesting narrative and I’m optimistic that Damion Scott is up to the challenge of making this very visual book his own. As an individual issue though, things aren’t quite at peak performance just yet.

(No automotive puns were harmed in the writing of this review)