Laura McCarthy reviews All-New Ghost Rider #4…
“ENGINES OF VENGEANCE” • The streets of East LA flare up with drug-fueled gang violence form DR. ZABO’s power-enhancing narcotic. • Will ROBBIE REYES submit to the sprit inside him and go too far in protecting the neighborhood? • What is MR. HYDE’s diabolical plan to expand his underground empire?
Considering the strong start the first three issues of All-New Ghost Rider were, I really wish I had more to say about this fourth issue. Instead, this issue feels like it is just setting readers up for issues to come, rather than a continuation of the previous story or the beginning of the next one. We do see the tail end of Robbie’s fight with “Grumpy” in all of his creepy, mega-steroid glory – but it’s only a few pages squeezed in between Robbie shaving his head. Which I have to ask, why?! Am I the only one who wailed in anguish? Maybe I’m still mourning the loss of my own blonde streak, but I feel that Robbie’s hair was a very defining trait and to have that stripped away is kind of painful. Unless this is supposed to be foreshadowing to Robbie becoming more like Eli, then I’ll gladly take back everything I just said. But, let’s give that a few more months, yeah?
Much of the issue’s focus is turned towards the upcoming villains of Robbie’s story. Grumpy talks to his gang about how he wants to attack Dr. Zabo’s lab to get more of his pink pills, Dr. Zabo talks to his inner-Mr. Hyde about creating a blue pill to replace the pink one, and Guero continues to flaunt his hate boner for Robbie. I think someone has a crush, because this is literally turning into a little boy pulling on a girl’s pigtails on the playground, only taken to a much more extreme level.
All in all, All-New Ghost Rider #4 feels a bit expository when compared to issues before, but unfortunately it is something that had to happen in order to move onto the next story. Do I think it could have been done better? Absolutely. The two pages Dr. Zabo spends talking about the blue pill could have probably been put off until the next issue, or whenever said pill makes it’s appearance. And until I see just what kind of roll Mr. Wakeford is going to play in this story, I’m going to have to be suspicious about why we’re spending two pages in Robbie’s classroom. (Please don’t be evil. Please don’t let your community outreach program be some kind of brainwashing camp.) That’s four pages that could have probably been put to a different use story wise. Maybe I’m just being a bit too short term about it, but until I see the next issue…well, I’m skeptical.